Going to the dentist is a wonderful milestone in children's lives. When I was a kid, I'd look forward to picking out a reward from the treasure chest and being praised for holding my mouth wide open for so long. As an adult, I expected my children would have just as much fun and of course, never get a cavity. We brought my son to the dentist when he was two, and I had high hopes and expectations. We knew he had a chip on his front tooth, but we brushed his teeth regularly and didn’t let him eat junk, so we thought everything would be fine. When the dentist told us surgery was the only way to treat the extensive decay in his mouth, I was crushed and shocked.
No parent wants to see their child suffer and go through surgery, especially feeling like it’s their fault and this all could have been prevented. We thanked the dentist (my husband declared that God would heal his teeth) and we decided to get another professional opinion before looking at surgery. That day when we got home, I started looking at every possible resource. I came across nutritional advice that I decided to implement. We added fermented cod liver oil, but trying to remove all grain from my two-year-old’s picky diet and it didn’t work. I felt helpless in this battle, but I continued to pray. Brushing his teeth seemed to become painful and turned into a heartbreaking battle twice a day.
After one of these battles, I went into my bedroom frustratingly said, “God are you going to do something!?” The Holy Spirit convicted me right in that moment and said, “You’ve already lost because you’ve let your circumstances dictate how you see God.”
God is a healer, whether I see it at that moment or not. I had let the external circumstances and lack of immediate results move me from my solid identity in Jesus to a place of hopelessness.
I found this verse and wrote it down on a piece of paper and hung it in my bedroom:
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
That last part was hard for me to digest at first… “Hope does not disappoint…” I had been so afraid that we’d go into the next dentist's office and I’d be feeling confident of his healing, only to be crushed once again by more bad news. But right here, God was telling me that hope doesn’t disappoint. Our whole lives, we’re told “don’t get your hopes up…” But that’s exactly the opposite of what the Gospel tells us.
The night before his dentist appointment, I decided that I would be walking out of the dentist office in victory, whether it was the one I’d been praying for, or it involved praying for people at the office and breaking sickness off of them.
My son got settled in the dentist's chair and opened wide.The dentist examined his teeth and told us that he didn’t see anything wrong, besides a chip in his front tooth.
Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit… and love never fails, it always triumphs.
Be encouraged- and stand strong!
Is a wife, mother of four, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps.