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How God is like the dentist

How God is like the dentist

I was that kid who always hated going to the dentist.

I had (read: "have") horrible teeth. I brush, and I floss yet still have a mouthful of fillings. Perfectly straight teeth, yet perfectly rotten. Fortunately, I come from a country with good health care that allowed me to visit the dentist twice a year to clean/check/repair my teeth. Though I hated it, it was a blessing.

Meet Lourie.

Lourie was a dentist in England for many years, but now, he and his wife are missionaries with OM in the western province of Zambia. They are involved with various ministries, but my favourite is the two mornings a week that Lourie packs the truck and heads out to set up his dentist chair in rural communities.

Thursday mornings, his office is outside of the local clinic. Friday mornings, it's beside a tree in the middle of a village. Both mornings, there will be patients waiting to see him, some who have walked many kilometres to get there.

Each patient sits in the chair, points out the offending tooth, receives a shot of freezing, waits a few minutes, has the tooth pulled and handed to them, and walks away. The only telling sign something has happened is the slightly puffed cheek from the wad of tissue pressed in the space where the tooth was just a few minutes ago.

In two mornings, I watched eight people get teeth pulled. Eight people and not one tear. Not one sound. Not one flinch. How did they do it?

I realised the secret later: The patients were leaving with the knowledge that the pain they may be experiencing from the tooth extraction is far less than living with the pain of the decaying tooth.

Worry is like that rotten tooth, isn't it? It sits there and festers. Flaming up in pain at the most unconventional times, it dictates what you can and cannot do. Sometimes, it's unobservable from the outside, while other times, it's the first thing people notice. If untreated, it will compromise the health of its surroundings.

Worry is like that rotten tooth.

But how great is it that we as Christians have a Dentist who is never too busy to see us?

Middle of the work day? He's available.

Dead of night? Come right in!

He always has an open calendar.

You don't even have to point out that troublesome tooth. He already knows which one it is. He's just waiting for you to open your mouth and let Him get to work. "Please remove it," and out it comes. It might hurt a bit, maybe make your eyes water, but it's worth it.

Sometimes, the tooth has decayed to the point where it comes out in pieces. It takes longer to remove. It's more painful. But the Dentist is good; He'll get everything out.

He won't leave you with the worry. He takes it and gets rid of it. He sends you on your way with a piece of advice: brush and floss your teeth daily to prevent decay. Pray and read your Bible every day to prevent worry.

If you have a rotten tooth, call the Dentist to remove it. Surrender yourself into His skilled hands and know that the pain experienced from a tooth extraction is far less painful than living with that pain of the decaying tooth.

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