No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him- the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- that he should live on forever and not see decay. But God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself. Psalm 49:7-9, 15 (NIV)
I am nursing a toothache from dental work. I had to go to the dentist this morning which shows how bad I hurt. I hate the dentist so it takes a lot to get me there. I suspect my fear has something to do with a childhood visit where I had thirteen cavities filled at one time. Or it could be because of the time when I had my wisdom teeth removed and my mom accidentally over medicated me. Whatever the reason, I would rather do anything, than go to the dentist. My children have no fear of the dentist because they have never had anything wrong with their teeth. Today, with fluoride in our water and fluoride in toothpaste, sealants placed on their teeth as tiny tots and twice a year visits for cleaning and more fluoride, neither child has yet to have a cavity. Even youngest son, whose dental hygiene was so poor that the orthodontist took off his braces early for fear that the wires were going to eat lines into his tooth enamel, does not have a single cavity. I, on the other hand, have a mouth full of fillings. The dentist took x-rays first thing, but could see nothing wrong. He showed me the films, and they looked fine to even my inexperienced eye. However, he suspected that a filling might be hiding something. So, he started tapping around and quickly identified the site of my pain, not just the tooth, but even down to the particular section where it came from. And sure enough, it was under a very old filling. Probably one of those that caused my childhood fears. So, he numbed me up with not one but two shots of Novocain because I wasn’t relaxed enough after the first shot, then, chipped away at the old filling. Once removed, he could see just barely a crack forming in my tooth. Most likely the result of involuntary jaw clenching that one of these days will lead to all my teeth dropping out of my head in one fell swoop. He told me I was lucky that it had not abscessed yet, so once again I dodged the root canal bullet. Then, he patched me up and filled the tooth again. He sent me on my way, with half my face numb, drool dribbling out of my mouth, and his warning echoing in my ear. Quit clenching your jaw, he says. I don’t know what else I can do. I wear the night guard faithfully when I sleep and even have taken to wearing it around the house sometimes. I’ll keep working on it because I do not want nor can I afford a root canal. I am grateful for my dentist though and his help in keeping decay from taking over my mouth. I am more grateful for Christ who came as a ransom dying in my place so that even though my body will continue to decay, my soul will live forever.