A Lamp Unto His Face. Chapter Two.

11 12 2009

I’m not a name-it, claim-it girl. To be honest, the thought of having that sort of power scares me. Who am I to tell God what to do? The way I see it, He’s been calling the shots since eternity past, and He really doesn’t need my advice on how to do His job.

But I do believe in asking. And I believe nothing is too difficult for Him. I’ve seen God work miracles. I’ve also seen Him glorified through the patient faith of people who trust and worship Him in the midst of their pain. God, our Redeemer, gives what is best, even when what is best isn’t what we think we want. The prayer offered in faith is always answered. But sometimes the good, acceptable, and perfect answer is, “No.”

If you read my November 13 post, A Lamp Unto His Face, then you know that Jacob’s right front tooth is fractured just below the gum line. Since I wrote that post, his dentist has sought the opinions of two specialists, and they all agree that the best course is to extract the tooth, implant a titanium root in his gum, let that heal for about three months, then add a crown. They also all agree there’s no hope for the nerve, the tooth is lost, and to not act now is to risk other problems down the road that might hinder a later attempt at the same procedure.

When you’re talking to medical professionals, and the x-ray showing the fracture is right there on the table, it’s never fun to feel like you come across as some uneducated, backwoods, religious yahoo who can’t understand the obvious. But here’s the deal. When God enters the picture, the obvious means squat. Yes, the tooth is broken. God can fix it. Will He? I have no idea. But I know He can. And even if a doctor has 150 certificates on his office wall, he can’t stop God from healing when He wants to. Lame from birth? Get up and go home. Four days in the tomb? Come forth. Under water ten minutes and pronounced vegetative? Wake up. Fractured tooth? Oh, wow. Sorry. That one’s over My head.

So we asked. If it would please You, Lord, heal this tooth and spare Jacob the discomfort, hassle, and future problems and headaches associated with this procedure. We asked, and then we moved forward as instructed. Until a couple of days ago.

I’d taken Jacob to the specialist who is scheduled to perform the extraction next Tuesday. He carefully explained everything to me, and I listened and understood. More than I wanted to. Later, after we were back home, I saw it all in my mind. But in my imagination, when they eased the tooth from its socket, it was whole. No fracture. Just a healthy tooth. And the amazed dentist had no choice but to set it aside and complete the surgery.

That’s when the conviction hit. We’d asked God to heal Jacob’s tooth, but we weren’t even going to find out if He’d done it before we went ahead with our plans. Where was my faith?

I talked to George and told him how I felt, and he agreed that we should ask for new x-rays before the appointment. Yesterday our dentist called to confirm all the plans, and that’s when I explained our position and made my request.

Now, before you go thinking I’m Miss Boldy McBoldface standing down the medical establishment with faith ablaze, you need to understand that our dentist is a friend, an elder at our church, and a man who has prayed for and shown as much compassion to Jacob as anyone else in this community. And he has gone way beyond the second mile in this current scenario–recruiting the best specialists and setting up the additional appointments. The only way God could have made my task easier would have been for the dentist to suggest it himself.

So I asked. Could we have another set of x-rays? Just to see if God has answered our prayers?

Yes, he said. We certainly could. And, no, he wasn’t just humoring me. God can heal a fractured tooth, he said. Absolutely. He instructed me to come to his office this afternoon for the x-ray, and his last words before he hung up were, “When I look at that x-ray, I hope I see a whole tooth.”

I e-mailed the immediate family and asked them to pray. God had until 2:00 this afternoon. The x-rays are now at the office awaiting the dentist’s return on Monday. What do I expect? I expect God to do what is best. I know He can heal. I also know that, sometimes, He redeems in other ways. Our need brings us into contact with people we otherwise would never meet. Our weakness allows Him to be strong and others to show compassion.

Our family’s story was recently featured in a local magazine, and a photo of George, Jacob, and me adorned the cover. That cover has been framed and is on display in the dentist’s office. When we left today, every hygienist or technician or staff member who saw him said, “Good-bye, Jacob!” He’s a rock star in this town.

We’ve seen brokenness unite community. When we come before the throne of grace, we make no demands. Only requests.

I have no idea what the x-ray will show. But I knew we had to get one. Faith required it. And now, whatever happens, we move forward with peace. If the fracture looks the same, then–barring an angel blocking our path and a talking donkey–we’ll go ahead with the procedure on Tuesday.

If the fracture is gone?

Well, now. Wouldn’t that be just like God?

To be continued . . .


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One response

9 01 2010
Brooke Comer

five beautiful words: “If it would please you, Lord…”
It seems few people understand the importance of them, thinking He’s a glorified vending machine, pumping out our orders for each nickel-prayer offered.
I love trusting Him with my steps, knowing that He knows best, above all.

I love to read your posts, here and on The Master’s Artist. Thanks for the inspiring words. 🙂

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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