I had just set about hurriedly completing a project or two in order that I could go spend time with them when I heard one of them begin to sound off. Soon enough, he was crying to beat the band!
I did not know which one it was, as he was somewhere on the other side of the house; but with each passing moment, the fit he was pitching grew louder and louder. I sensed something must be wrong. However, from the sound of things, the cries he was emitting were more akin to anger than to either pain or fear.
I also knew that our daughter was with them; and thus, if something was seriously wrong, we would know it soon enough. Nevertheless, as the noise was not abating, my wife, who was with me at the time, decided that she needed to go investigate.
After another few minutes, just as I was finishing up my projects, the crying finally ceased. It was then that I met my wife making her way back around the house and grinning from ear to ear.
“Is everything okay?” I asked. “It is now!” she replied, laughing out loud. “What was wrong?” I inquired. “It wasn’t any of the four grandsons in our yard. It was the smallest one next door. You’ll be happy to know that your youngest grandson just got his first ever haircut!”
I have to confess that I got tickled! I thought about all those times as a small lad when my dad took me to Ol’ Man Charlie Boyd for a haircut. I remembered how the latter would put me up in the barber chair and place a cloak over me before he turned on those horrendous clippers. To this day, I can recall how he would grab my chin and hold it in a vice-like grip in order to keep my little head still as he sheared off my curly locks.
I also remember the hum of those dreaded clippers and the cold feeling they had as he ran them back and forth over my head. I’m sure the whole process only took a few minutes; but to me at the time, it seemed like an eternity. I do not recall if I protested or not. But I do know that it was never an enjoyable experience; and I dreaded it as I did few other recurring rituals in life.
After I discovered what my youngest grandson had gone through, I went to check on him. I found him sitting at the supper table happily engaged in the consumption of an assortment of baby foods. By that time, the earlier ordeal, as terrible as it had been, had clearly passed; and he had moved on to more familiar and enjoyable activities.
At just one year of age, I do not know if he was fully aware of what all he had just endured or not. But for all his trouble, he was none the worse for the wear! As it was, I spent a few moments interacting with him, watching his newly shorn head continuously bob about as he grinned and even chuckled while I picked at him. When I left, he was all smiles as he headed off in the arms of his mother for the familiar confines of the bathtub and an enjoyable nightly ritual.
As I made my way back home, I could not help but think of what the writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews (in chapter 12, verses 10-11) was moved to pen so long ago…
“Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who have been trained by it.”
It was my grown son who, along with his wife, gave their son (and my grandson) his first ever haircut this afternoon. Needless to say, the whole process was more than a tad painful for the little tyke. But it was ultimately beneficial for him as well! His father had only put him through the whole ordeal for his own good.
Indeed, decades before, I had done the very same thing for his father (and my son), when he was that age, just as my own father had done for me even earlier.
In each case, the truth of Scripture was born out as an earthly father disciplined his son for a short period of time in order to produce something good and positive in his life. What is more, in each case, one can see a reflection of how our Heavenly Father deals with us.
You see, in His divine love for us, our God wants what is best for us. For this reason, from time to time, He disciplines us by putting us through some unpleasant experience. But in the end, it invariably works out for our good. We come away from the experience none the worse for wear. Better yet, we come away improved in some fashion. We then experience some harvest of either righteousness and/or peace as a result!
What about you? Are you currently going through some trial that seems difficult at best or terrible at worst? Then remember the words of the Apostle James, who was moved by the Holy Spirit (in chapter 1, verses 2-4 of his eponymous New Testament Letter) to write:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
In my esteemed opinion, my little grandson is even more handsome now than he was at about 5:16 pm this afternoon! This is all because he underwent a somewhat unpleasant ordeal in the meantime.
In a similar fashion, no matter what sort of harrowing experience I may personally wind up having to face tomorrow, I pray that, at the end of the day, I will merely wind up looking a little more pleasing in the eyes of my Heavenly Father as a result!