Saturday, October 29, 2011

Re-root canal

"…do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering…” -1 Peter 4:12

Sometimes life can be… a pain. But dealing with pain is just a reality of life. We all go through physical and emotional difficulties at multiple points on multiple days. But we do everything possible to reduce pain in our lives. We’re led to believe that if our retirement plan has enough money in it or if we take the right medications or if we have the right credit cards, we’ll be pain free. But God has designed us to deal with pain in a way that escorts us to His grace. Training our kids in pain management will help equip them to handle trials the rest of their lives.

A few years ago, I began to have some pain underneath a tooth in the back of my mouth. I went to the dentist (a friend of mine) and had the dreaded root canal. I’d had an infection under one of my molars and he had to clean out the infection and put a crown on top of it all. The pain was huge but it went away soon after the surgery. I remember being so relieved after the procedure.

We will have difficulty in life. We need to remember to teach our kids and grandkids that life is awesome but sometimes a check up will reveal some cavities. As much as we brush our teeth, sometimes our checkups won't be fun. Scripture tells us, in the book of James, “to consider it all joy when we have cavities” [encounter various trials]. Not “if,” but “when.” We are going to have toothaches. How we respond to the pain is what matters.

Three weeks ago, I had pain under the crown where I’d had that root canal years ago. I took a few ibuprofen, but the pain grew worse and worse. I finally went to the dentist and he prescribed an antibiotic. But the pain didn't go away. Again, I went to the dentist and he prescribed a different antibiotic. It did the trick….for a while.

The point is, I went to the dentist. I had a problem with my tooth and I went to the expert to fix it. I was prepared to camp out at the dentist’s office until they could squeeze me in. Why? Because it hurt and I knew I needed what only he could provide. Remind those you love that when the pain hits, run to the one who can help. Our loving God understands the pain. He doesn't promise to take the pain away, but He does promise to be with us through it all. An easy life minus God is much less than difficulty plus God. Why? Because when we’re hanging out with God, we have true peace in our lives.

Eventually the antibiotic wore off and the infection returned. As the dentist had explained, “we will have to get to the root of the problem.” So, I went back in, he removed the crown, and re-did the root canal. Yuck. Though the original root canal worked, bacteria had crept back in. So the dentist (still my friend) went back in and cleaned it all out again. The tooth is fine now. I asked him, “how could this happen again?” He answered,” Sometimes it just happens. We’re not sure exactly why.”

For all the control freaks out there (which is most of us), I have a major announcement: “Most of the time, we won't know why trials happen.” We need to remember and teach that it’s not about figuring out “why” but about remembering where to go. When difficulties come (and they will), run (don't walk) to Jesus Christ. “Pray without ceasing” and give it over.

Keep brushing your teeth, but run to the dentist when your teeth need help!

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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