I had minor periodontal surgery yesterday. As I lay awake last night thinking, God began to show me some spiritual parallels to what I had just gone through. I have had a problem with my gums for many years now. It was noticeable and obviously my gums weren’t exactly as they should be, but it never bothered me very much. I had grown used to it and treated it as if it was no big deal. Funny how a lot of things in life are like that. We know we have issues but we ignore them all the while thinking that is just the way I am and it is no big deal. We grow accostumed to our imperfections and just let them be.
My dentist offered his opinion on the problem and suggested a few times that I should get it looked into by a specialist. He assured me it wasn’t urgent and that his suggestion was more for cosmetic reasons than medical ones. I shrugged off the suggestions. My gum line wasn’t at all even but I didn’t think it was worth it to have cosmetic surgery. I was quite sure the cost for that would be high and the thought of someone cutting away parts of my gums didn’t really appeal to me. When I finally went to the specialist, I found out that the problem was a bit more than how my gums looked. My condition had the potential to cause more serious problems in the future. As I was thinking on this, I became aware how important it is to get the diagnosis of a professional. In spiritual terms, people can say all kinds of things to us according to what they know and see. Sometimes they may be correct and sometimes they could be quite off. There is a need to go to the Great Physician, the expert in everything about us, and get His perspective. I think this is why David, the man after God’s own heart, asked God to search him and try him and see if there was any crooked way in him. He wanted The Expert’s opinion.
What held me back from going also has parallels to what holds us back spiritually. We are afraid that the cost will be too high or that letting God work in our lives might just be too painful. On both accounts, I was pleasantly surprised. The surgery was very expensive but because it was deemed necessary and not just cosmetic 90 % of the cost was covered by my dental insurance. I think that the same is true spiritually. When God has to do some work in our lives, it costs us much less than we fear. He covers the bulk of the expense Himself. My dental surgery wasn’t very painful at all. The periodontist took measures to make sure that I was very frozen before he started snipping. After the cutting was done and the freezing wore off, I really didn’t have much pain. The periodontist had given me meds to deal with the discomfort but I found I really didn’t even need them. I think that the same is true when we allow God to work in our lives. He’s far more tender and concerned about our condition than we give Him credit for. It’s not His good pleasure to see His children suffer. I think that often our real life experience is far less traumatic than what we fear it will be.
Now that the surgery is done, I am in the healing process. I have to be careful over the next couple of weeks to ensure that my gums heal properly. Even some good activities like brushing and flossing have to be supended for a time so as to not undo the corrective work just accomplished. This also reminds me of how God works. When God does a work of “surgery” in our lives, it often takes some time for the healing to be complete. During this time especially, care must be taken and some things must be left aside for a season so that His work can become permanent in our lives.
Finally, although there were medical grounds for my surgery, I am happy to say that it also makes my smile more asthetically pleasing. Isn’t that how God works too? Yes, He corrects us where we are wrong but in so doing He also makes us more like Christ, the Beautiful One. In the words of the Psalmist, “He beautifies His afflicted ones”.
Well, I didn’t go to the periodontist to be reminded of how God works. I think that He just wanted to meet me in the everyday experience of life and give me an object lesson to remind me of some spiritual principles. Awesome.>