I don’t know many sensations as weird as having work done on a numb tooth. All the same, I had the best dentistry experience at my dentists’ practice on Tuesday (not something you read every day…but then I haven’t been to many dentists with a prayer board). This post was writing itself as I sat in the reclining chair to address two cavities.
You have to understand that I’m not fond of needles. I don’t have a fear, as my multiple travel immunization shots will attest. Let’s be honest though: the body is designed to ingest through the mouth, not via tiny tubular needles injecting fluid through my previously in-tact skin. I didn’t even feel the pinching sensation of the dentist’s needle today, however.
As I sat reclined in the seat, eyes closed and tools-of-the-trade protruding from my mouth, I braced for the inevitable stab of pain that typically accompanied these experiences. No sharp pain ever came. In fact, other than a tired jaw, there wasn’t even any discomfort. I was quite surprised and started to question my braced response. I was braced against the unreal inevitable. As some wicked type of grinder ate away at my tooth, I thought about how agonizing the experience would be without the anesthesia, yet I sat comfortably through the targeted destruction. Slowly, I relaxed and reflected in body what I was beginning to accept in mind: these professionals had it covered.
Several thoughts developed. Perhaps I could best describe them as dual approaches to understanding faith.
- Faith is consciously sitting back in a chair and providing multiple individuals access to extremely sensitive areas. It’s setting aside my defenses, protests and insecurities and placing my trust in someone else to accomplish what I cannot. I had placed my faith in this dentist to heal my wounded teeth and provide quality care in the process, without consult to my preferences.
- Many view faith as the anesthesia. The pain and suffering that would have taken place was covered over, leaving me in a thoughtful calm rather than screaming in agony. Here faith is viewed as getting us through pain or even being a means of hiding pain. Such a view is not faith; this view is holding onto a false hope to hide from pain. A sort of placebo that isn’t real, just a trickery of the mind.
My faith has been stretched in a particular area of life. I learned a great deal about real expressions of faith long ago, but some lessons require revisiting. In this instance, it’s a matter of trust. Do I trust the one I call GOD (all-powerful creator over all things) with such an area of importance? Do I risk on faith?
My lasting thought of the day, on which I dwelled quite a bit: faith isn’t a tucked-away emergency fund, faith is a pocket-full of my everything invested into whatever He calls me.
Where I’m coming from…
“Now faith is…the proof of what is not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). I’ve discussed this topic and passage before, but it bears repeating. Faith is not wishing for better or hoping for the best, faith is our response to the Spirit already at work in and around us. We don’t place faith in God and so He arrives; He stirs us that we may respond in faith.
Abraham died thousands of years ago, but still remains an incredible example of faith. When promised a son (Genesis 15, 18), the old man looked at the impossibility of it all and believed all the more, because God had made a promise. He placed all of his faith and future in God’s promise/word (Romans 4:19-21), a response to God’s activity.
Faith is walking into the impossible where God is already going. Following Jesus is joining Him where He is, not where seems most reasonable.