He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He shot his arrows deep into my heart.
Relate: When I was reading these lines from Jeremiah a quote came to my head and I just wanted to share it. I knew it was from Steve Martin, but I couldn’t remember the movie and I knew I would butcher the quote. So I looked it up in that every trusty research source… No, not Wikipedia, YouTube. I did find an incredibly short version of the clip I was thinking of. It wasn’t Steve Martin, it was Leslie Nielsen. He says to Kelly LeBrock, “When you shot me at point blank range… I knew you loved me.”
Unfortunately, the movie clip I found this in was actually a compilation of about 100 movies where someone is shouting out, “You shot me.” I would love to share that video with you, but all too many of those quotes add another word in between “you” and “shot”. If I’m being honest, I probably would too, but would be most likely to add “stinkin” and that isn’t the same. So anyways, here’s a different video clip. It contains the same theme and makes for a better soundtrack as I write and you read than would Bon Jovi.
React: We use the concept of being shot in the heart to speak of emotional pain or betrayal. There are so many movies, both comedic and dramatic, that will include this concept simply because it is a metaphor that incorporates all of us in our human experience. Sadly, far too many people know exactly how it feels even though they have not ever been physically shot. Incidentally, I was shot by a friend in my leg. (BB gun) It left a killer bruise and yet it hurt far less than the pain of being shot in the heart by those I loved and trusted. Sometimes it was their fault (betrayal), sometimes it was mine (their reaction to the same), and sometimes it was just the circumstances of life or its ending that was shooting me in the heart.
We are told by Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus to take up the shield of faith. With it we can withstand the fiery darts of the enemy. But what if it is the church that shoots us? I think Beth Moore quite recently and Steven Furtick a few years back can talk about the pain of being shot at by someone who calls himself a Christian and thus is supposed to be known by his love. I won’t go so far as to say that John MacArthur is not a Christian, but as good as his theology might be, the evidence we are supposed to look for (love) is sadly lacking. He has publicly hurt another just as others, far too many to count, have been hurt or felt betrayed by the church. Even here in my small city in Turkey, where Christians are few and far between, I know of people who have left the church because they have been hurt by others.
Even worse, what if it is God who shot us in the heart? The “He” Jeremiah is talking about is not the Babylonians or some other enemy. It isn’t a neighbor or someone in his family. It wasn’t even some Levite (church deacon) or priest (pastor). The “He” Jeremiah is referring to is God Almighty Himself. Jerusalem has been sacked, the Temple destroyed, and its people taken captive into exile. Even though they had been warned of this possible outcome for decades, the idea that a loving God would follow through on this warning seemed to human eyes so… evil. Have you and I ever been in a place where we felt God has betrayed us? Are we blaming difficult circumstances God has brought our way to shape us on the enemy? God allowed these horrible circumstances to afflict the Jews to shape them into something so much better than they were. Jeremiah, of all people, knew this. But that did not take away the sense of betrayal he felt in the moment. Does my pain in the immediate circumstances blur the vision of what God is doing in His grander scheme?
I know that we don’t see things through Your eyes. We might get glimpses or vision here and there, now or again. But when Your arrows pierce our heart, it is impossible for that vision not to get blurred. God, even when I don’t know why the pain is coming, help me to see that You are still at work for my good. Even when I cannot help but feel betrayed, help me to trust You. When I am hurt by others who are supposed to be followers of You, help me to remember that they are imperfect, flawed creatures just as I am. Help me to be more perceptive to when and where I have potentially hurt others. Then give me the moral courage to make amends as much as I possibly can. The arrows will come in my life. Help me to react to them in ways that will ever draw me closer to You.