An unbearable toothache the night before a trip kept her up with worry, until she decided to let go and trust God.
Posted in , Jan 24, 2020
The pain was sharp and sudden. It shot through my lower molar. I dropped the pair of khakis I had been folding into the open suitcase on my bed.
“Oh, no,” I muttered.
My husband, Mike, looked up from across the room. “What is it?”
“It’s this darn tooth,” I said, rubbing my jaw. I had a crown, but the tooth underneath was apparently infected. The dentist had warned it might become a problem. But that tooth couldn’t have started acting up at a worse time.
We were heading to Florida for a vacation with the grandkids in just days. An anxious traveler, I was already on edge. That’s why I was packing so early: to feel prepared and in control. Traveling was full of potential problems, all of them cause for panic. And now I had a bad tooth to add to the list.
“You’d better get right to the dentist,” Mike said.
I winced. I dreaded going to the dentist almost as much as I dreaded traveling. One previous visit had been an absolute nightmare.
A few years ago, we’d been preparing for a different trip when a different tooth began to ache. The dentist said I’d need to have it extracted before we went. I did…and got a horrible infection. Then I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics I’d been prescribed. I spent the second half of our vacation shivering in bed with a racing heart rate and a fever. It got so bad that I ended up in the hospital after our return home.
With those memories in mind, I picked up the phone to call the dentist but couldn’t make myself dial. What if history repeated itself? The pain from this toothache was bad but not excruciating. Perhaps I can hold out until after Florida, I thought.
But the night before our trip, the pain became unbearable. Lying in bed, my tooth throbbing, I was desperate. A visit to the dentist now would mean delaying our trip, missing out on precious time with the grandkids. I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed.
“God, please take care of this tooth, at least until after the trip. Then I’ll see the dentist, I promise!” I said. “Or you can heal this tooth if it’s your will. I trust you.”
Those last three words were hard to say. It meant acknowledging that I wasn’t in control: of my toothache or even this vacation. I’d never traveled without planning for every worst-case scenario. But in saying “I trust you,” I was finally handing it all over to God. I repeated the phrase over and over. It was the only thought that I allowed to enter my head.
There in the dark, with my eyes closed, an image formed in my mind. It was a convex arch of white rectangles. It looked like a dental X-ray. Startled, my first reaction was to open my eyes to make the image go away, but I willed myself to focus only on the trust I felt growing in my heart. I kept my eyes closed.
Suddenly the image moved. A tooth was plucked from the arch and disappeared from view, as if an invisible hand had reached down and removed it. It was the bottom right molar, second from the back. The very tooth that was giving me trouble! A new strong tooth appeared above the empty space. It lingered for a moment, then dropped securely into place.
The image faded and a powerful shiver started at the top of my head and coursed through my body, as if a strong electrical current were flowing through me. Maybe this should have scared me, but that night it didn’t. I just felt wrapped in the most unbelievable love and kindness. I drifted off into a deep, peaceful sleep.
The next morning, I awoke with it all fresh in my mind. The vision, the shiver I’d felt. What was all that? Lost in thought, I sat down to breakfast with Mike and took a huge bite of toast. I bit down hard, realizing too late what I’d done. I cringed, waiting for a shooting pain in my problem tooth. But I didn’t feel a thing. Not an ache, a throb or a twinge. Nothing.
“My tooth doesn’t hurt anymore!” I said, shocked. I told Mike about what happened the night before. “Has God healed me?”
“I think we know the answer to that,” he said.
My tooth wasn’t the only thing that felt better. While finishing packing, I found that I wasn’t nervous about the trip anymore. That same feeling of calm lasted our entire vacation. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn’t obsess over everything that could go wrong. It was as if the vision removing my bad tooth and replacing it with a strong one had also removed my anxiety and replaced it with peace.
The vacation went off without a hitch. And the tooth? It didn’t act up for the entire time we were away—or ever since.
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