Posted by: Diane | August 16, 2011


The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it. Jean Nicolas Grau

Ouch. That hurts.

It always amazes me how resistant we are to hard times.  We will do most anything to avoid the trial, when in fact, the actual resistance of the trial is what takes so much out of us.  Maybe I should speak for myself.

My friend told me that she was heading to the dentist this afternoon – a perfect picture of resistance in a trial.

A visit to the dentist – unquestionably, one of my least favorite experiences in life. I will never understand anyone who claims that they enjoy going to the dentist. My teeth ache just thinking about it. If I didn’t have such a marvelous dentist and hygienist who are very aware of my dentist phobia  and go to great lengths to calm me in the chair, I would never step foot in a dentist office.  It’s the sound of the drills, the scraping of the teeth and that infamous twinge that resonates through my entire body when one of those sharp dental instruments pries too deeply or touch the end of a nerve… kind of like the feeling you would get if you chewed on aluminum foil.

You see?  Just the thought it goes straight up my spine.

Here’s my point.  When I go for a simple check up and I open my mouth, I automatically begin to resist.  My lips and jaw become so tight that everything the hygienist wants to do becomes a battle. My teeth become a defensive wall that the hygienist has to conquer. She has to constantly remind me to relax and has often said to me, “The more you resist, the more it will hurt.”  

I know that’s true but I still resist.  I don’t even realize how much I have tensed up until the hygienist pulls at my lips and I consciously let go of my resistance.  The actual check up really isn’t that bad and I LOVE the final result –  few things equal the feeling of clean teeth. It’s always worth the suffering but I resist so much that everything hurts more.

Every check up starts this way but as it progresses, my trust in the hygienist takes over and I begin to relax.

I have experienced many trials in my life and when I surrender and allow God to take me through the rough waters, I get my footing back on the other side and become a stronger person. That is truth.  Resisting prolongs and accentuates the pain.

Tell that to my lips and jaw.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing our faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4


  1. Wow! What an insight! I feel exactly the same about my dentist visit. My dental phobia are most likely 10 times worse than yours. I literally told my hygienist that she does not need to do such a perfect job – thus less “pain”. I will remember this in my next visit which I have been delaying to make the appointment.

  2. How true!! Going to send this to the dentist and hygienist in the family, Lisa and Eha-Lea! You paint perfect word pictures!!

  3. Thanks for that great illustration. It’ll be helpful the next time I am engulfed with resistance

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