The tooth had been bothering me for a couple of years. My dentist and I had many discussions during my visits about what to do. Toothaches, abscessed gum, and on good days just a little sensitive. We tried a crown, a root canal, and smoothing out the chips where it would crack. I knew what needed to be done. I was getting good advice from my dentist, but I did not want to do it.
Pull the tooth. Not what I wanted to do … but we finally did.
The pain went away immediately and no more abscessed gum. It took a couple of weeks to heal and I could actually start chewing again on that side of my mouth.
But now I had a gap in my teeth. My dentist even has an answer for that. I am getting a permanent bridge. It is not my tooth, but for practical purposes it will be as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
I have told the story of my tooth to several people struggling to live the life Jesus has called them to live. They have addictions or behaviors that are not what Jesus would want. As a result, they struggle with pain, guilt, and shame. They try different things to change but nothing seems to last.
Until they do radical spiritual surgery to overcome their sin. Some have quit jobs or changed careers. Others have had to sever relationships that were unhealthy. They made the decision to do whatever it took to get well spiritually. Just like Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount when he told his followers to pluck out their right eye if it caused them to sin.
Then healing happens. God forgives, heals the wounds, and provides what is needed for a new and healthy life in him.
Trust God enough to do whatever it takes to follow him. It really does make for a better life.