Saturday, September 6, 2008

This week I was reminded of how thankful I am for pain. I’m sure that a statement like that probably sounds strange - to be thankful for pain, but it’s true. On Thursday I was the proud recipient of my first two cavity fillings.
Now I really hate pain. That is clear to my family who would tell you that I have known about these cavities for about 3 ½ years. During that time the idea of getting a filling was enough to put me on the verge of panic (largely because I previously viewed dentists as sadistic creatures bent on separating me from my money and my teeth). But I finally had to “Man-Up” (as I would have told my boy to do) and go to the dentist.
Well, lo and behold, I found out that my dentist was actually a pretty nice guy, who grew up with one of my work buddies, wants to make sure my visit is an inexpensive one, and he doesn’t like Barak Obama – Who knew!! He’s not an emotionless, human instrument of torture after all! (and a Republican to boot!)
But in the numbing process I became thankful for my capacity to feel pain. With the Novocain in full effect, ol’ saw-bones was able to drill a hole in and grind on a tooth that would previously have made me yelp from a cold drink of water. The numbing shot also effected my tongue, lip and chin. I had to be careful not to bite my tongue or lip as I ate.
Through this process I was reminded that God has designed us with the ability to feel pain, and the basic function of that ability is to alert us when there is a problem. If I hadn’t had pain when I ate something cold or sweet, I would never have known that my teeth needed attention. That pain, in ever increasing doses, was motivation for me to get past my fears and go to the sadist, er Dentist.
I can’t help but also be thankful to God for the capacity to feel spiritual pain. That twinge of spiritual discomfort that comes after doing something that I know is wrong in God’s sight. We’ve all felt it, we say something or do something and immediately we get that cramp in our heart, that feeling of regret that shows us we have messed up. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
In John 16:8 Jesus said of the Holy Spirit:
"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin…”
I don’t like that spiritual cramp that I get on a daily basis from my sin, But I’m glad it’s there because it draws me to Christ where I am able to confess my mistakes and experience his forgiveness. If I didn’t have that capacity for spiritual pain I probably wouldn’t realize that I had sinned, and since sin puts a barrier between me and God, I would go on being out of fellowship with the him. But since God cared enough about me to give me pain, I am able to go to him and the relationship can be restored
So I’ve come away from this undesirable necessity of life much differently than I had anticipated: With an appreciation for pain (both kinds) and a strong desire to floss and drink less pop.


Blair Bunch said...

I told you so.....

Anonymous said...

Wow! That was a great mini sermon as I missed being in church due to traveling. I am sitting in the camper on Sunday night and feel like I did not miss having my Sunday morning message grom Ray. Thanks for a great blog and great food for thought. Keep up the good work. I miss my hugs though, especially from your lovely wife.

Anonymous said...

And no happiness!