Let's just back up here a minute.. The day was Monday, June 22nd - also the 5th day of my stint with Hydrocodone - and the pain was making its presence known through intermittent pulses in my mouth due to the placement of 2 temporary crowns (and an unruly dentist..).
My coworkers are really the best. REALLY. A fairly large group of us have a prayer 'chain', if you will, going on. I had never emailed a request of my own. My thinking: in order to come to such a large group (with a good portion of the group being people that I have never met), I better have a pretty 'significant' issue.
Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
..so that was flawed thinking. Oops.
I then sent out an email noting my terrible pain over the past week and asked for their prayers - that the Lord would use the same power that he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.. on my mouth.
Yes, I felt a little bold asking this, but isn't this what we're called to be?
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And what types of responses did I get? People THANKING me for giving them the opportunity to pray for me. What is this?!?!!?!?!?
This, my friends, is Christ Jesus' work on the world. It's holy, and it's pure. It's sincere and for our good.
While the pain from my dental issues has not quite ceased completely & I may or may not have also had a root canal since my 2 temporary crown placements, the pain has been much more bearable. What has lifted my spirits the most is the encouraging prayers + love from others.
What I am continuing to learn is that weakness is a prerequisite to becoming a follower of Jesus. We need other people looking out for us. We need prayers. We need encouragement when life gets us down and the dental bills come a rollin' in [and every other day]. It's plain & simple: we need true community in the form of vulnerability coupled with the forcing of truth.. because quite frankly, truth is sometimes hard to hear.
Repeat after me: I am not sufficient on my own.
You might have to say it a couple of times before you actually start to believe it. At first, it won't feel good. It will feel somewhat similar to that feeling you experienced as a young 4-year old when your mom forced you to say you were sorry to your sibling, when truth is- you really weren't sorry. But then, after a couple more times you will feel relieved when you come to the beautiful realization that you don't have to carry your burdens alone! In fact, God prefers that you don't do this because he knows wholeheartedly that this is unhealthy.. simply because, he made us this way.
It is my selfish belief to think that I can do everything on my own. Whether our motivation is our distrust of others, our fear of vulnerability, our control-freak tendencies, or all of the above.. we act as though we have the largest stake in our life and our idea of good is the only one that matters.
This is not so.
Let's share those burdens so they don't take hold over us.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [insufficiency]." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses.. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
--2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Ready, set, GO!