I owe my Mother an apology. My offensive, disgraceful behavior occurred years ago but as of yet I have never asked for forgiveness. So today is the day to make amends and right my wrongs.
Mom, please forgive me for throwing a fit in Dr. Jackson's dental chair. I apologize for my screaming, yelling and thrashing about that led to the use of the office's straight jacket. I'm truly sorry for crying and slobbering all over my Gap kids outfit and causing your blood pressure to spike. And if I shouted out that I hated the dentist, Dr. Jackson in particular, please have mercy on my tongue - and blame the impending shot of Novocaine.
My dear, forgiving Mother remembers better than anyone that as a child I was a petrified pediatric dental patient. I'm sure I taxed not only her nerves but the nerves of the entire dental office staff. Even the thought of the dentist left me wrought with anxiety. I was convinced that anything that occurred inside that office was dreadfully painful and utterly unpleasant. The medical community invented straight jackets for kids like me; kids overcome with extreme dentophobia.
Looking back on those fateful dentist visits I now understand what caused me such fear. It was that very first shot of Novocaine. Despite the dental assistant's assurance that the pain would be over in just a few seconds, I didn't believe it. Or maybe I believed it but that didn't change the fact that I didn't want any pain, not even for a moment.
Mom can attest to the fact that I've grown up quite a bit when it comes to my dental visits. Suffice it to say the dental assistant no longer needs to employ the straight jacket. But I'm still not a fan of needles, shots or pain - momentary or long term. Even when the sting comes with the promise of quick relief, I'm filled with anxiety. I don't scream, cry and throw tantrums, but inside I'm overcome with fear.
The most intense fear comes when the shot is in the hands of God. On countless occasions I have come into His presence as a patient in His care and the treatment plan has started with the familiar refrain, "Hold still, this will only hurt a bit." But I don't want to hold still. I don't want to feel pain, not even a bit. I want to avoid all discomfort. I want to be made well without being given the shot.
But I've learned a thing or two since my childhood days in the dental chair. Fighting against the physician won't change the protocol.
God is more persistent than the dentist with a more effective strategy for commanding compliance. He doesn't even need a straight jacket. He compels my heart with the cross of Christ. He puts Jesus in front of me and instructs me to yield to His will and submit to the procedure of His plan. It may hurt a bit, in fact it almost always hurts a bit, but just like the Novocaine shots of my youth, this pain is momentary and for my good. The numbing is to save me from the pain of a life apart from God's care. I need the shot of submission to Christ in order to endure all of the drilling, filling and fixing that follows and makes me whole and eternally well.
I still don't like shots but I'm learning that in the right hands, in God's hands, they are necessary and for my ultimate good. God's shots are a vital tool He uses to save my perishing soul. Without His shot of spiritual Novocaine I wouldn't be able to relax, rest and peacefully endure the trials and tribulations that are part of making me fit for Heaven.
So, Mom I'm sorry for throwing a fit at the dentist and I promise to never put you through that dental torture again. I've grown older, wiser and I'm learning to cherish shots - well, at least one kind of shot. God's shots. Because I know I need them and I am choosing to submit to them. No straight jacket required.