When my daughter, Kenzie, was 5 we had a terrible experience that changed our lives -- she lost her first tooth. First, you must understand that although this was our third child, my wife "doesn't do teeth." In our family, the dentistry is left to me. My methods, although archaic and sometimes Medieval in application, get the job done.
On this particular afternoon, Kenzie came to me whimpering with giant tears welling up in her wide green eyes. When I saw her, a million scenarios began playing out in my mind. She stood there frozen with fear, trembling in terror, hampered by horror. As I tried to assess the situation, I heard a disembodied voice from the other room, "Her tooth is loose and she needs you to pull it." Samantha should have used the words "we need you to pull it." I was thankful for the diagnosis. So, I dusted off my DDS -- "Dental Dad School" certificate and got to work.
I looked at Kenzie and said, "Okay, I am going to have you open your mouth, an when you do, I will reach in and pull that tooth out."
I didn't quite realize how that sounded, especially to a 5-year-old. Her eyes grew about three sizes as she began playing this grotesque scene out in her mind. I quickly leveled with her, "Do you trust Daddy?"
Through clenched lips she was able to mutter, "Yyyyyesssh."
"If you trust Daddy then you'll open your mouth and let me yank that tooth out," I said.
After about 10 minutes of coaxing and begging, she finally relented and opened her mouth about two centimeters wide. For her, this was a big step! For me, it was futile -- I couldn't get to that tooth if I wanted to. So I began phase two of the Dad Dentistry Technique: "You don't want to keep that in there, won't it be so great to have it out? Then you can put it under your pillow and see how much money you get!!"
Ah, cash ... the great motivator. Her mouth opened up and I saw this little tiny baby tooth hanging on by the thinnest of threads. I was shocked it was even still attached to her gums. I reached for the paper towel (which I learned in Dad Dentistry School was a necessity for occasions such as these) and reached for her mouth -- which she clamped down as soon as I came near. Back to square one.
So, 10 minutes later we gathered enough courage to open wide again and I reached for the renegade tooth. I didn't even have to pull -- it popped out and into my hand as soon as I touched it. Through her heavy breathing and clenched eyes, she asked me, "Is it out?"
"Yes, Kenzie ... here it is," and I showed her the tooth.
"That's it?" she asked in amazement and 5-year-old disbelief.
"That's it!" I said with the confidence of a graduate of Dad Dental School.
"Wow ... next time I have a tooth that comes loose, it will be easy to let you get it!" she proudly admitted.
She's right. She experienced that she could trust me. She could now use that trust going forward -- the same way that we can with God. When He says, "trust me," our answer must always be, "I do." The method may seem strange or foreign, the road may seem long or winding, but His way is always the best way. You can trust Him - in all things, and in all ways.
Listen: "I Will Trust" by Red Rocks Worship.
Jeremy DeGroot is Lead Pastor at FBC Siloam Springs, a husband, daddy, and musician. You can contact him via email at [email protected] or reach out on Facebook.