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Dentist, Neighbor, Friend

One memorable Super Bowl Sunday, a gold crown came off one of my molars. And since the dentist who did the work was almost 3,000 miles away, I couldn’t exactly go back and ask them to fix it under their warranty program.

What was I supposed to do? I did the only thing I could think of. I called Bob at home. He was our neighbor, friend, and new dentist. I immediately apologized about 20 times, explaining this had never happened before. What was I to do between now and when his office opened on Monday.

The first thing he wanted to know was if I was OK and whether I swallowed the crown. After reassuring him that I was OK, I told him that I had the crown. It was carefully wrapped and securely saved in my pocket.

Without a pause he said, “Meet me at my office in 10 minutes.” I was speechless. And those who know me well understand what a big deal that is.

I drove over to his office, and he sat me down. He already had on rubber gloves when I gave him the renegade gold crown. After reclining the chair, I did my part, which was nothing. I opened my mouth as wide as possible while sitting still. The other thing I was responsible for was not making a sound.

He looked at the “stump” of a tooth that was still in my mouth and the crown. I don’t know what he was looking for, but he just kept looking at them through special magnifying lenses attached to his glasses. He also poked at them with one of those sharp metal things that dentists use.

After carefully cleaning both crown and tooth, he put some "stuff" on them. Grabbing the crown between his fingers, he reached his hand into my mouth and skillfully put the crown back in place. While tightly pressing the crown and tooth together for about a minute, he told me what not to do for the next couple of hours. He sat me up, took his rubber gloves off, and said we were done.

As I’m getting out of the chair, I ask how much. He said the two-words that no one expects to hear when they're leaving the dentist's office. “No charge.”

From that day until his well-deserved retirement, the thought of using another dentist NEVER crossed my mind. When it came to my teeth, and the teeth of my family, we were home. And why was that?

Because of a person I knew. Because of Bob.

I didn't just run to Bob when there was a problem. We were neighbors. We were friends. We spoke all the time. Our families worshipped together. We played golf together. Our kids graduated from high school together. Our families got together every so often for a meal.

Yes, we can and should turn to God when we're in trouble. When life falls apart, we absolutely need to cry out to God and run to him. He's the only one who can help us. Reassure us. Comfort us. Take care of us and our problems.

But God's more than a 24-hour spiritual emergency Customer Service hot line representative. He made us to have a deeply personal and intimate relationship with him. He didn't die for us just so we could go to him for the big stuff. He wants us to go to him for all the stuff in life.

God's our savior for sure. He's to be our only God. The only one we worship. But he's also our brother(1). Someone to live life with. Someone that we can call any time. And boy, does he like for us to come to him all the time.

(1) Mark 3:34,35

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