Brushing teeth should be fairly simple . . . right? Well, in my life not so much. Sometimes the littlest things turn into a major power struggle. Brushing teeth is one of those things. For whatever reason, and she probably has several good ones, my daughter does not like to have her teeth brushed. Never the less, it is my job to take care of her even when she doesn’t want me to. Somehow or another, I have to get those pearly whites, well . . . white.
The other night she did not want any part of it. She turned her head away and closed her lips up tight. When I did finally get the toothbrush in her mouth she clamped down on it like an alligator unwilling to let go of its prey. I just wanted to brush her teeth, but she had other ideas . . . and so, the battle lines were drawn.
“Ok”, I said. “Do you want to do this the hard way or the easy way?” She said the easy way, but she clearly didn’t mean it (she always repeats whatever I say last). After several attempts, which ended up taking at least five times as long as it should have, I finally got the job done.
I will brush her teeth one way or the other. It can either be fast and easy or it can be a long, drawn out struggle. I am up for it either way because I know it is in her best interest. I tucked her in bed that night and thought about how much harder she makes things than she needs to. Brushing teeth is just one simple example, the list goes on and on from putting her shoes on to cleaning up her toys. I started to worry about her future. If she continues willfully resisting even the smallest things what will her life be like? My thoughts . . . much, much harder than it has to be.
Then I heard God whisper to my heart. “It is the same with you. Life is not as hard as you make it. There are lessons to be learned, changes to be made and obstacles to overcome. Do you want to do it the hard way or the easy way?”
Immediately, my mind went back to the Israelites who chose the hard way and wondered in the desert for 40 years. That is an incredibly long time. Where did they go wrong? Simply put . . . lack of faith.
Why is it so hard for us to believe that ALL THINGS, the good things and the incredibly difficult things work together for His glory and our good? Why do we still think that we know best and why do we stubbornly cling to the reigns? He who did not spare His own Son, but allowed Jesus to suffer in our place and take the punishment that we deserved, proclaimed by this very sacrifice that He is for us. What more could He possibly do to persuade us?
Yes, I will face trials in my life. Yes, there will be times that are hard and yes, He will accomplish His purposes and plans for my life. He is willing to patiently work with me, even when it takes longer than it should. So, when I face challenges in my day-to-day life, one question remains. Will I trust and cooperate in faith or will I have to learn the hard way?
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Heb 11:6 ESV