Thursday, February 6, 2014


I hate going to the dentist. Perhaps hate is too strong a work . . . no it's not. I hate going to the dentist. So why do I still go? Good question!

My dentist loves me. I'm his favorite type of customer - a repeat customer. I keep coming back for more!! And I pay him for it!!!

I have been to the dentist four times in the last three months. That's not right. That's not right is it? That's just insane! I went in for a cleaning, then I broke a tooth and had to get a temporary crown fitted, then I had to go back and get my REAL crown put in and the next thing I knew it was time for another cleaning!!

You know what's really annoying about dentists? They never tell you ahead of time what they're going to do to you the day you go see them. Like today. I thought I was just going in for a cleaning. Nope.

"Today we're going to check your pocket depth."

Pocket depth? My pocket depth gets checked every time I get a bill from these people! And my pockets are getting shallower and shallower with each passing visit! Goodness gracious!

So my dental hygienist, Frau Blucher, who obviously got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, set out to see just how far she could shove her sharp metal probe into my tender jaw.

"Two, three, three, four . . . EIGHT!!!"


"Was that uncomfortable Mr. Hall?"

"Uncomfortable? Does this tear running down my cheek give you a clue? How about this piece of the chair I just ripped from it's moorings? Here."

"I'm terribly sorry Mr. Hall. But we have to check your pocket depth so we can make your teeth healthier."

I am sure she shoved that sharp metal tourture device as deep into my jaw as she could make it go. I could have sworn I saw her leaning on it to make it go deeper. I sit in that chair and think . . . I would rather die. Hey, I know Jesus. I get new teeth when I get to heaven, right? Let's go and get this over with!!

But she was right. Deep pockets are not good. They get filled with food and yuck and can be a location for some nasty infections. Naturally, my dental hygienist had some ideas for how I could shallow up my deep pockets.

"Do you use an electric toothbrush?"

"Not really. We have one but . . ."

"You should really use one. Do you use your end-tuft brush?"

Lord, forgive me. I lied.

"Some . . . maybe . . . (I never even picked the thing up) . . . once?"

"You really should use it every day."

I know she's just trying to help but I really don't like doing all that putsy stuff. I've got a toothbrush and toothpaste, Ain't that enough?"

Apparently not.

Our walk with Jesus can be like a trip to the dentist sometimes. God allows pain and suffering in our lives to teach us things or to refine us in some way - to improve our character. It's like He's "checking our pockets" to see how healthy our faith is. Like just the other day . . .

My wife's side of the family was having a get together - a birthday party for my mother-in-law. Normally that's just fine but recently I had had a "discussion" with my sister-in-law and her husband over our differing views of scripture. If I would attend this party it might feel a little "uncomfortable, us three in the same room. Kind of like me squirming in that dentist chair.

I told my wife I probably wouldn't be coming down. Five hours in a car is a lot of driving and I wasn't looking forward to it. But then God began probing my pockets with his two favorite instruments - His Word and His Holy Spirit. It didn't take long for me to feel convicted so I decided to, in effect, I decided to use my "electric toothbrush." I decided to go.

And God taught me something. We had a great time. I had a nice talk with my brother-in-law, the entire family played a game, I got a kiss on the cheek from my mother-in-law and a "Thank you for coming.", and I'm sure I got a nodding smile from my Father in heaven. My "pockets" are showing signs of improvement. And maybe, if I actually practice a little preventive maintenance on my faith . . . by staying in His Word, by more consistently living what I believe, perhaps I can have a healthier relationship with my family . . . and with my King.

"And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer." - Exodus 15:26

"2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

Refine Me by Travis Cottrell

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