I am a man, quite familiar with blades.
What does that mean, you may ask? Am I a professionally trained knife fighter? No. Do I strategically place weapons around my house in the event of an incursion (ala Dwight Schrute)? Perhaps. Did I start taking iceskating lessons as a young lad by a hard-nosed Canadian minor league hockey coach which lead to me denying my first love and the sport of my youth. Um…NO!
The meaning is two fold.
First of all, I am a hairy man.
When I was a baby faced naive at the age of 17, I remember asking the Lord to allow me to grow facial hair so that I would not look like a 13yr old. I’ve often tried to break that self imposed word curse over the years that has lead to me sowing greatly into the likes of “Gillette”, “The Art of Shaving”, and badger hair…yep…badger hair.
Due to this fascinating rate of facial hair growth, my face has been very accustomed to the feeling of blades (usually four) coming across it…lest I become the urban duck commander.
Every now and then I like to grow out the beard to a nice frothy length or at least until Kelley threatens to never kiss me again. When I take clippers and blades to such a beard, it’s amazing the sense of accomplishment that can result. You can SEE the transformation in a matter of minutes. My favorite is to shave my face, add a little moisturizer, and then go to Kelley so she can populate the cleared space with kisses that seem to say…well done my good and faithful…husband.
This is the kind of cutting that is easy. I control the shave. I get a quick result. Myself and others can SEE the change immediately. The reward is quick but short lived.
Then there is the second kind of “blade work”. One that I am equally familiar with, but has an infinitely greater weight to it.
This kind of cutting is what I call internal pruning. It’s the kind of cutting that God uses to make us exponentially more fruitful in the long run. It’s the kind of cutting that is often beyond our control if done properly. It’s the kind of cutting that will undeniably change me, but the quality of transformation will ultimately be tested and confirmed over time. It’s the kind of cutting that a few may notice, a couple may recognized, and most will never see. However, it is more real than anything that will ever happen on the surface.
Personally, this cutting can “feel” relatively easy to welcome when I think of it as coming from an amazingly loving God who is perfectly perfect in every way…the God who intentionally crafted me for a purpose far greater than what I would have come up with myself. Yes His word is a fierce double edge blade, but no more fierce than His unwavering love and affection.
However, it can become UTTERLY TERRIFYING when I realize how much He loves to use people in this pruning process…imperfect people…fallible people…people who even on their best day and with their BEST INTENTIONS, still posses all the potential in the world to wound and disappoint…let alone cut.
This cutting, no matter how Divinely initiated is often accompanied by a very human voice saying, “trust me. Trust me. Trust ME.”
“Trust that I won’t hurt you like the ‘other guy’ or ‘gal’. Trust that I only want what’s in your ‘best interest’. Trust that I’m not simply trying to change you for my personal gain or brand…I mean ‘kingdom’ advancement. Trust that if I cut too shallow, too deep, or not at all that God is TRUSTWORTHY enough to use even the wounds of an enemy to bring healing”.
After all He has first hand experience with that sort of thing.
I am a hairy man.
The hairy part, I can usually take care of myself. If I get assistance its by my initiation and usually at an amazing barber shop with a hot towel involved…PRAAAAAAISE!!!
The “man” part…well…I’ll never be able to take care of that alone.
I can initiate it, but unless God is in control of this internal pruning, the work will more than likely fall short. It not only requires God but God using others to lovingly step out of their own insecurity and prune…knowing that I may or may not appreciate their efforts.
I‘m thankful to God and the people He has placed in my life and throughout my life to help prune my personality…character…decision making…administrative skills…artistry…etc.
I want to change and mature inside AND out because I understand…
…though something like shaving my face or changing some externals may win some immediate gratification from my wife; allowing God and others to prune me will help me become the man that will stay married and in love with her for the rest of my life.