Comfort, Confidence, and Great Teeth

“Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Earlier this week I went to the dentist for a bi-annual cleaning.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t dread it. Though I didn’t look forward to it necessarily, I was confident my pearly whites would shine when told to “open wide.”  I even had a thought or two of my face becoming the model patient for the dentist office.

If you know anything about my history – you will know this is a big deal. Like a REALLY big deal.

I haven’t always been this confident.

I haven’t always been that model patient. Born with, how shall I say it, “not the greatest teeth in the world,” inherited from one of my parents – I also didn’t take care of my teeth.

I would brush once a day when my parents made me and, well, flossing only happened the night before a bi-annual cleaning. Consider the fact that Kool-Aid, Dr. Pepper’s, and Little Debbie’s were a huge part of my diet – and, well, you get it.

THEN, once I got off my parents pay-roll, I stopped going to the dentist all together.

Yep. Ten years – 120 months – I didn’t darken the door of a dentist office. Add to THAT that during this time I didn’t continue with great teeth care, and – well – you have a recipe for a nasty mouth.

When I could bear the pain no more (a dead tooth had to be removed) and several horrific root canals later – I changed my ways.

Now, I brush AT LEAST twice a day. I floss EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. AND, wait for it, I use Listerine Total Care multiple times throughout a given day. And, thanks to Amazon’s Prime Day specials last year, I have one of those fancy electric toothbrushes.

It’s been a long time since I worried about getting a cavity or dreaded going to the dentist. I actually think my dentist and her assistants talk about what great care I use with my mouth when I am not around.

It was a great feeling waking up this week, confident that my teeth and gums were in good shape. I had this comfort because I had been doing what I was SUPPOSED to be doing. Like when you pass a police officer on the interstate, actually going the speed limit. There’s confidence that you’re going to be okay. You imagine the cop going back to the department sharing with other cops what a stellar driver he witnessed that day. . . and he’s talking about you.

David said that his Shepherd’s rod and staff comforted him. How is that? Because he knew the Shepherd, knew what the Shepherd wanted, and – because he trusted the Shepherd wanted what was best for him – did what He said. He was confident in the presence of the Shepherd because he knew the ways of the Shepherd and gladly obeyed.

He didn’t fear the presence of the Shepherd because he had neglected that relationship.

He didn’t dread the presence of the Shepherd because he hadn’t been doing things that hurt him.

He knew the Shepherd and gladly followed the ways of the Shepherd. He probably thought that the Shepherd talked to the other sheep about him!

What about YOU? What emotions emerge when you consider the presence of the Shepherd? What does your heart say to you when you contemplate His “rod and staff”?