As a young boy, I had a great dentist. In fact, to this day, I credit him with training me to trust dentists – which is an issue that many people have trouble with. In fact, I would much rather go to the dentist than to the doctor.
Which is a good thing – because as the years have gone on, I have had increasingly problems with my teeth. In fact, 22 years ago, in 1992, I had to have crowns put on most of my teeth and those teeth that didn’t need that extent of work had to be veneered. I remember the four trips to the dentist, almost four hours each in length; and for the past score of years, all those crowns have served me well. However, recently, they have reached the end of their useful life and it has become clear to me that the time has come for all of them to be replaced. I have put this ordeal off for several years, having already been through it once, but at the end of March, I finally decided to take the plunge and get everything taken care of – once again.
The process started two weeks ago when I had the first of five appointments to replace, for all intents and purposes, every tooth in my head. I endured eight crown preps and today the first crowns were delivered while the next six teeth were prepared. I’ve had more shots of novocaine that I can recall – at least seven today alone; and 14 teeth worked on. Tonight I am more than a little sore… and in the morning, I fly out to Dallas for the day at 7:15 am.
The next appointment happens two weeks from today when the next round of crowns gets delivered and we move on to the lower teeth. Needless to say, I have really had my share of time in the dental chair. And after almost every visit, there is a period of several days that I use to recover.
There is no more appropriate verse that the one that Paul tells us about in 2 Corinthians. Paul had been suffering and tells us, in 2 Cor. 12:7-10, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
My encouragement this evening is that you should remember that you also can be made strong in your weaknesses. We all have areas of our lives where we are strong and other areas where we struggle – whether it be physical, mental or emotional. My prayer is that you will not struggle too much – small thorns are okay but let’s face it – large ones can be a real pain… and I know that! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…