On Monday I went to the dentist. Naturally, on the previous Thursday I started to floss, hoping to make it look like I’d been flossing regularly for the last six months.
Even though my dentist is a really nice guy with a great sense of humor, I don’t usually enjoy my visits. Even if it’s just for a clean and polish.
Most appointments start off with a rookie hygienist, half my size and half my age, trying to gouge her way through my teeth with a sharp metal hook. This hook, though meant to clean my teeth, quite often finds its way into my gums as well.
As much as I try to stay relaxed and distracted by the 24-hour news channel on the TV screen that’s glued to the ceiling, I can’t help but stiffen and wince as the hook-wielding sprite-du-jour bloodies my gums.
I never appreciated or understood all that pain until Monday’s appointment. For the first time ever, my hygienist actually explained to me what she was doing, and why she had to scrape below the gumline.
It turns out that, though painful, removing the plaque from below the gumline keeps my teeth clean and healthy. The longer I go without that maintenance, the worse my teeth will get, and the more painful the work will be to fix them.
Knowing that didn’t lessen the pain, but it made it more bearable.
That’s the attitude I try to remember when God disciplines me. His knowledge of – and desire for – what’s best for me should always trump my selfish desires. Though it’s painful, his way is the best.
The longer I go against it, the worse things will get, and the more painful it will be to fix them.
God, let me seek and follow your will today, not mine.
Oh yeah, and please remind me to floss.
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. – Hebrews 12:11