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“I Love My Dentist?” Luke 1:26-37 Key verse(s): 31:“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”

I love my dentist? Do you love yours? Unfortunately dentists have really gotten a bad rap over time. Many see them as the evil pain-giver, the one who without a shrug or a wince are able to inflict pain in an almost methodically fashion. Myself, on the other hand, have always had a gentler, kinder opinion of my dentist. He is no less the pain-given since I have been through extraction to root canals with him. Methodical, there is nothing more demanding of method than dealing with a stubborn root that has grown in jagged fashion in the depths of my jaw. Stubbornly refusing to be moved or removed, it was all about method that saved the day.

I had come to my dentist in a panic over pain. My jaw hurt so bad I had not been able to eat properly for days. My cracked molar has slowly become a broken, jagged thing that defied tooth brushing as well. Anything that came in touch with it caused pain. It had finally gotten so bad that it was keeping me up at night as my tongue, in automatic fashion, continually searched for the fissure almost like a dog attracted to a rotting carcass. It simply had to push and shove it just to see what it would do. What it did was hurt.

Finally even my business and hectic schedule could not keep me from taken the time necessary to get this thing fixed. I called my dentist to make an emergency appointment. I was genuinely hoping that he would be able to remove the broken piece and cap the tooth and make it whole again. As I put down the receiver, appointment in place for the early afternoon, I could already imagine the luscious steak that I was going to dig into with my “new” refurbished tooth. Let me tell you, I was looking forward to that appointment. As I settled into the chair just hours later, bib in place and anticipating the stinging jab of that anesthetizing needle, I knew that relief was only a couple of hours away. I lived on that thought throughout the afternoon. First the needle needed to be applied not once but twice. Then a decision was made to do a root canal in preparation for the crown. After that, finding that the roots were in poor shape and that not enough of the base tooth was left to cap, the decision was made to pull the tooth altogether and work toward a bridge. The process did not take the hour or so I had anticipated. Rather, it took all afternoon. When it was over, the offending piece of enamel was eliminated. Although I could not eat on that side for days, there was no longer a flopping target of pain for my tongue to menace. The source of the pain had been eliminated; methodically, with strength and a whole lot of pain to get me there. As I look back at the experience I am grateful for the pain. For, without the intense temporary pain, the permanent relief would not have been possible. Even though he caused me great pain, I can only say of my dentist this: “I love you. Thanks for the pain. It was worth it.”

We often long dreamily for days without difficulty, but God knows better. The easier our life, the weaker our spiritual fiber, for strength of any kind grows only by exertion. (Craig Brian Larson)

God promised Mary that she would be “blessed among women.” Yet, in order to attain the blessing, she had to endure the pain of childbirth and the ultimate pain of watching her son die. Just the fact that God’s favor rests upon you does not insulate you from pain and suffering. These are inevitable. In fact, these are in fact the source of the blessings in your life. For, as God is about His work shaping, bending and molding you into shape, there may be much pain to endure. Submit to His workmanship as you would to the dentist. Do not despise his methodical, even painful movements in your life. Ultimately, when you measure this pain against all other gain you might have achieved in life, the comparison is quite weak. That which we receive in pain, is always better than the gain.

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