It’s Not a Torture Session and It’s Not a Race!
by Julie Smith
About three years ago I switched to a new dentist. I told him straightaway that I was a nervous dental patient and I remember he did his very best to reassure me that I was in good hands, and he would be gentle.
Despite the fact that he has been completely true to his word every time I have seen him since then, I was still as apprehensive as ever in the lead up to a recent appointment for the repair of a broken tooth. He must have seen it on my face, because as soon as I sat in the chair he said, “This isn’t going to be a torture session and it’s not a race. We’re not going to rush. It’s going to be very gentle.” Finally, I really received his reassurance, which I really should have received a long time ago.
It set me thinking about our stubbornness and resistance to fully taking on board the much greater reassurance of love, kindness, gentleness, patience and faithfulness, our Heavenly Father has poured out to us over and over again through His Word. Why do we resist really trusting His love, which I discovered in writing this, He has proclaimed 310 times in 280 verses in the Bible! Why do we resist wholeheartedly receiving the richest treasure in the whole world, the key to deep peace in our innermost being no matter what we’re going through, the key to strengthening and empowering us and causing all our striving to fall away?
Perhaps the love we’ve received in the past wasn’t anything like true love and it’s left us with a distorted perception of love. Or perhaps our trust has been broken and we can’t easily trust again. Perhaps it’s our pride that stands in the way – pride that holds tight to our own ways of coping, rather than leaning into God’s love and trusting that He really will hold us even through the worst of storms. Or fear could be a blockage – fear that God’s not really there for us, or fear (like my fear of the dentist) that walking into a deeper love relationship with Jesus, allowing Him into painful areas of our lives we’ve locked away and buried, would be torturous.
God understands our reasons, whatever they might be. But I wonder if today, as He graciously, patiently waits for us to let go of those things we have clung to and make that step jump to finding the comfort and security of knowing His everlasting arms are there beneath us, He is whispering into our hearts, “This walk with me, this journey of receiving my love in your heart isn’t going to be a torture session and it’s not a race. We’re not going to rush. It’s going to be very gentle.”
At the end of my dental appointment, the dentist smiled, saying, “It was a big restoration, but it is complete!” I smiled too, but, in my heart, I was thanking God for how much more this is His heart for all His children, that we would receive His reassurance that He is utterly trustworthy, that His heart is for us. He loves us, and no matter how big the restoration work that may be needed in our lives, He is more than willing and able.
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