Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Picture 1: Without Sealant
Picture 2: With Sealant
My family has been blessed with a top-notch, compassionate pediatric dentist. One evening, for instance, he left his gym workout to extricate my daughter’s tongue from her braces. Our hero! Like the Good Book says somewhere, “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, or better yet a good dentist, which is way more valuable than a whole truckload of gold teeth” (Linda’s Good Book of Proverbial Gems 22:13).
Because our awesome dentist fills molar crevices with a miraculous milky white sealant, my kids have suffered few cavities. The procedure is so fast and painless it’s almost too good to be true: once the hygienist applies the goo, she aims a light at the sealant which hardens it. Imagine that—something as painless as a light helps create a barrier against bacteria that want to destroy my kids’ teeth. What a far cry from the shots, drills and hideous gunmetal gray I suffered as a kid.
As I watched my daughter’s procedure I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if parents could protect their kids from bad things in life by sealing their hearts, minds, and even bodies the same way these molars are being sealed? What if we could plunge our kids into a magic concoction, then bathe them in the warm light of the Holy Spirit and instantly make them invulnerable to toxic people or temptations that float around like bacteria looking for a place to infect. Imagine our kids deflecting insults, materialism, pride and lust like bullets off Superman’s chest!
It’s natural to want to protect our kids from bee stings and drunk drivers, but even if we keep our kids within sight and arm’s reach, we’re not in control. Just this week two circumstances illustrated how the notion of protecetion by proximity is an illusion.The first was my friends’ son returning from a trip to an Asian country. When he started his long journey, his parents reluctantly released him but trusted the outcome of his trip to God’s perfect will. The second was a son badly burned while simply clearing brush in his own back yard. Ironically, the child in the precarious situation came home unscathed, and the child at home was seriously injured.
We can teach our children how to battle temptation and use common sense in dangerous situations, similar to the way we teach them to brush and floss regularly to avoid decay. But we can’t seal our kids. And anyway, deep down inside us, we want our children to live full lives, which precludes encapsulating them in sterile bubbles, although every time they walk out the door with friends on a Friday night, we might momentarily wish we could.
The key is trusting outcomes to God, trusting that what appears to be random is not, trusting that God does redeem bad situations and make crooked things straight, and trusting that He loves our kids more than we do. All of that trusting is not easy, but it’s not impossible. We have to train ourselves to trust and to believe that when we get into predicaments like taste buds hooked in metal, He can set us free.
OK, what (whose) image do you see in this dental xray?