The Dentist's Chair

Monday, July 2, 2001

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)

I went to the dentist yesterday. I am allergic to pain, dentists and drills. I break out in a rash of anxiety.

I have known the waves of fear to pound on my hull, held together only with hope, determination and a prayer. I have been forced to hang on with both hands to the tiller, back arched and heels wedged into the side of the well, as the mainsail fills and my rotund craft keels over, giving way to the wind. I am not enough in myself.

Oppression, violence, intimidation, failure, depression, pain, sickness, grief, loss: all can allow fear to pile in upon us — and will attempt to pile in upon us — as if there is no hope, no help, no one really there. I know, because I have lived it, both here in Britain and in Africa, and have been overwhelmed by my fear and my weakness.

I am glad to say that I am not without example. Many biblical characters had to go through trials of fear. It is one of the great weapons from the evil one's arsenal of dissipation. Fear is also the body's way of letting us know that something is amiss or out of our control. However it is not always good to be afraid.

I was laid back in the dentist's chair and asked: "Where is Jesus?" I imagined Jesus with me, there in the room. Actually he was at my side with his arm around me.

It was a picture I used to inform my emotional and rational self of what my spirit knew to be true. As I did so, I was aware of the touch of his presence, and my fear was reduced. This was not a trick, like fire-walking, a case of mind over matter. It was just Immanuel at work, sometimes unseen.

2 Kings 6:16-17 – "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so that he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha. (NIV)

Prayer: Hallelujah, Lord, for you are worthy of praise, because you are faithful. Whatever the day may bring, grant us your forgiveness, grace, peace and forbearance. At the right time remind us to lean on you because you are there with us, have gone before us, and will sustain us no matter what the outcome. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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