A Devotional by Rev. Joda Collins
Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33.)
Growing up, my father had a long-time friend, named Herman Stuckey. Herman Stuckey was a barber. Every other Wednesday, dad took us (three boys) to Herman Stuckey and dad and we three boys, got our haircut. However, a problem arose. Herman was going blind. As time went on, Herman started looking off into space as he cut hair. He was a barber for much or most of his life. Like most of us that do the same thing over and over, it may be that we can do it with our eyes closed! Herman's eyes were open, it just that he could not see anything.
However, Herman was a pretty good barber. And, for about a year, after he was blind, he did a pretty good job on our hair. But, in the last few months of his time as a barber he started not doing all that well. I was just a little tot of 8 or 9, so I don't remember all of the details. I suspect that he could see a little when I told that he was blind and towards the end, was "totally blind." I am not sure. In the last few months all of us ended up with, what I called then, "holes in our heads," after each every other Wednesday experience.
I complained to dad about the, "holes in my head."
Dad's response was immediate and forceful. "Joda, Herman is my friend. As long as he has his barber shop, we will continue to get our haircuts there as we always have. But, don't worry about it. It won't be long before we will be the only customers that Herman has, and he will close his barber shop. Then, we will find a barber that will cut our hair without putting holes in our heads."
The message was sent to me and I understood it well. The friendship my father had with Herman Stuckey was more important than the every two week trauma I was experiencing having my dad's friend cut chunks out of my hair. I was to endure it and endure it with a cheerful attitude for my dad's sake. And, I did. In fact, I was honored that my father would ask me to and trust me to endure something for him that was uncomfortable, and a little embarrassing around my school friends.
Now, I am older. My father is dead. I am glad I gave my dad the honor and respect of enduring terrible haircuts for a few months. That was a once in a lifetime gift to him. I could tell my dad was pleased with me with I stopped complaining about bad haircuts and endure them with a smile. When a person is dead, there is no more opportunity to show that person kindness.
I thank God for Herman Stuckey and for my earthly father's commitment to his friendship with Herman. Early in life, I learned a valuable lesson. "If your dad asks you to endure something for His sake, if you do it with a cheerful attitude, you please and honor your dad."
God, our heavenly Father, asks us to, "endure hardness as a good soldier." For me, it is easier to think about, "getting a bad haircut with a cheerful attitude." Certainly, as an adult, my traumas are more severe than a few months of a bad haircut, but I am older now and more mature. I able to endure more.
"In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer...." Jesus has overcome the world for us. He is bigger than a bad haircut and bigger than any other problem that comes our way. Rejoice, my friend, Christians are eternal winners. God created us for victory. If you do not have victory over your temporary difficult circumstances now, then have victory over your emotions. In the presence of the difficulties, find and celebrate God's cheer.
Be cheerful in your life's tribulation and bring a smile to your heavenly Father's face. Someday, you will be dead (pass from this life to the next). Then, you forever lose the opportunity to, as a human being, live through tribulation with cheer and in doing so express your love, appreciation for and trust in your Father. This life is our only chance in the human realm! Let's do it well.
Rev. Joda Collins
Disclaimer: The author makes no claim that any of his opinions are shared by anyone else.