Random fun fact about Amy: she has not had positive experiences when it comes to the dentist. That’s the most succinct way I can think to put it.
This week was a major fear-facing success for me. I went to the dentist. They did a check up, regular cleaning, and took X-rays. Truthfully, I had been praying for a miracle, that God would fix the problem tooth I knew was in there. And when the hygienist said she couldn’t see anything wrong, my hopes were lifted that God had indeed given me the miracle I so desperately wanted.
She looked a little closer; nope, there it was. Still there.
The last dentist I had gone to said it needed a root canal and a crown. I knew the problem was there. I had been hiding from it…or maybe trying to hide it away from anyone else. Either way, hiding the problem will not resolve it.
At the end of the appointment, while chatting with the dentist, he showed me the pictures they had taken of the problem area in my mouth. Let me make this very clear: Nonetheless, there the pictures were, and God’s Spirit was whispering to me, “Look.” So I did.
*This is the part where if you don’t like medical detail, you may want to skim ahead.* I saw black yuckiness on my tooth where it meets the gum.
It was ugly. I wanted to look away. I felt embarrassed. There was my issue, on display in living color for anyone around to see. Then the dentist said the weirdest thing to me, “I know it’s not pretty, but that black stuff is actually your tooth trying to defend itself.”
I still have difficulty believing it, with that image seared into my memory. The ugliness coating my tooth is the defense, is the attempt to heal itself. As cheesy as it is, I couldn’t help but think of how often in our lives does healing not take the prettiest form.
Following Jesus is easy. We often wish our lives we just full of rainbows, puppies, and brightly colored duck tape, but often it doesn’t work that way. Jesus did command His followers to “Take up your cross and follow me.” A cross is anything but easy.
Following Christ is worth the difficulties and ugliness, because when we do God does more than we could ever imagine. He wants to heal us. He wants to strengthen us. He wants to do great things through us. We have to let him. We need to have faith that God can and will use the ugliness in our lives to bring healing and to conform us into his workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We have to walk in the good works that God has prepared for us. We will never notice God’s beautiful work if we continue to focus on our ugliness. It takes determination and perseverance to focus on the work of God (which we may or maynot be able to see right now). If we can do this, God will make all things beautiful.
Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 says, “ He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.”
I encourage you to keep doing God’s good work with joy even if you don’t understand what He is doing or if it looks ugly and embarrassing. If you would like to encourage others to do God’s good work, please share this with someone. (It will encourage us too).