Monday, July 30, 2012

Isaiah 41:10 - God's Strength Anywhere You Need It

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.  Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

I’ve seen the truth of this scripture verse repeatedly in my life, most recently last week.  I had an appointment with a new dentist to get a cavity filled.

I know this isn’t a big deal to a lot of people so let me put it in perspective for you.  My husband refers to the dentist as “the spawn of Satan”.  It’s nothing personal against the dentist, just a sentiment towards dental work in general.  I tend to agree with him on this point.

I don’t fear needles and I have a relatively high pain threshold; neither of these things are issues for me.  It’s the sensation of being frozen, the dental dam, and the total lack of control that gets me.  (We'll deal with "control" issues in another post.) 

I’m lying in the chair, dental dam in my mouth, gagging on bits of saliva trickling down the back of my throat, and I know I’m trapped like a rat!  There’s no escape, you can’t just rip off the rubber dam and run screaming from the office.  You might just as well be strapped down on the chair with instruments of torture surrounding you.

Then there’s the freezing.  I have a phobia of having my throat frozen.  It feels as though you can’t swallow and I have fears of gagging, choking, and who knows what else. 

In my world I’d be much happier if they could just do the work without the freezing.  At least I think I would be.  So far I haven’t found a dentist who’s willing to try, although I did manage to talk this one down to only using one dose of lidocaine instead of the standard two.

Just talking about it is enough to throw me into a minor anxiety attack, so you can imagine my state of mind when I walked into the office last Tuesday for my appointment.

They start with the topical anesthetic so you won’t feel the needle going in.  This freaks me out because as you salivate some of it runs down into your throat, temporarily numbing it.  I negotiated a reduction on the amount of this too and proceeded to suction every last drop of saliva out of my mouth so it was dry as sand paper; leaving no chance of anything running into my throat.

By this time I was doing deep breathing exercises in an attempt to stay calm.  My legs twitched with a last ditch effort to make for the door but I managed to restrain the impulse.  (I’m a 44-year-old, rational woman (most of the time).  I can’t just flee from the dentist office in desperation and never come back...can I?)  And then came the freezing.

The injection is a slow process.  They generally do a few pokes to make sure the entire area is frozen.  Here’s an interesting little nugget I read on the internet this evening while writing this...epinephrine is added to dental anesthetic to make it more effective and longer lasting.  Guess what a side effect of epinephrine is?  Panic attacks!  Like I needed any additional help in that area!

The freezing went in and it was time for the dental dam.  I asked for a few minutes by myself.  I closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and prayed.  I prayed fervently.  I prayed for strength, I prayed to not be such a whuz, I prayed for courage, I prayed for God’s peace to be with me in that room.  I breathed in the Holy Spirit and clung to His presence with every unfrozen nerve ending in my body.

I lay trapped in the chair, eyes closed, praying for people  I knew who were sick, praying for the mission team in Africa, praying for the world in general, praying that I’d get through the half hour that was left, praying, praying, praying, and more praying!

The panic did eventually subside a little.  I continued to do deep breathing and focus on God and prayer and I managed to get through the appointment.  The filling is done, I didn’t run screaming from the office trailing bits of desiccated dental dam, and I think they might actually let me come back for my annual cleaning next year.

God was there giving me strength and courage when I had none to offer myself, just like He has been in many other events in my life.  Trust Him to do the same for you.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.  Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Has God helped you through struggles?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

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