And yet I know that these words about testing are landing on some hearts that refuse to receive them this morning. We live in a society that values comfort above all else, but we do that to our great harm, in many cases.
Consider this guy (show pic). Know who he is? It’s William Perry. Still don’t know who he is? Ok, let me give you his nickname: It’s William (refrigerator) Perry Perry. Perry was a colorful defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears when they won the Super Bowl back in 1985. His nickname fit him well, because he was big and wide. Perry was also a friendly man with a wide grin.
Unfortunately for his grin, though he was a mammoth man playing in the tough world of the football trenches, he apparently was afraid of the dentist, just like most of us. He was so afraid that he didn't go to the dentist for 20 years! He didn't go to the dentist even though his teeth and gums hurt terribly, even though his teeth began falling out. Eventually he had lost half of his teeth—some he pulled out himself!—and his gums suffered chronic infection. He was suffering!
Finally, as he neared age 45, he went to a dentist. The dentist had to pull out all of his remaining teeth. He had to insert screws in Perry's jaw and implant new teeth—all of which would have cost Perry $60,000 except the dentist donated the procedure (apparently for the free publicity).
Now there's a story every mother will tell her son when she tells him he has to go to the dentist or brush his teeth. “You better brush your teeth or they’ll all fall out just like the ‘fridge.’”But this is also a story for all who avoid suffering at all costs. There are tests that we have to go through as believers. There are messengers of Satan who come to buffet us and we must learn the secret in the middle of testing, to pray for God to deliver us, not from pain, but from the designs of the evil one. It takes courage to face pain. But as William Perry said of his new teeth, "It's unbelievable. And I love them….I got tired of my mouth hurting all the time."