What a chore. Day after day, I drag this hair around. Why do I bother? Hair this long is burdensome and gets in the way. Constantly having to step over my hair, brushing and binding it up into a manageable bundle, and the constant washing is, well, a chore. Yet, there is something about this hair that I just can’t let go. Maybe it’s the way the sunlight glints off of it with hints of gold. Maybe it’s the way the slightest rustle releases the scent of lilac. A blessing and curse, my hair is to me.
The other day, I thought I heard a voice. I thought I heard someone call my name “Rapunzel”. The voice was soft and alluring. Perhaps it was just a dream. My captor came again to visit me here in my tower. She had put me here a while ago when I stumbled and lost my way in the woods. My hair was shorter then, just to my waist. After my captor had put me in the tower, she tried to cut my hair to make it more manageable. But, it always grew back. Eventually she just gave up, and it grew and grew. Now, I struggle day in and day out with this hair. But, back to the voice.
The voice came calling again today. Confident and strong, “Rapunzel” it said. This time I felt compelled to take a look outside. After I had stumbled my way over to the window, tripping on my hair (yet again) I peeked over the sill to the ground below. And there he was, a prince. He looked especially dashing in his emerald blue tunic reflecting gently off of his blonde hair. “Rapunzel”, he said with a smile on his face. With that smile a memory comes rushing in from the dark corners of my mind. Years ago a man, with this same smile, came to me in my days before the tower. He told me that my strength would be tested in days to come and that I feel alone. He also told me that I would not be alone, his spirit would be with me. His spirit would give me strength to get through the dark time, but there was a requirement. When the dark time came, I needed to let my hair grow no matter how long it got.
And now, here he was at the foot of my captivity with a smile on his face, calling my name. “Rapunzel” he said, “Let down your hair”. Now, how in the world was I going to do that? The hair was everywhere! “Rapunzel, Rapunzel. Let down your hair”. I looked over the side of my tower, hesitating. And there he stood with a kind smile on his face. “Rapunzel, sweet Rapunzel. Let down your hair.” With a sigh, I begin the onerous task of gathering my hair to throw it over the side, down to the prince. After a moment, the prince took a solid grip on hair and started to climb. Hand over hand, step by step, he made his way slowly to the top until he reached my window.
I looked at him for a moment, wondering what this was all about. “Why are you here?”, I asked the prince. “To rescue you, of course.”, said he. His answer caused me some concern since there was no way out of here. No locked door that could be broken, or stairs that came after to lead the way out. How would he accomplish such a task? From somewhere in his cloak the prince produced a sharp blade. With a slight twinkle in his eyes, he reached around to the nape of my neck and sliced my hair clean from my head. Needless to say, I was more than a little shocked and bewildered. So many questions ran through my head. He had asked me to grow my hair so long ago, and now he cuts it off? And how is this going to help me get out of this place?
The prince set about braiding the hair into a rope. He then tied it around a study pole and threw the hair-rope over the side. He proceeded to climb down. Dumbfounded, I couldn’t move. It was that easy. Throw the hair over the side like a rope, and climb down. Then I would be free from my captivity. “Rapunzel”, said the prince, “Don’t just stand there. Climb down with me.” Happy to comply, I ran over and grabbed a hold of that hair that I had hated so much, blessing it as I climbed down.
This little fable I have spun off of the real story of Rapunzel, bring into focus the need for obedience, even when we don’t understand. At the beginning of my walk with the Lord, He asked me to grow my hair long. I really didn’t understand the need for this. Over time the Lord revealed to me that the length of my hair would serve as a symbol to me of my need for obedience, much like Samson. Surely, there have been times when I wished to be free of this burden and wanted to rebel. Perversely, this caused me to want to cut off all of my hair. Thankfully I have not. Obedience is difficult in the face other people’s opinions, circumstances, our own pain and lack of understanding. Yet, obedience to God’s plan brings life, fruit, and rescue in our dark times. The bible is full of scriptures about obedience such as:
and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.
Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
1 Kings 2:3
and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.
1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
2 John 1:6
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Has there ever been a time when you were called to obedience, even when you didn’t understand why?