Smiling at the Future—with or without the Cavities
by Rhonda Rhea
I hear if you put a Whitman’s Sampler under your pillow, the cavity fairy will bring you…a $200 invoice from your dentist. If you try it, you should know that while the midnight snacking is awesome, there most likely will be some time in the chair in your future. On the other hand, you’ll probably be smiling all the way to the dentist.
Personally, I’ve been trying to come up with new ways to fight tooth decay while also utilizing my time more efficiently. Like this morning I’m putting toothpaste in my breakfast cereal. Gotta love a hearty bowl of dental hygiene in the morning. Four out of five dentists still think it’s a little weird.
There’s nothing wrong with utilizing our time well. But life is not really all about utilizing our time. It’s more about surrendering it. And not just a “sampling.” We’re using time well when we’re loving Him with all of it. And when we’re remembering His love for us. Even when life is cavity-filled or riddled with every other kind of difficulty, it’s good to remember that His love is ever sure and steady.
There’s great strength in a keen awareness of His great love. There’s great strength in loving Him with abandon. Difficulties can cause us to feel weak and fragile. They can make the future look dark and scary. But understanding His love for us and operating in loving surrender to Him gives us a different outlook on the future. We can smile. Whether or not those dentists agree.
The virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31 is a great example: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future” (verse 25, NASB). This woman is strong—she “wears” that strength—and smiles at what’s ahead.
Resting in the love of God, relying on Him, strengthens us to the point we don’t have to fear difficulties. “Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid” (Psalm 112:1, 7-8, ESV).
Ah, there’s that key to a great smile. It’s not in what we do or don’t eat. It’s not in when or how we brush. A heart that’s firmly, steadily trusting in the Lord is one that can smile at the future, even in the face of problems. Those troubles don’t have to fill our lives with fear. Everything truly vital for life is perfectly secure. “The LORD protects you; the LORD is a shelter right by your side” (Psalm 121:5, HCSB).
I’d much rather spend my time relying on and resting in the Lord, not fearing and fretting over any old difficulties. It’s true, I can always find a smile there. I can lie down at night, I can sleep peacefully. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust” (Psalm 4:8, AMP).
Sleeping with a smile. Never mind any lumps under the pillow. Though you’ll want to keep in mind that sleeping with chocolate under your pillow at night can lead to cavities in the day. And for the record, also ants.