2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (NIV)
At supper I noticed that one of my molar teeth was getting sensitive. That night I cleaned my teeth with great diligence, using a special toothpaste to take away the sensitivity. But it didn't do much good. By the following week I was losing sleep from the pain and finding it difficult to concentrate at work. So I called my dentist, and he kindly invited me to come immediately.
At the dental office, reclining in the patient's traditional rubber chair, I realized that I was afraid. My hands were cold. My forehead was damp. I held up my hands before me and saw them shaking. It reminded me of an old joke about a dentist and a minister who died on the same day, and met at the pearly gates. The dentist was ushered straight into heaven, but the minister was rejected. When the minister asked why, Peter told him that the dentist caused more people to pray in one week than he had in his whole career. A hint of a smile appeared on my lips, then disappeared. Fear is no joke when you are in it. So I started up a conversation with God….
I said: "Lord, before I came to believe in you I was never this afraid of the dentist".
It seemed that His reply shot back: "Yes you were, you just hid it from yourself by pretending not to care".
"Oh", I said, somewhat chastened. "But I thought it would get easier, Lord; instead it is more difficult now".
Again His reply was immediate: "Yes, difficult. But I am with you."
And with those words, I was comforted. Tears of gratitude prickled my eyes. And even though my hands still shook, I knew it would be all right, because I knew He was there with me.
Prayer: Help us turn to you, the Father of compassion, whenever we are fearful, so that we might receive the comfort you so freely give. Help us also to pass on that gift, showing understanding and support for those who are afraid. Amen.