“In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
I have a secret. I got braces 4 months ago. It is honestly a really long story and I will spare you all the details, but they aren’t the clear and cute kind and they only stretch across my front top 8 teeth. I had braces for 6 years in between middle school and high school. I didn’t wear my retainer, and now I have had Invisalign for two years. So this is my third round of dental treatment. There was just one tooth that wouldn’t quite squeeze in line with all of the other teeth and my orthodontist recommended that I do this, despite me reaaaaaally not wanting to do it. I didn’t really see a need for it, to me, my teeth looked like they were in line. I listened to the man anyways and here I am with these nice new metal additions to my mouth. I have harbored a lot of resentment towards these things. As soon as he put them on, my first request was that they would be off in time for me to take graduation pictures. I figured that I would sacrifice nice Christmas pics for the hope of at least having them off by the time I graduate. That is shallow, I know, but this is real life and I’m just telling you the real story.
Lately, it has felt like there have been a few other things that just quite have not been ideal. My head has felt clouded with the fact that things just aren’t great and it has been so frustrating. I have spent a lot of the past few months focused on the fact that things aren’t great and the icing on the cake is the braces. I would get even more frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t even fake that things were going well because all I could offer was a soft smile. You will be hard pressed to find a single picture or find me smiling with my teeth. That’s how I decide whether something is truly funny, if I can’t even keep my top lip clinched.
The other day, I went to the orthodontist and realized that the timeline for getting these suckers off was going to be longer than what I thought. I was upset. Then, I come home and analyze the work that had been done and realize that my front tooth was now moving on top of the other tooth. I was very upset. So now, I am going to have these braces on even longer AND my teeth are more crooked than they were when we started the treatment. I was quite frustrated.
It has been about 2 1/2 weeks since that happened, and I have slowly come to realize that in order for the problem tooth to move, the orthodontist had to make room to bring it down. So, he shifted my front tooth over a little bit so that the other tooth could come align with the others. Now I am no orthodontist so I could be totally off on this but I think he’s going to move my front tooth back and voila, now we can have the smile we’ve only dreamed of. I am holding on to hope.
Regardless, I have seen through this that a lot of times we get as frustrated with God as I did with the orthodontist that day. I find myself looking at circumstances thinking “What in the world are you doing in this??”, “How are you still good in this??”, “This pain is hurting me, where are you??”. I’ve come to realize that a lot this is just our perspective. When our eyes are fixated on our circumstances rather than the author and perfecter of our faith, our circumstances get blown so far out of proportion. We are not supposed to know exactly what is going on, our faith and trust grows in trials. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” We must keep our eyes fixed and trust the creator. We must trust the one who put us in these moments.
I was sitting at a stoplight the other day, thinking about how I just really did not want to be going where I was going and I was reminded that God knew that I would be sitting at that stoplight, at that time, going to that exact place, seeing the people that I was going to see, and doing exactly what I was doing before I was born. It was truly a Job moment where God said, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” (Job 38:47). I just love that so much, I need to be reminded of that every day. The circumstances surrounding me in this moment are not by accident and there is “a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). I think that it is important for us to stop and ask ourselves if we truly believe that everything that God does is for our good. Do we truly believe with every fiber or ourselves that God knows that He is doing?? I know that there are times when I wonder. When in my pride, I think that I know what is best. I find myself being so prideful wondering why God does not see the solutions to my circumstances like I do. But I can tell you one thing, I am so thankful that He does not solve the problems like I think He should. He has taught me more in these past few months of adversity, by letting me dwell in it. If everything was fixed by a snap of His fingers, I never would have grown or learned all that I have. I think that I am still most thankful for the fact that he is never done with us. He continues to grow and refine us in every season and every moment.
There have been moments lately where all I could do was throw my hands in the air. I was reminded of this verse, “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12). Obviously, there is not a great horde coming against me, but what a humbling place to be in. A place where all we can say is “I don’t know what to do, but nevertheless, my eyes are on you”. I think that this should be the posture of our heart always. We are in constant need of our Savior. It is funny how so often we think we can do this in our own strength. My prayer is that in every moment, regardless of whether I feel like I have it figured out, that my eyes would be on Him.
*me and my bestie/roomie who has had a front row seat and has still been supportive