“Ow! Mommy, that hurts,” my 6-year old squealed as I was brushing through the underside of her long blonde hair. I was trying to smooth out her locks so that I could pull it all up into her customary side ponytail before we scooted out the door to school.
“I know it hurts, darling, but we’ve got to get these tangles out,” I said. “If I don’t do it now, they’ll continue to get bigger, and then it will really be a big mess. I’ll be as gentle as I can.”
As the words left my lips, I suddenly sensed a deeper layer of meaning. In that moment, I could imagine my Heavenly Father saying the very same thing to me.
You see, I had some “tangles” of my own He was working through. But these tangles were not in my hair. Instead they were in my heart.
There were some attitudes He was bringing to my attention. Hurt feelings had turned into smoldering anger and then bitterness. It was messy with lots of tangles. I was tempted to snatch my hair out of His hands and refuse to submit to His gentle brushing process. Part of me wanted to hide the tangles and pretend like they weren’t there, bury them back down and smooth over the top layer.
When we offer up our tangled messes to the Lord, He can begin to gently work through them.
When I gently brush through the depths of my daughter’s long hair, I can see all the places she is likely to miss by herself. Likewise, the Holy Spirit can help us identify and work through those heart tangles we have overlooked.
Maybe we have buried some past hurt or fear, having conveniently forgotten its presence. When He starts untangling those knots we begin to feel the pain again.
We might be tempted to yell out an “Ow, stop it Lord!” and grab our hair to turn away from Him. He will let us do this. But the messes in our hearts will continue to grow until a tiny little tangle has become a matted mess of hair.
We can only hide these these tangles for so long before others will eventually notice. Matted hearts aren’t attractive.
If we will let him comb through the little things now, He won’t need to use the scissors later to cut out the big clumps. The minor discomfort of the present is much preferred to the post-surgical pain of a gigantic pruning later.
How about you? Will you offer up your heart to the Lord, allowing Him to gently work through your tangles?
Just like a daily brushing of our hair is good physical hygiene and will result in improved physical health, a daily Spirit-led comb-through of our hearts will result in improved spiritual health. How good it is to let the Lord untangle the knots in our hearts.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life