|The Dentist by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622|
I can say in complete honestly that yesterday evening was just terrible. As in, took me all night to recover. Why, you ask? Because my daughter has a loose tooth.
Now, Xoe has lost four teeth already, and they were FINE. No pain, little bleeding, no prob'm. Yesterday, this tooth twisted into a very funny position and hurt every time she touched it. And my brave little princess who withstood a broken elbow with nary a whimper had a complete meltdown over this. As in, four solid hours of crying. And what really got me was what she was crying: "Get it out, get it out--but don't touch it."
Last night, I broke out all the philosophy and truisms I could think of. Though reasoning with a panicked 7-year-old...yeah, um, didn't accomplish anything. But oh, how it got me thinking.
Because that, right there, is so often me. Not over the physical ouchies, those I can handle. But when we dig deeper--oh yeah. I can imagine God in the same agony I was in last evening, wanting so much to help me while I thrash around insisting He make it go away but not DO anything.
At one point last night, I said to my sweet girl, "Doing nothing will never accomplish anything. Ever. If you want something to change, you have to do something."
Yet how often do we complain about something in our lives, beg and plead for God to change it, but then sit on our duffs and cry "Stop!" at the first twinge of unease? And much like tooth v. elbow, I'm not talking about the Big Stuff. I'm talking about the everyday.
We want to see our enterprises, our churches, our businesses, our online presences grow...but we don't want to give up our time, resources, ideas, or prayers to achieve it. We are, in those moments, nothing but screaming children who can't see our own hypocrisy. Caught in our own inertia, paralyzed by our own fear...or exhaustion...or hunger.
Because we're hungry. We're so, so hungry that we feel we can't move. We want more...or better...or different...and we can see it. We can see the others who sell more, grow more, give more, get more. Why can't we? Why hasn't God given us the desires of our heart?
After dealing with a little one who refused food or drink half the day from fear, I have new insight into that. Our beloved Father isn't withholding what we need. We're refusing it. We're not ready. We're too afraid. We're too tired. In order to take what he's offering, we have to move. We have to say, "It's okay if it hurts." We have to be willing to do what it takes.
What's your tooth today? Are you ready to say, "Get it out, Lord, whatever it takes. I trust you." ... Or are you still crying, "Make it go away--just don't touch it!"?