Toothless Wonder

Have you ever had a complete failure as a dad?  I mean a complete derailing as the spiritual leader of your home?

In the past few years, I have traversed the various paths of under-employment, unemployment, and almost-employed-but-just-not-quite-right employment.  And much like life is prone to do, she has disregarded my ability or inability to pay.    She’s continued to provide drama in places I hoped would be peaceful.  And she has unapologetically continued to supply bills – both expected and unexpected.

So over this weekend, as we received notice for $180 in testing fees, a $300 broken camera lens for our yearbook photography editor, and a $200 request for a band deposit…we spent some time just regrouping last night, tuning out the demands and unplugging with some fairy tales on the small screen.  And that’s when it happened.  A temporary crown fell out of my tooth…the tooth that has been slowly rotting from my head over the past two years.  But we make sacrifices.  And that’s a sacrifice I chose to make – and I have said from the beginning if losing a tooth is the worst sacrifice I have to make to follow Jesus into this crazy calling – then I’m honored.

So where’s the failure?

My youngest son asked me last night as I sat on the couch navigating the hole in my head with my tongue and rolling the filling around in between my fingers, “Dad, why does it seem like all the worst things happen when we have no money?”

Oh man!  What a perfect opportunity to talk about a long obedience in the same direction!!  The door was perfectly open for me to talk about God’s provision not always coming in a visible, tangible way.  I could pontificate about obedience being its own pay-off.  I could begin to pull in scriptures that promise God’s heart and passion for us, despite life circumstances.  Just like the crater in my tooth, it was all there on the tip of my tongue…ready to come tumbling out.

But instead I said, with all the sarcasm I could muster, “Because, honey, this is how God rewards his faithful ones – with more trouble.  The pay-off for sacrifice is just more sacrifice – it’s that simple.”

It was out there – loud and proud and unable to be retracted.  And although it was the honesty of my heart in that moment, I instantly regretted it.  I was reacting from a place of emotion, not a place of knowledge.  Sometimes (if by sometimes, we mean always) our feelings belie the truth of Jesus.  He is shamelessly FOR us – regardless of what earthly circumstances would tell us.

How do I know this?  Because this morning when I tried to ‘undo the damage’ of my trite and nefarious words….my son’s response was ‘Dad, I didn’t even hear you.  What are you talking about?”

Daddy is always protecting us…taking the bite out of our weakest, toothless moments.

Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

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