Recently I was having tooth pain and needed dental work. Many people have a fear of the dentist. It’s no wonder why. Our teeth and gums are super sensitive to pain. We sit down in the chair and then the doctor comes in behind us and picks up a knife or a drill! (Of course, dentists are helpful professionals and most are very caring too!)
Maybe you put off your dental appointment and endure tooth or gum pain as long as you can. Or maybe when you sit down in the dental chair you distract yourself. Or maybe you just open your mouth, close your eyes, and bear it.
Trials Are a Sheer Gift!
But if we deflect or deny the discomfort of being in the dentist’s chair we’re wasting a golden opportunity. It’s the same with all unpleasant emotions, conflicts, or circumstances.
In the heat of trials Peter says our faith can be refined and purified like gold — if we accept them and look to learn about ourselves (1 Peter 1:7). How do I react to criticism? When someone disappoints me? When my body is in pain?
Jesus’ little brother James says, “Consider [your trial] a sheer gift… your faith-life is being forced out into the open” (1:2, MSG). Stuff comes out of us under pressure. We can then see where our character needs healing or maturing.
For instance, grumpiness came out of me when I had to go to the dentist. I don’t like it when my gums bleed. I don’t like getting shots. I don’t like my teeth being drilled and having nerve pain. And it’s expensive too. So I withdrew into somberness and became irritated.
Learning to Enjoy Going to the Dentist
But some years ago I changed my attitude. Modern dentistry is a great gift! Whatever pain or discomfort we feel in the dentist’s chair is quite small compared to the pain we’d have without dental care.
Furthermore, I realized that going to the dentist is a chance to practice living from the heavenly realms where I’m in Christ (Eph. 2:6). To experience this I meditate on Scripture passages that I’ve memorized…
“And now I will show you the most excellent way,” Paul says. Ahhh, yes… “If I speak in the tongues of great orators or even of angels but have not love I am only as a loud, clanging gong or pretty, tinkling cymbal… Love is patient. Love is kind…” (1 Cor. 13)
And so I marinate my mind in God’s words of love… Yes, Father, you love me like this! Thank you Lord Jesus! Let your love live in me and flow out of me…
Immediately, I hear myself say, “Thank you Doctor for helping me.”
The Electric Passages of the Bible
Take a look at my mental library of “Electric Bible Passages For Scripture Memory.” Memorize one of these to help you not succumb to a fear of the dentist or get grumpy about unpleasant circumstances.