COMMENTARY

Connecting God and teeth

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Working at a dental office, I see so many connections between God and teeth.  Bear with me…


Lidocaine and God’s Word have more in common than you might think.  Both prepare the way for important work to be done.

             
If you’ve ever had a filling, you most likely know how it all works.  There is a numbing process.  Without an injection, there will be intense pain that will leave a mark, not on your mouth but on your mind.  Long after the work is done, you will be regaling the tale of “the worst thing that ever happened to you”. 

             
At many dental offices, the hygienists, besides their other duties, are the ones who do the numbing.  They study and train to be effective and helpful to their patients in that crucial role.  Michelle is our hygienist (a.k.a. the One who Numbs) and she is a dandy.   


The kids may not want it, but they NEED her to anesthetize their mouths!  The dentist (Dr. Boyd) can’t get to work without it!  Michelle speaks with tender, caring words as she does her job, usually petting each child’s head in a comforting way.  She has a nurturing spirit and loves kids.  (Picture a Fairy Godmother!)  She puts her heart into her work, praying as she administers the all-important Lidocaine.  It’s not her nature to inflict pain but she knows it is necessary-and important-to prepare the way for Dr. Boyd to do the work.


While Michelle wants the experience to be completely pain free, sometimes it just hurts to get a pointy thing poked in your mouth, especially if a tooth is in bad shape.  At the least, it tastes bad and is uncomfortable.  Lidocaine is good medicine, even though it may sting.


The Bible is also good medicine, but it too may cause discomfort. 


At times, this medicine tastes sweet when I take it in:  “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love…” Zeph. 3:17.  I hold my Bible to my heart and look heavenward.  God’s Word is truly alive and so comforting.


But on occasion, the Bible stings, penetrating to the joints and the marrow, making me uncomfortable:  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others,” Philippians 2:3-4.  Though it is good for me, I don’t always like it.  The Bible causes me discomfort.  It requires action.


Cavities and sin have much in common.  Cavities don’t just go away.  Untreated, they will grow and reach the nerves.  It can lead to infection affecting the whole body.  Some symptoms that a cavity has reached the nerve: toothache, sensitivity, swelling/tenderness.


Unaddressed sin also affects the whole body.  Some signs are ungodly speech, discontent, sensitivity, bitterness.  David described it in Psalm 32:3-4: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away…my strength was drained.”


There are daily habits that can prevent cavities:  brushing and flossing.  Everyone knows it in their head.  But people get busy, pulled in many directions.  Suddenly, usually in the night, there is an indescribable ache that signals a problem.


There are also daily habits that can keep sin away:  praying and reading God’s Word.  Everyone knows it in their head.  But people get busy, pulled in many directions…Suddenly, there is pain that signals a problem.  But there is hope!  God is on call 24/7!  No appointment necessary!


No matter what our past patterns have been, we can choose TODAY to have better routines that are good for our spiritual and dental health! 



Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at preacherswife7@yahoo.com   

             

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