Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
I’m not fond of dentists.
Well, that’s not completely accurate. I’m sure there are some doctors of dentistry who are quite kind. What I meant to say is I’m not fond of going to the dentist.
No, that’s not fully honest either. The truth is, I HATE going to the dentist. Even if I’m only going for my annual cleaning, (Now, don’t you go trying to tell me I need to go twice a year. I’ve scheduled my tooth torture the first Tuesday after Labor Day, 9 a.m., for over a decade and my mouth is doin’ just fine.) my heart begins to flutter a week before D-day, and no it’s not a crush on Dr. D. It’s anxiety, plain and simple. Not fear so much. I don’t know as I’ve ever heard of anyone dying in the dentist chair, though I’m sure it’s happened. It’s anticipated discomfort. You got to sit all still in that lean-back chair with that cold, grim equipment hovering over your head. While the little Missy is all cheery, asking about the grandkids and such, you can’t say spit cuz your mouth is full of her fist. (Like VIP physicians, Dr. D. only pops his head in after most of the work is done, checkin’ your choppers so he can bill you for an exam.) Anyway, I’ve survived the ordeal many times. I’ve never experienced any permanent harm and have learned that 9:00 a.m. doesn’t mean 8:55 like my papa taught all us kids. But the point is, when the dreaded day is about to make its way to the top of the Rolodex flip calendar, I get the pall. The gloomy blues. Melancholy. A dark shroud wraps around my heart and stormy clouds loom above. The Tuesday before while I’m finishing my morning time with the Lord, I think to myself, “This time next week I’ll be in The Chair.” On Saturday when I’m in my garden and should be joyfully giving thanks to the Lord, I’m counting down the days. And kiss good-bye any hope of a peaceful sleep on Monday night. My peepers pop open about 3 a.m. and I sigh, “Six more hours…” I’m embarrassed to admit I even decline social invitations and take hot baths the week before Torment Tuesday ‘cus I’m saving my strength for enduring the dreadful day.
I know, some of you are saying right now, “You aren’t trusting the Lord, Grace!” and you would be right. Though I pray for peace that passes paranoia, by The Day my nails are nibbled to the quick. Having just recently endured the affliction, I read John chapters 14-17 with a heightened curiosity.
Jesus is giving His disciples final instructions and encouragement before He leaves the next day to the Garden of Gethsemane to be betrayed, then crucified. Jesus clearly understands the horror awaiting Him. Beatings, shame, and brutal torture. He’s under no illusion or even interest that He can or would ever consider abandoning this divine appointment. For me, the anticipation is always worse than the event. Not so with Jesus. His experience was truly beyond our sheltered comprehension. But the day before, was Jesus anxious about His impending peril? Was He sullen? Frightened? Did He feel the need to bemoan His upcoming fate? Not at all. Incredibly, He focused solely on the disciples’ comfort and concerns. Read these excerpts from John:
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 4:25-27
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:4-11
1- John 17:11-15
So what did Jesus do when He was facing hardship? He focused on others. He pressed on toward the goal for the prize of God’s heavenly call. (Phil 3:13-14) He gave His full attention to the well-being of those around Him. He encouraged them in their faith and bowed before His Father on their behalf.
The lesson for me and maybe for you is all day, every day, any day, even dentist day, we should stand on the two greatest commandments, 1. Love God and 2. Love others.
Let’s pray together.
Almighty God, You are more powerful than our pitiful palls. Greater than our gloom. Fill us with your Spirit of peace, patience, faithfulness, and divine joy. In the name of Jesus we claim victory over the anxiety that steals our enthusiasm for days graciously given by You. Help us to embrace Your protection, whatever our circumstances. For You, Lord, are bigger than any dental dilemma.