Fear unexpectedly gripped me one morning while I brushed my teeth. I felt tooth pain and panicked. Why?
I hate going to the dentist! For me, the dentist office exudes a distinct odor of chemicals, antiseptics and cements. A huge machine looms above just waiting to drill away at my teeth! Dentists charge exuberant prices!
“Nope!” “I’m not going.”
Nevertheless, I felt an ongoing, gentle nudging to make a dentist appointment. Over the years, I've grown familiar with my good Shepherd's staff, prodding me, serving to assist me! (Psalm 23:4) Paying attention to and obeying His past promptings has always proven beneficial. It’s best to follow His leading.
I clenched my phone and made an appointment. With two weeks to wait, fear and I had a wrestling match.
One morning, during my quiet time, my dental fears tried to pin me. I applied the same efforts that had given me victory over past fears. First, I read my bible and meditated on some of my favorite “do not fear” verses …. no relief. I remembered my spiritual authority and commanded fear “to leave!” No relief. Feeling helpless, I cried out to my Good Shepherd.
“Lord, You know how much I dread going to the dentist. It’s so expensive. And I could have a bunch of cavities. I’ve delayed going for almost four years! I’m embarrassed. What will they say??”
That’s when the master accuser butted in. “They’re going to tell you, you shouldn’t have waited so long!”
“Please take away my fears. I don’t want anything to do with them!” (A few heavy sighs and sobs punctuated my words.)
After I humbly spilled my heart to the One who listens and cares, He confided in me. (Psalm 25:14)
“I will sit with you in the dentist chair.”
Did I really hear that? I wondered. Of course, I did. I wouldn’t dream of such a response. I savored His words.
Then I received a mental picture of us sitting together... in the dentist chair! For several long minutes, I soaked in His loving-kindness. I felt safe and assured, regardless of the results. “The sheep listen to His voice” (John 10:3), so “they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
To be honest, fear tried to pin me again during the days leading up to my appointment. I resisted by holding fast to my Good Shepherd’s words and eventually, my big fear became impotent.
When D-day arrived, a friendly dental hygienist welcomed me. I felt at peace while X-rays were taken before my tooth exam and cleaning. Amazing peace! I wonder if the dental hygienist noticed a tear trickling down my cheek… a thankful tear.
The Good Shepherd takes pleasure in those who cry out for His mercy. The personal interchange of words with Him granted my freedom. And, it also caused the bonds of our friendship to grow closer and more real.
(By the way ... I had no cavities and an unexpected check was given to me to pay my dental bill!)