“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”-Hebrews 12: 11
Growing up in the 1960’s, the only part of each semi-annual dental checkup I looked forward to was the Lavoris mouthwash rinse that signaled the end of my appointment. My latent tension and fear escalated as Dr. C picked at my teeth, climaxing with his dreaded words of culpability: “You have a cavity!” I knew the drill- no Novocain, you gain! Moving to Wisconsin in 1981 brought a fresh perspective to my dental angst. For Dr. Scott Rennicke, patient comfort is a top priority. Dr. Rennicke’s considered examinations of my God-given teeth enable him to establish and maintain an sensible treatment plan with effective pain management. All I ever was that my pain be understood.
Blinded by pain, discouragement, and despair, the eyes of our hearts focus inward. Confused by the cacophony of negative self-talk, attentiveness to short-term solutions birthed through frustration and impatience, and insensitive advice, our ears cannot discern God’s still, small voice. We must be intentional in seeking Jesus through the seeing soul’s eyes, as Ann Voskamp describes in her book One Thousand Gifts:
“Faith is the seeing soul’s eyes upon a saving God . . . Faith is the seeing eyes that find the gauze to heaven torn through; that slow to witness the silent weight, feel the gold glory bar heavy in palm, no matter the outer appearance.”
It is in the silence of our pain that our melodies of praise ring out, building our trust in Jesus’s promises and forging our transformation in the cleansing fire of adversity. Remembered pain is a catalyst for managing our weaknesses as Christ’s power rests on and in us. Jesus is all we ask- and need.