Reflections – February 2015

The Sovereignty of God and Root Canals
Five years ago or so, I renewed my practice of a regular trip every six months to the dentist.  I am not sure why, it just seemed the right thing to do.  This renewed focus on the health of my teeth has been met with only a few bumps in the road, a couple of fillings and one painful root canal.  The root canal was not fun at all and I had purposed in my mind never to have another one and so brushed with renewed vigor…. for about a week.  A year or so passed.  And then last week I went to have a cavity filled and got the news.  Another root canal.  I knew  it was coming.  There I was, with pieces of dentistry holding my mouth open while the drill did its work … and then, stoppage.  Up goes the chair and I am told that the dentist needs to “talk” with me.  My dentist is a nice enough guy, competent and friendly.  But he is not interested in my life.  And so I knew this little “talk” meant “root canal” before the words exited his lips.
And so, off I go next month for a root canal.  Helpless, I will sit in a chair.  I will be heavily medicated.  The mouth will be opened, the drill will go in, the tooth will be rebuilt. There will be pain. There will be a desire for it all to be over.  All of this will happen while my dentist and his assistant stand over me enjoying pleasant chatter about family and weather and news.
I wonder if sometimes people see life under a sovereign God like a trip to the dentist to get a root canal.  We believe the call is to just sit back in the chair and take whatever He gives.  The drill is required for me to “grow”.  There is pain, there is a desire for it all to be over.  And it just seems like He doesn’t care – He has worlds to move, bigger issues going on … or maybe He is just disconnected, professional … sometimes we are so fearful of what He might do (or is doing) that we self-medicate to make it all less painful …
But Psalm 93 tells us a different story of life.  Floods are real to be sure … death, sickness, sin, disasters, relational breakdowns, war, famine, and even root canals.  But He is over the flood, and He has put on strength as His belt … strength to save sinners, to move nations, to bring new life, to heal, to help, to lift up … The psalm ends declaring that His decrees are trustworthy and that His holiness makes His house beautiful … in Christ, we have been made a part of that house – the house where the Lord reigns, where holiness is beautiful, where words are trustworthy, where strength is applied for the benefit of the people in the house.  We are not patients of a divine dentist, but children of a royal God who cares about us.  We must learn as Christians when there is difficulty to fix our eyes not so much on the dental tools or the pain or the “wanting to get this over with” thoughts or what can I do / take to make it easier, but on a God who cares, who is not a disinterested professional, who wants to speak with us and hear from us, who fundamentally is faithful and compassionate, demonstrating His steadfast love for us regularly, willing to send His Son to die, to take our sin on the cross and give us life.  I think these are the kinds of things I will try to think about as I sit back and open wide and hear that delightful sound of the dental drill preparing to do its work …