I was at the dentist yesterday. I have mentioned before how amazing my “Dental Spa” is. Besides having amazing attitudes about a not-so-fun job, they go the extra mile when dealing with a frightened child who has anxiety about having dental work done (and in this case, I am not talking about myself…). Apparently, the little boy in the station next to me was getting his teeth cleaned for the first time. Naturally he was nervous about having all the tools stuck in his mouth. The Technician talking to him made it sound like he was preparing for a ride at Disneyland! When they got ready to polish his teeth, I could hear them list off his choices of flavors: Strawberry Fruit Snack, Orange Juice, Peppermint Candy Cane, Pink Bubblegum, or Vanilla Ice Cream. I mentioned to the girl getting ready to polish my teeth that A, I felt like I wanted to switch my choice based on those new descriptors and B, I also felt like they were setting that kid up for some major disappointment. Talk about “over-promise and under-deliver”! Maybe they should also mention that the Strawberry Fruit Snack will feel like it has been rolling around in the sandbox for a few days! There is no special flavor that will make up for that unpleasant mouthful of grit.
I guess I can appreciate their efforts when I really think about it. I mean, no one LIKES to go to the Dentist, even for a mere clean and check. And let’s face it, getting a filling or a root canal can be as pleasant as, well, getting a root canal. But we do it anyway if we want to keep our teeth. It’s a no brainer. We can either do the necessary deal with Novocain, laughing gas, anesthesia, song and dance and a plethora of flavored tooth polish, or, we can do it without. Either way. It has to be done.
This is how I see life with God. Sometimes life is good. Very good. With blessings galore and shiny-happy-people everywhere. At times like these, I find it easy to trust and love God. But there are other times that life just plain sucks. Times when we don’t want to pray or smile or get out of our beds. Then what? God tells us that “in this world we will have trouble.” That’s just how life works. And the temptation is to blame. Much of the time, people land on God. They decide He is not loving and that they are better off without Him. I mean, why even serve a God who just lets crap happen to us if He has the power to stop it? Why listen to or obey His rules if I still end up suffering just like those who ignore Him? Where’s the reward? Where is the sense of blessing? Where are the feelings of happiness and peace that I am promised if I love Him?
These are questions I have asked. And there are others that are even more in-His-face than these. But here is the question I have to ask myself: “To Whom Shall I Go?”. I can either do this hard life WITH God or WITHOUT God. The one who suffers most, if I chose to be angry or ignore Him, is ME. Doing life on my own hurts me and those around me. It doesn’t “stick it to God” when I choose to go off on my own. When I try to live by my own power and self-will, without the wisdom, discernment, guidance, strength, and hope that comes when I choose trust Him. It’s like going to the Dentist. It’s something that is inevitable. But we can do it the easy way or the hard way. With the tools and provisions to make a potentially painful experience better, or without them. With a Dentist who is kind and patient and understanding of our fears or without.
I know this may sound like I am over-simplifying things, but my tendency is to make things harder and more complicated than they need to be. So, for now, I am going to go with simple.