John 15: 1-2 (ESV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
My hairdresser recently decided to retire. She mentioned it for several months leading up to the time she would close up shop so I wasn't surprised but it caused my husband and I real despair for a couple of months. He has also been going to her for almost ten years now and once you find someone who gets you and your hair and listens, it can be really difficult to accept the change. We discussed what we would look for in a new stylist, how far we were willing to travel, how we would vet them out. It's really quite funny because when you talk to people about changing hair dressers everyone has a story or identifies with losing their person. I've even had text messages from others who went to our hairdresser asking, "What are we going to do?" It's amazing how something so mundane as a haircut can have such impact in our lives!
So this got me to thinking about why our hairdressers mean so much. I heard Dr. David Jeremiah say the other day, "The vinedresser is never so close to us as when He is pruning us." And that was it. Our hairdressers are probably some of the only people we allow so close to us physically. They bathe and scrub our heads, they comb and brush out our locks and they wield sharp instruments that can make or break our look for the next six to eight weeks. Not only do they have close proximity to use but many stylists will tell you they are also therapists to many. Whether you spend 10 minutes or two hours in their chair, you likely share all the goings on in your life, your health, your family. My stylist became a dear friend over the years. We prayed about our children and ailing family members. It becomes some sort of an intimate relationship.
So what about the vinedresser? Well, that is God the Father and I can tell you that the times I have felt the most intimate with Him were the times of pruning. The times when I was experiencing personal tragedy or growth are the times I most felt Him near my skin. I can even remember getting into a "good" season and thinking, "Gosh, I miss God, He was more with me in the hard times." Well, that's not necessarily true but I do think about what Dr. Jeremiah said. In order for the hairdresser to properly reach, trim and cut our locks she or he must be close. Perhaps it's the same with God. He may stand just a little bit closer as He removes what does not bear fruit so He can make way for the tender green shoots of life. Perhaps I wouldn't have made it through those pruning moments had I not physically felt Him so near.
We thankfully found another hairdresser who also loves Jesus. I tell others that sitting in her chair is like going to church! She speaks about how the Lord is working in her life and when she's close, I feel Him, too. God promises us that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us...so we don't have to wait for the hard times. (James 4:8 and Jeremiah 29-12-14) We just need to make an appointment and sit still for however long it takes.