The Holy Spirit, Numbness, and the Hole in My Lip


Whew, I survived today. There are still seven hours to go, few of them daylight, but the hard part of today is over.

Doesn’t everyone dread the dentist? It’s a shame. A dentist really never stands a chance, because no matter how good they are, the smell of a dental clinic is enough to turn the strongest stomach and the sound of a drill is enough to melt the sturdiest knees. Such was my lot today. I tried to conjure up some legitimate reason to cancel my appointment, but as I had already rescheduled it once, I figured I should just get it over with.

I was lucky, the lady dentist that I saw last time is on maternity leave. So I got to see Dr. B….. I can’t begin to pronounce his last name. The poor guy was spinning like the Tasmanian Devil trying to see all the patients and keep up with his three assistants. He was about 30 minutes late getting to me and I had nearly decided that was enough of a reason to skip the appointment.

But I didn’t.

I lived through it. Dr. B numbed my left jaw as locally as possible so I can still speak pretty well. My smile looks terribly lopsided and I’ve already drooled coffee and water down my chin. The tingles are now returning, so I’m on the mend.  However, along with the tingles, I just realized that I apparently viciously bit my lip while I was numb.

Now my lip is still swollen – because of the chomp and not the medicine. This pain is going to last a while longer too.

I’ve described living in ignorance of the Holy Spirit as feeling numb. When a Christian has experienced walking daily with the Holy Spirit, speaking to him and being spoken to, His sudden distance is more than lonely. It feels like I’ve lost touch with myself. Without the Holy Spirit informing my every thought and enabling my prayers, all my senses seem dull. My head feels stuffed with cotton. I can’t concentrate, and I flit from one vain pursuit to the other – completely ineffective.

In those numb moments it’s easy to sin. Just as it was easy to bite a near hole in my lip and not even notice it right away – when we are estranged from the Holy Spirit, it’s easy to slip inattentively into sin. We don’t even know it right away.

But the pain will come. Sin always has consequences. The Holy Spirit won’t leave us to ourselves. He will bring conviction, the distinct return of feeling, awareness and conscience. Suddenly, the pain is real – the reality of our offense and the repercussions of pride, unbelief, judgement, adultery, greed, lust or other sin.

This pain won’t last forever. As it heals, a Christian whose heart is fully devoted to God will repent and return to the Lord. His pain will be a poignant reminder of his sin and God’s overwhelming mercy. 2 Cor. 7:10

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