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“And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17.10, NKJV)
Resurrection Sunday blesses the calendars of our lives uniquely this Sunday. It lifts up the life of our Lord as a model for so many transitions we face along the journey into which Christ has commissioned us. The passion of our Lord’s heart – poured out in His high priestly prayer of Gethsemane’s Garden – reveals how Jesus evaluated the preparations He made for the transition He would face.
In dental school, several of my instructors would mention their theory of why the suicide rate among dentists was so high, sometimes as a joke or some for serious reasons. One professor’s theory made the most sense to me: Work itself can become very redundant and most restorations eventually fail. You can feel like you’ve worked so hard to bring someone’s mouth into health and restore their smile, but if they don’t take care of their mouth, all of your hard work can fall apart. He also mentioned that if you’re in it for the money, that will fail you too. If all you’ve built your life on is your work and your things, then it’s going to be a big disappointment.
Let’s face it. Not everyone in the dental “industry” has a passion for oral healthcare. For some, dentistry is a moneymaking opportunity. Christian owners of businesses are sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes misunderstood and sometimes conflicted.
Not long ago, a patient walked in to my office and requested tooth whitening. After a brief exam, I found multiple abscessed teeth as well as loose restorative material that posed an aspiration risk. None of these findings seemed to concern him one bit.
Are class II composites getting old fast? Tired of searching for canals on that maxillary molar? Is dentistry becoming dull? This could be for several reasons, but one thing to consider is how much you are doing your daily work for the glory of God. Are you working for yourself, for others or for the Lord?
Christmas carols slip past the guardians of cultural sensitivities every now and then, bringing a smile to our souls in the midst of our troubled world. We remember so many times when God broke through history on the pages of His Word to make things new again. We long for a renewal in our lives and world. Sights, sounds, reflections and meditations on Christmas rekindle that hope, and we are reminded that a baby in a small-town stable marked a new beginning in which not just some but all things will one day be made new.
As professionals in dentistry, our joy of serving our friends and community becomes a process of repeatedly greeting and warming up old friendships and occasionally rekindling lost friendships. Good dentistry is about befriending our customers, perhaps more than any modern day remaining professions. We still have our role in every responsible community member’s life, providing competent cleaning and check ups every six months (annually for the edentulous).
All of us suffer, to some extent, through our lifetimes. Those of you who know me know I am a quadriplegic, which limits my ability to do things, and have almost constant neuropathic pain. I have personal experience with pain and suffering, and, being an orofacial pain specialist, I also deal with it on a professional level.
One of my fondest memories is singing Psalm 118:24 with my mom on the way to daycare: “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. We will rejoice, we will rejoice and be glad in it and be glad in it.”
Have you ever had that feeling when you walk into a room and stand there for a few seconds and you have not the slightest recollection as to why you walked into that room? But you know, by golly, you know it was something very important and you look around as a minute or two passes.
One of my favorite literary works beyond the Bible is a poem called “Footprints.” There is a great message about God and His help during our hour of need. More specifically, it is a dialogue between a man and God, and the two are on a beach reviewing the man’s life. In that conversation, the man questions God about His absence during his times of need. That was because the man only saw one set of footprints in the sand. However, God responded, and like a loving father speaking to His son with love and gentle correction, He informed the man that it was during those times that He carried him. God had a similar conversation with the people of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy when He reminded His people, through Moses, of the life that He saved them from.
I have personally lived my life pursing one goal after another. I doubt I am alone in this mindset. Maybe it is the goal of attaining high grades, getting into dental school, graduating dental school, getting married and having children by a certain age, buying a practice and becoming a practice owner, having certain possessions (car, boat, house etc.), being the dentist everyone likes, attaining a certain bonus and the list goes on. Once we have attained a goal, we are often looking and striving to attain a bigger goal.