Along with being a pastor's wife and a newspaper columnist, it is my great privilege to be a dental assistant at a pediatric practice. I didn’t find out what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was 44. (Late bloomer.)
Many people despise going to the dentist. They hate it like, well, a toothache. In spite of that, helping kids and teenagers have cavities filled or teeth wiggled out (a.k.a. pulled) is my favorite thing ever.
We pray before we begin and as we go. (That whole “pray without ceasing” verse (1Thessalonians 5:17) surely pertains to pediatric dentistry.) During the course of the day, we see so much of God working, of His blessings.
A few days ago, a precious six-year-old touched my heart deeply…
The child had several cavities that needed to be taken care of. To enable us to get the work done, he took some medicine to help him relax. At just the right time, he was feeling wonderfully chilled. We rolled him back in a red wagon and then he hopped up on the chair for us to begin. He started smelling laughing gas as I applied topical gel to his gums for them to start getting numb. (I call it magic jelly,)
He was amazing. He did everything we asked. Though he was drowsy, we talked about what he had been for Halloween, about his baby sister who looks just like him, and other stuff. I moved to the other side of his chair so the hygienist could get to work. She would be the one numbing his mouth with Lidocaine. This is the most important part of the whole shebang. His mouth needed to be “sleepy”, as we call it, so our doctor could work and our little patient would not have pain during the process.
The numbing part of dentistry is what everyone dreads. It’s what they hate, picture in their minds over and over, and even Google. It’s the hard part of having a cavity filled or teeth wiggled out. This is where our super-duper hygienist does her best work. With gentle hands, soothing words, and a tender heart, she does the numbing. Because she is so fabulous at her work, most kids don’t even realize what she’s doing.
I had just moved to his other side. In his slightly medicated state, our tiny patient looked at me with his beautiful brown eyes. “I’m not scared,” he assured me in the sweetest voice. “I know you. I know you will take good care of me.” It melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes. “Oh, we will take good care of you!” I gushed. The hygienist cried. The other assistants in the room also got misty eyed. I told him I could be like his nanny at the dentist office and he said OK.
After the tender moment, we realized that’s exactly how we can feel about God. We don’t have to be scared. We can always trust Him because we know Him. We know He will take care of us-through dental visits, health issues, financial woes, job changes, and everything else.
As the Christmas holiday approaches, don’t forget that if you are His child, He is always at work helping you, caring for you. Isaiah 41:13 is a great reminder, “For I am the LORD your God Who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” If you are NOT His child, He longs to have a relationship with you. Christmas is a great time to accept the gift of His Son: best present EVER.
Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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