As Sure As the Hairs on Your Head
“But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.“ – Judges 16:22
Samson was at a dead end. He’d betrayed God, his people, and himself. Once the strongman of Israel who defeated the Philistines, now he was their slave, blinded and yoked to a millstone like an ox.
Once his life was full of promise. Even before his conception, a prophet told Samson’s mother her son would be blessed and would deliver his people from their enemies, on just one condition. He could never cut his hair.
Both God and Samson kept that covenant. Samson had the strength and cleverness to protect Israel for 20 years. Then he fell passionately in love with a woman who was in bed (so to speak) with the Philistines. As people in love sometimes do, Samson told Delilah his secrets. And as lovers sometimes do, she betrayed him and told the Philistines. They shaved his head as he slept in her lap.
Samson awoke to find his hair and his strength gone, and most importantly, that “the Lord had left him.” What a terrible end to such a blessed beginning.
Except it wasn’t the end. Judges continues: “But the hair of Samson’s head began to grow again after it had been shaved.” The Philistines thought they’d written the last line of Samson’s story, but they were wrong. The God who first gave Samson life and strength was still at work. The strongman’s hair began to grow.
Gracious One, when we feel as shorn of life or hope as Samson’s bald head, help us remember how you were still at work in his life (and on his head), just as you’re still at work in ours. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.