And some have been painful to learn. Maybe. Just maybe it is because. I. Learn. Slow.
And as I have "been in school" with Jesus, I have been looking for Scripture to light the way. One I have been visiting often this month is:
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. ~Hebrews 12:11
So I guess it is all right if it doesn't seem joyful right now. Because someday.....
That brings me to my daughter Grace.
She is a lovely girl. And lives up to her name by being graceful.
But her teeth. Her teeth seemed to have a mind of their own.
Not her baby teeth. Her baby teeth were perfectly straight. But the permanent teeth. The ones that matter. The ones you get to live with forever.
Her kind and soft hearted brothers referred to her eye teeth as "the fangs". (My girls are tough!)
So we did what every red-blooded, loving, American parent with an extra (ahem) $5000.00 does. We got braces. We paid for them by the month of course. For months and months and months. But we got braces.
And they made a huge difference. But they also reaffirmed in Grace's mind the old adage, "No pain, no gain."
Braces hurt. Alot.
They make your gums ache. They tear up the inside of your mouth. And every time you finally get used to the way things feel, it is time for another appointment. The orthodontist changes your wire and your rubber bands. And it starts aching all over again.
But it begins to feel worth it as you see "the fangs" descend and take their rightful place in your mouth. Teeth straighten. Your bite lines up.
And then THE BIG DAY comes. The braces come off! Great celebration occurs and it usually involves chewing ice, eating popcorn, sticky, hard candy, and bubble gum. Which of course you never indulged in while your braces were on because you realized what a sacrifice your parents were making and would never jeopardize that! Ever. (When people were looking anyway.)
You SEE the fruit of the braces. Straight teeth.
What does that have to do with Hebrews 12:11? Please don't think I am trying to trivialize Scripture, but as I was thinking about the analogy of "Braces" I came up with the ROV (Revised Orthodontic Version) of Hebrews 12:11:
"All braces for the moment seems not to be joyful, but painful; yet to those whose teeth have been trained by them, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of straight teeth."Like I said, I am not trying to trivialize Scripture. I value It WAY too much to do that. But it helps me get my mind around and physically picture what is happening in my own life spiritually. Because my spiritual "teeth" have been getting straightened.
If pieces of metal and wires and rubber bands can do such drastic things to teeth, just think how much more God can use circumstances in our lives to drastically change our hearts!
Difficult circumstances can:
- hurt, just like braces.
- take some getting used to, just like braces.
- cause major changes, just like braces.
- be expensive, just like braces.
- take time to accomplish the desired outcome, just like braces.
- be better endured when you know that the gain is worth the pain, Just Like Braces.
We put a lot of hope and trust in to our orthodontist. We would have never trusted him with our daughter and her mouth and our money if we did not believe he would fix the issues.
How much more with God.
In 2 Corinthians 1 Paul speaks of he and Timothy going through afflictions, suffering, more affliction, excessive burdens, and despairing of even life.
I think Paul's difficult circumstances beat mine. As a matter of fact, his pretty much rule.
But he hoped and trusted in the God that was ruling and transforming and MOVING his life.
...we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; Who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on Whom we have set our hope. ~2Corinthians 1:9,10So on whom or on what have I set my hope?
Myself and my good intentions? My family to do what they are supposed to do? My friends to see and meet my needs? My finances to cover my requirements? My circumstance to work out? My plans to succeed?
Instead I need to remember He on Whom I have set my hope and let all those things above simply be my braces setting my crooked heart straight and moving my resistant heart closer to Him! It may feel painful for the moment. It may even ache. It may take a long time.
But in the end. Oh in the end. The blessed, blessed fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. ~Galatians 5:22,23