After years of not having dental insurance or having it but not having the copay or having both but also having a myriad of excuses that canceled out me having what I needed… sigh. I FINALLY went to the dentist, who promptly told me that I needed 11 teeth removed.
I talked her into 9.
The first round of pulling was scary but uneventful. No problems. I was in and out in an hour. Slept it off the rest of the day; back to work the next.
Not this time.
This time, the teeth in question had been broken longer. Infection had taken up permanent residence in the root. On any given day, the evidence of my hidden struggles showed up to the world in a puffy jaw and a squinted eye. I would howl in pain, face swollen, sinuses hurting and ear throbbing, too.
I knew it was gonna be bad when I saw her reach for a tool I’d never seen before. The drilling, sawing, pulling made me so uncomfortable I cried involuntary tears. Despite my distress, each time she asked does it hurt, I soldiered on. No, I’m okay.
Until she hit that last tooth in the back.
The pain seared my very soul. I literally lifted out of the chair. And you know what?! She made me power through. She would not allow me to take a break until she was done. When that tooth finally broke under the pressure, the pulling, and the twisting, I knew for facts she was gonna say “Done!” Instead, she took a huge breath, leaned forward with her hand in my mouth, and said, “Okay! Now we need to pull the root.”
I died a little.
And this is what the parable of my teeth means:
My busted mouth is your life. My broken teeth? All the weight and sin that throws us off. God is that dentist pulling up every. Single. Thing. That is not like Him. By the root. Consequences and all. And that pain? Well. Pain is pain, my dudes.
We spend so much time avoiding God’s real work of changing, fixing our hearts that when we FINALLY show up, the situation is worse than it should be–and the process hurts worse than it needed to. And then, when God has to pull the live root of weight and sin in our lives, the infection is so great that we can barely stand it. But the pulling and the breaking is necessary. If God never pulls out the root, we will never heal, never be whole.
It is time to stop avoiding the work of getting healed. I have lost time, sleep, painless rest, the ability to chew for a while–all because I avoided a much needed healing. And while God is blessing me to rebuild my mouth, I’ve endured unnecessary suffering and loss. Don’t let that be your story. Jesus said He standing at the door of your heart knocking: LET HIM IN.