On the list for the coming week are our periodic dental cleanings. I do not dread such experiences near as much now as I did when I was a child. All throughout my adult years, as a preacher, I have always tried to take care of my mouth. This has involved regular brushing, flossing, and gargling with mouth-wash. So, other than a little scraping for minute deposits of virtually unavoidable plaque, I generally come away from the dentist these days unscathed.
Of course, such never seemed to be the case when I was a child. In those days, I invariably faced an onslaught of cavities; and I still have the fillings in my teeth to prove how vigorously my dentist worked to win that battle!
All of this has reminded me of a conversation I had with my local dentist on my last trip to see him back before things shut down. I inquired about the process we used to undergo as children when we were given nasty tasting red tablets to chew on during our dental visits. He laughed and told me that these were called “dental disclosing tablets”. He then showed me a sample of them in a small package labeled “GUM Red Cote”.
It seems that they are still in use today. They remain a very effective means of doing just what their name purports. Whenever patients chew them, they discolor and highlight cavities in the teeth, thereby “disclosing” any place where attention is needed.
Thankfully, I did not have to chew any that day. But even without having to endure their terrible flavor all over again, I can still recall their awful taste so many decades ago.
Here’s a thought. What is true of overcoming cavities is also true in other areas. Sometimes in life, we may have to go through distasteful experiences. We may even have to swallow a thing or two that we would have not preferred to face. But such things can actually be quite beneficial for us, especially if they help to disclose our weaknesses and/or shortcomings.
The Bible gives us several examples of this. One such instance occurred in the life of the Apostle Peter. All four New Testament Gospels relate the story of Peter’s threefold denial of Christ: Matthew 26:69–74, Mark 14:66–72, Luke 22:55–62, and John 18:15–18, 25–27. As you may recall, earlier that evening, Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster ever crowed the next morning.
In response to that prediction, Peter had asserted that even if others denied Jesus, he himself never would (Matthew 26:33). He had then added that he was personally prepared to follow Jesus to prison, and, if need be, even to death (Luke 22:33). Yet, when the time came, he did exactly as Jesus had predicted, denying Him three times in rapid succession.
One can only imagine how bitter each of those three experiences was to Peter. The process was no doubt distasteful, even repugnant. And yet God knew it was exactly what Peter needed to experience in order to force him to come to grips with his true level of commitment (or lack thereof) to Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.
Ironically, however, in the long run, Peter very likely cherished that difficult night. Why? Because he knew that it changed him forever. It forced this man whom Jesus had called be a fisher of men to “fish or cut bait”, as it were! It drove him to embrace Jesus Christ fully as his Savior and to commit fully to serving Him as his Lord!
Is anything in life presently leaving a bad taste in your life? Are you currently chewing on something that you are finding a bit hard to swallow? Could it possibly be that God is allowing you to undergo this precisely because He desires to disclose something in your life that desperately needs attention?
If so, then why not take a long hard look at what is coming to light?! Embrace this important disclosure, and take whatever steps that are necessary to address any flaws you uncover. In the long run, just like Peter, you’ll be glad you did! For the result will produce much more than a pretty smile. It will bring about joy in your heart as well!
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: All above referenced scriptures verses can be found at: www.biblehub.com.