Friday, August 4, 2017

The Appointment is Made

I will head to the dentist next Wednesday!  Yippee!  No pain in the night, no pain when chewing or drinking hot and cold liquids. So, no big emergency at this point. I suspect that side of the tooth that fell off has only been held on for the past 40 years by the massive filling anyway.  Now that the fillings are shrinking and letting go the poor old teeth are crumbling.  I think there are two metal pins in this filling as well so the poor dentist is going to have a rotten time removing everything so it can be crowned. 

What a blessing to have a fabulous dentist!  What a blessing that so often when my teeth have broken into pieces there has been no pain, not even mild discomfort, until I can get to the dentist for repairs.  Even in the midst of life's disappointments and inconveniences on so many levels, God is good to relieve some of the other problems that could be part of any all ready upsetting scenario.  

I don't believe in the old adage that "every cloud has a silver lining", because sometimes the apparent outcome of a trial is still bad enough we can't see any moments of positive relief, any good side effects, even looking back years later, but I do believe we are often protected from the "even worse than imaginable" extras during periods of problems. 

While I believe God has his purposes in whatever happens to us, good and bad, I don't think we are always privy to full knowledge and discernment as to what those purposes are.  Sometimes it seems there never was any positive purpose to some things. I think not knowing every last little thing that God is and isn't doing can prevent us from becoming annoying, cloying, spiritual know-it-all Pollyannas.  We live in a world of pain and suffering that encompasses the entire globe with sickness, war, and poverty and God's people need, like Christ, to be able to identify in some way with what the rest of the world is going through.  In my opinion it can relieve us of that ugly smugness that accompanies theologies that teach that Christians are never supposed to suffer illness or want and that if they do then something about their faith is faulty.

Suffering of any kind can level the playing field with the unbelieving world around us, give us common ground on which to share God's ability to relieve us of the emotional collapse and total loneliness that can accompany illnesses and disasterous circumstances.  God gives hope of a better future and of a faithful friend in the present.  People who don't know him need to know what he has to offer them, how his love can be expressed even when immediate deliverance from trials is not in the plan.  If we can't relate to the rest of the world then what good are we to them?  Why should they listen to us when we talk about God, about how and why a loving God still permits his own people to suffer the things of this world?

So, the simple breaking of a tooth and the subsequent scramble to cover the cost of repairs is certainly giving me grounds to think more deeply about what I need to be able to say when people ask me those questions.  There are no pat answers, there is only the personal being of God who moves in mysterious ways, but who definitely moves. I need to be able to communicate that more fully, more clearly and more wisely.

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