Sermon Illustrations

I once went to a dentist, and I don’t remember what procedure he was actually doing on my teeth but for some reason he needed to wiggle my jaw. He grabbed my chin and tried to use it to tap my bottom teeth to my top teeth. He commanded me to just relax my jaw muscles. Essentially, he wanted to control my jaw. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t just give up control. He got frustrated after awhile and got fairly sharp with me, and I really was trying, but I couldn’t do it. I see this in my life and with my God. I really want to leave it all in His hands, let Him be in complete control just like my dentist wanted to be in control of my jaw muscles, but I don’t know how to do it. Some people have less trouble – they find it easier to just “let go” – but I’m not one of them!

So let me tell you what I did at the dentist – I couldn’t just completely relax my jaw muscles, so instead I tried to completely respond to his touch. When he pushed up I concentrated on following his touch as closely as possible, matching the speed and force and direction. When he closed my teeth together and released, I let my jaw drop back into his hand and again tried to respond to his touch. I didn’t just let go, but I tried to match my actions to his touch.

And I think that is a good spiritual discipline along the way to complete surrender. Maybe that is even the best picture of it, I’m not sure. We will never be simple marionettes, puppets on a string, lifeless and choiceless until the puppeteer picks up the strings. And I’m not sure we would want to be. That seems more like slavery than adoption. Maybe the idea of “letting go” is really one of being attentive to the Master’s touch and immediately responsive. Maybe the choice for us is to stop fighting God’s hand and start responding.