Spiderwebs in My Face
Last month, I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I set aside three days to go on a personal retreat. Before I was married with kids, I would do this at least once a year, but life got busy. So I marked the days on my calendar and when the time came, I headed out to Red River Gorge, part of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Taking only basic supplies, I hit the trail for three days of hiking and connecting with God. Every few moments, a spiderweb would hit me in my face and I found myself constantly wiping them away. At first, I was frustrated by this annoyance, but I soon realized the presence of spiderwebs meant I was taking a trail that had not been travelled recently.
I kept having flashbacks to the original Star Trek TV series where in the opening title sequence William Shatner’s voice would say ‘…to boldly go where no man has gone before…’ The trail I was hiking has been around for decades with countless people walking it. But for me, on this day, I was blazing a new trail. Maybe I wasn’t going ‘where no man has gone before’ but I definitely was going where I had never gone before.
As the miles passed, I began to think of areas in my life where God was calling me to ‘go where I’d never gone before’. None of them was a new area – marriage, daily relationship with God, children, work, etc. But there was one area I felt God strongly challenging me – my relationship with my son. As a fourth grader, he is no longer a little boy. His friends are becoming a bigger part of his life. He loves to play games, which somehow always turn into some sort of competition. He is confident, often insisting that ‘I’ve got this, Dad’ even when I know he doesn’t. I was struck by this fact: I am in a season where I’m watching my son move from boyhood into manhood.
Each time I removed another spiderweb from my face, it served as a reminder that God has given me the privilege and responsibility to be an intentional guide for him as he approaches manhood. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 came to my mind. Here, God is giving His people the priorities for having a godly home:
Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children …
As a dad, and spiritual influencer in my family, I have to first know and live out God’s commands. Then, I am to teach them to my children.
To be honest, that can be more than a little scary. I have a hard enough time just trying to keep my life in line with God, let alone be an example for my son. But I also know that with every spiderweb in life that hits my face, God is calling me to ‘go where I’ve never gone before’ and He’s right there with me.