In the Midst of Uncertainty
March 30, 2020
by Krystal Mattox, DDS
It happened so quickly, it seems. One moment it was business as usual: reviewing lab cases, getting ready for boards, opening our practice doors for patients to arrive, joking with staff and colleagues throughout the day and planning to attend the next mission trip, church service, conference, wedding or other event. It feels as if we all became affected at the same time. In an instant those jokes were replaced by concern as dental boards were put on hold, our office closed to routine dental care, we became unemployed or we put some of our staff on unemployment to keep the practice afloat in the midst of uncertainty. Our plans got cancelled one by one, our normal way of life crumbled. It’s now challenging to find one broadcast, social media post, YouTube video, email or conversation that does not mention “virus,” “pandemic” or “COVID-19”.
We are now constantly being inundated with opinions from our families, neighbors, colleagues, ministers and government, as well as “experts” on this crisis and the proposed trajectory. We wonder—am I going to meet the requirements to graduate dental school or will my dean change the requirements? When will they reschedule boards and how will that affect the residency/job I have lined up? Will my office be able to survive this crisis? When will we re-open? How long will I be unemployed or on a reduced schedule? How am I going to handle these upcoming bills? Are my patients going to be alright; will they return? These and many others are questions both Christians and non-Christians are asking and are concerned about, and it is truly concerning! However, this is a good time to check the pulse of your FAITH. My pastor always mentioned, “You don’t know what is in a sponge until it gets squeezed.” What fruits (Galatians 5:22-23) are you displaying as this crisis unfolds, challenges and squeezes you? Is your legitimate concern turning into illegitimate worry? Instead of you controlling your response to this pandemic, is the crisis dictating your thoughts, your sleep and your well-being?
This is indeed a time for an increase in caution considering our profession puts us at high risk, as every procedure in dentistry produces aerosols. There are more questions than answers, and we can be assured the profession of dentistry is impacted and will change and adapt as a result of this pandemic. There is so much unknown, so yes, this is a time of concern. Nevertheless, we as Christians are in a unique position compared to our non-Christian colleagues for several reasons that boil down to one simple truth: we acknowledge with humility the sovereignty of our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. We need not be surprised of our current plight because Jesus mentioned that there will be “…famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7-8, NKJV). That means that despite how severe this is and the impact it is having, there is still more to come in the future after this passes. As believers we need to grapple and consider “the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22, NKJV). I am not going to say this pandemic is from the devil, from God or both, but what I can say is nothing happens in our world without God being aware. He is amazingly wonderful, which gives us hope, but He is also holy and hates the sin in our personal lives and in our nation. So how can we respond spiritually to what is transpiring currently?
- Recognize that no scientist, medical personnel or government holds the key to restoring our lives in dentistry and beyond.
- View times of isolation and minimal work/church/life activities as a Sabbath rest for us and our families to reset priorities and do a check-up of our walk with the Lord, asking, “What are things in my life, finances, relationships, etc. that may need to be altered/surrendered to Him?”
- Perform good works like sacrificial sharing of resources.
- Be the light of Christ to colleagues, family, friends, neighbors and strangers who have minimal or no faith and are overwhelmed with worry and fear (Matthew 5:14-16, NKJV).
- Pray – “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).
Despite what happens to us, our family, our career, this nation and the world during this time, may we get to a place where Christ is enough and we surrender all our anxieties, fears and uncertainties to Him. May we come out of this trial refined (1 Peter 1:7) reflecting Jesus even more in our speech, actions and outlook.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25, 32b-34, NKJV
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I [Jesus] have overcome the world.” – John 16:33b, NKJV