Monday, March 2, 2015

Lurking Beneath the Surface....

The other day was a day like any other....errands to run, household tasks to do and a dental appointment.  Nothing too sinister sounding.  It was the dental appointment that began the topic for this week's blog.  Have you observed that when we look back on pivotal moments in our lives, isn't it interesting that often those "aha!" revelations spring from the ordinary?

That day my dentist friend, Dr. "Scott", did an exam and called attention to an old crown that he believed was overdue to be replaced.  Although I love to put those things off, I trusted Dr. "Scott" to guide me in those decisions.  So, I made a future appointment to get that crown replaced along with another filling.  I don't particularly like going through that process....not because of pain (very little of that)....it's about the whole swallowing thing with the enormous amount of "moisture" (translated: saliva) that accumulates in my mouth.  I know...TMI!  Just sayin...

In a subsequent appointment, the old crown came off and...ta da!...underneath was a gray, dead tooth.  My dentist was amazed I had not had infection or complications in all the years that crown was in my mouth.  Then he said the dreaded 2 words: root canal.  We briefly discussed the whole idea; I was really hoping somehow I could find an out!  However, it was agreed that I would go to a local '"root canal expert".

That appointment was made and very early on a Wednesday morning, with a fair amount of anxiety, I found myself in Dr. "Kris'" office.  ( Dr. "Kris" is a very capable, very bright young man and I have known him for about 10 years.  That helped.)  He explained the process to me and I explained my issues...you know, the ones I described earlier; the swallowing of that small lake that builds up in my mouth at the mere mention of "dentist".

Dr. "Kris" reassured me that I would be able to swallow, and then he started putting all those things in my mouth!  When I was told they would be there for 1 1/2 hours I panicked!  Seriously, I am normally not a "panicker" but must admit, I had a moment!  In his most quietly stern voice, Dr. "Kris" made it clear he needed to get into my mouth and the only other option would be to put me "under".  Well, that did it!  I took a deep breath, told him to go ahead and opened wide.

I felt my heart beat really fast and hard, wondering if anyone ever had a heart attack in his dental chair.  My muscles began shaking after he numbed my mouth and he suggested some of the epinephrine may be the cause...but I knew better.  I knew I was just having an attack of fear!  Well, that hour and a half (actually longer because he had to build up my tooth after the root canal was done) crawled by.  I prayed, remembering that the Bible says fear is a lack of trust in God.  Yikes..more to confess!  Then I realized I had a blog in the making and started writing (this one) in my mind.  Or, I imagined myself in other places.  It was imperative that I distract myself.

I had to stay away from all of the "what ifs"!  What if I get nauseous and want to barf?  What if my occasional acid reflux issue picks this moment to show itself?  In the meantime, the dentist and his assistant just carried on a conversation like it was a normal day.  (The discussion, from what I could actually hear above the sound of the drill and other instruments of torture, was primarily about the procedure going on in my mouth.)

Well, obviously I survived!  I lived to tell about it.  It truly wasn't painful, except for the slight pinch of the needle in the numbing process.  I was my own worst enemy! When it was all over Dr. "Kris" informed me that he ran into some "challenges"; one of my roots went way down and he did not want to go to the end of it for fear of causing other problems - but he was pretty confident it would be fine.  I looked at those x-rays and am really amazed at the depth of those roots.  One of mine had calcified and the word "bacteria" ominously became a part of our conversation.

Isn't that what sin is like?  I don't know about you but I can look back at times in my life when everything seemed fine.  I was doing all the normal stuff of life; nothing traumatic going on.  And one day, something was a bit off.  Just like that old crown in my mouth that was hiding a dead tooth, my outward life and "good works" had covered up deadness in my soul....often brought on by sin I had been ignoring.

Sin sometimes begins in small ways, then grows roots that reach into the many crevices of our lives.  And those roots, when they are not healthy, will bring deadness to our spirits, just like my unhealthy roots caused my tooth to die.

I believe getting a dental root canal done is a LOT easer than dealing with a "sin centered root canal"!  But it must be done!  Dealing with sin is essential to staying spiritually healthy.  Like my tooth roots that had calcified or filled up with bacteria, my spiritual roots, when overrun by sin, will fill up with the ugliness of life and make me ineffective for the Lord.

Praise God that He puts people in our lives to help us with our spiritual root canals...other Christians who bring the Truth of God's Word into our hearts. As thankful as I am for the work Dr. "Kris" did, I am that much more grateful for those brothers and sisters in Christ who walk alongside me, who encourage me to stay with the process of repentance so I might experience renewal! Being free from the chains of sin brings the kind of joy akin to the (it's all done!) "happy dance" I wanted to do walking out of that dental office!!

Jesus, of course, is the One Who offers the best healing of all.  "Dr. Jesus", when invited, comes into our hearts and performs a spiritual root canal!  Won't you make an appointment with Jesus today and give Him access to your heart? When you do, I know that you will do the "happy dance" for the rest of your life!

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