Who is steering?

...take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. ~ James 3:4-5

Cancer reared it's ugly head at the dentist, of all places. I had an appointment with an endodontist about a tooth that has been bothering me. Turns out it was damaged irreparably by bacteria that were able to take over when my salivary glands dried up after my radioactive iodine treatment in November. I have quite a few teeth suffering the effects of cancer treatment, and received the very unwelcome news that implants or dentures are almost certainly in my future, at a relatively young age. My bone has also been damaged by the radiation and loss of calcium after my parathyroid glands were removed, so implants may not be an option for me at all.

Call me vain, but I'm not exactly a fan of dentures. In fact, dentures have been a phobia of mine since I was a small child. Now it looks as though that might be my reality. Not something I faced with aplomb on Thursday, let me tell you! It is difficult to face these incremental losses. Teeth are such a little thing, but so big! Without them, for instance, what would my smile look like? How will I chew well to avoid choking due to my persistent vocal cord paresis? Will I have to give up a host of foods I enjoy?

I am reminded that I have choices to make. I can be undone by a waterfall of little things: news about my teeth, pain in my jaw, children sick, husband gone, animals misbehaving, inability to drive out to get groceries, milk, or take my sick kid to the doctor. Or I can bring glory to God by enduring these little things - either by succeeding in surviving and thriving through these small difficulties, or by repenting and allowing myself to be changed when I fail in them.

These pictures may seem totally unrelated to my words, at first glance. Looking carefully, note the frustration on Amelia's face as she tries to push Caleb in the first photo. An inexperienced driver at the helm, the task is almost impossible. Yet, when Amelia takes the handles and steers, and Caleb puts his head down and does the unskilled labor - pushing the trike - everyone is all smiles. So is life, and difficulty, with God: put Him at the wheel, let Him make the decisions and steer the rudder, and yours cares will be few and your joy great. Pray only for strength, using your own three pound brain to guide your course, and you will find a hard row to hoe in front of you. It is the symbiosis of both supernatural strength and guidance that will best lighten the load of the little things that are threatening to undo me today.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. ~ Psalm 25:4-6, 8-10