I hate dentist’s appointments. The dentist sticks things down my throat, causes me pain, and sometimes even makes me leave with less teeth than I had when I came in. But I have learned to appreciate one of the tools he uses as he examines my mouth. It has a mirror on one end and a gloved hand at the other end. The mirror helps him see what’s stuck inside my teeth, and the gloved hand becomes a fist which keeps me from swallowing the mirror.

Of course I’m kidding, but as much as I hate having dentist’s appointments, I know it would be a whole lot worse if the dentist didn’t have that mirror. It might not make sense to figure out how a mirror helps a dentist. It can’t drill or clean. It can’t solve any problems with my teeth. But its value lies in its ability to show the dentist what needs fixing.

The Old Testament law worked the same way. It was frustrating because people always came just short of completely following it. The trouble with the law was that it couldn’t solve man’s sin problem. Only Jesus, the Dentist, could do that. So God used the law as a mirror to reveal man’s sinfulness and lead him to the Savior to fix his problem. The only thing men had to do was admit to the fact that there were things in their lives that needed fixing.

I’m going to say something that may surprise you: sometimes those things which cause us the most discomfort may be the best for us. Your difficult job situation, the conflict you are having with your teenage son or daughter, or your struggling marriage may be the mirror God is using to point out something which needs fixing in your life. But don’t worry — your Dentist can fix the problem for you. Confess your need and put it in His hands today.

Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change. And when we are right, make us easy to live with. — Peter Marshall

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder