Sunday, April 19, 2009

The cavity

While we go to the dentist periodically here in Brazil, dental x-rays are not a standard procedure here, so it had been years since we had them done. Cam decided that we should have x-rays and I dutifully went to the x-ray clinic, had my teeth x-rayed and then took the results to the dentist the next day (if that sounds like a pain to you, you have never lived overseas-I was astounded that they could give me the results the same day!).
Upon examining the x-rays, the dentist saw two shadows near the base of my teeth. She explained that they were cavities buried under a couple of fillings that had been in my mouth for 20-25 years. One of the cavities was getting dangerously close to the root of the tooth, and could cause much bigger problems if it wasn’t taken care of. She told me she would have to remove the fillings, drill out the cavities, and then insert a new, more high-tech resin filling to fill up the hole. She wanted to do the two teeth on separate days because she thought that it would be easier for me that way.
While I knew it was necessary, I was somewhat apprehensive. I wanted to make sure she got all of the cavity the first time, because I didn’t want to have to go through this again (there’s just nothing like the smell of your own tooth burning as they drill away…). After it seemed like she drilled and filled forever, the first tooth was finally done. The second wasn’t so easy. As of this writing, it’s been two months, and the filling still doesn’t feel right in my mouth. I’m going to have to go back again to get her to file it down some more.
As I reflected on my experience, I felt the still small voice of God saying that my experience was picture of a spiritual reality. Many of us have a perfectly good looking exterior that has been in place for many years, or in my case, even decades. Everything looks fine, strong and healthy on the outside, but underneath, unbeknownst even to the person, there is rot and decay eating away. That decay is reaching deep down toward the roots of our lives and will bring pain and destruction if it is not addressed.
We need to submit ourselves to a Holy Spirit “x-ray” so that we can find the dark shadows of decay in our lives. Once they have been diagnosed, despite the potential discomfort and pain, we need to allow God to remove whatever is necessary so that he can get down in our lives and remove all of the corruption of sin and decay. Then we need to allow Him to purify our lives and fill up the empty space with His Holy Spirit – which might take some time and adjustment on our part!

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