All things evil have the potential to bring about good. And the shoddy haircut Wil endured was no different.
On the one hand it’s easy to look at it and say, “It was only a haircut. What’s the big deal? Hair grows.”
If that was the bottom line, I would agree. The difference between a bad haircut and a good one is approximately two weeks. The difference between an exceptionally bad one and an okay one is about a month. At worst, he had a month of endurance before he could get a new cut. But that wasn’t the bottom line.
At age nineteen, Wil was treated like a child, with no personal rights, no free will. For him to go in public with a whack job haircut, he had to be prepared to be mocked—and it happened—and then to explain what happened. How was he, a man of nineteen, to explain that he was subjected to a haircut against his own will simply because he accepted Christ—or renewed his commitment, depending on how you view it?
It didn’t help that there was extreme abuse and violence in our home and that he was of dignity repeatedly throughout his life. At age thirteen, the same evangelist held meetings at a church in New Hamburg, when Wil first started out on that journey of knowing God and wanting to serve Him.
My dad, a man who wanted control of his family, viewed Wil’s decision as a betrayal—a transference of allegiance from his authority to the church’s authority. Dad’s journey with the church was pretty messed up too so he didn’t want his children selling themselves out to the religion. Because of this his response to Wil’s decision was most tragic. Dad should have embraced his son and said, “Wil, I am so proud of you! Tonight you made the most important decision of your life!” Instead, he got a fan belt and whipped my brother until he drew blood and left scars for many years.
The message Wil got as a young man was tragically perverse. He was stripped. His masculinity, at age thirteen, and his God-given power of choice, were violated by his own father.
The haircut, even without this history, would have been very, very wrong, but with this history, it was far more vile than it would have been otherwise. In fact, without this history, odds are that the haircut would never have happened.
As it was, the haircut happened and Wil was ashamed of what happened as well as with his looks. Wil is a handsome man, but the haircut did a number on him. It was the new Justin Bieber look gone bad. Way bad and the shame made Wil retreat.
On Monday Wil was supposed to be out with Ike and Isaac, the cousins he had originally planned to meet on Easter Sunday and hang out with for the weekend. Instead, he was on the freezer at Mom’s, sharing a deep conversation with me, struggling through the aftermath of his decision to follow Christ, questioning, wondering…
God always, always redeems and brings good out of evil. Sometimes we see that good, sometimes we don’t and we choose by faith, in spite of raw struggle, to believe God makes all things beautiful. In this case we found out within hours that indeed God would bring good out of the weekend.
That night, as Wil and I spent time struggling together, Ike an Isaac were in a terrible car crash. Ike was thrown from the car, his life spared but, tragically, Isaac was killed. Our first thought, when we heard, was, ‘Wil was supposed to be there!’
Do we know what would have happened to Wil, had he chosen to spend his weekend with his cousins instead of attending church that Sunday night? Do we know that he would not have survived that crash, had he been in the car? No. But we know that God kept him safe from that experience and changed the course of his life with that visit to church. He doesn’t have the memory of being at his cousin’s death, nor did he lose his life. For that we thank God!
Wil has stayed faithful to God over the years and grows continually in his faith. God has been good, faithful to heal and restore in him all that was stolen from him….because that’s who God really is.
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to First Post In This Series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/