Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord

Do you ever have days where you are overwhelmed by the presence of God? Of course we know that God is with us every moment even though we don't always sense Him there. Sometimes I think He lets us catch a deeper glimpse of Himself or perhaps there are times when our hearts are just more sensitive to the working of the Spirit. Whatever the case, this was one of those moments.

(It's worth noting at this point that I am terrified of dentists - have been for as long as I can remember. My mom will even tell you that I once refused to get out of the car when we got to a dentist appointment - at the time I was 16 or 17. Every time I go, I panic, I cry, I play with silly putty and just try to get through the ordeal. I didn't think today would be any different.)

I walked into the building and felt a sense of peace wash over me that I've never felt in a dentist's office. There was a huge fountain in the lobby with a waterfall creating a beautiful background noise. You head up to the second floor to check in and there were enormous aquariums with large tropical fish in them. Encouraging phrases were painted on the walls. When I went to find the bathroom, I saw Scripture painted on the walls. I had a vague notion that perhaps I could handle this.

The guy that came to get me, Tyler, was super helpful. We share an interest in sports so we chatted about that while he took x-rays. I was so distracted by our conversation that I didn't even cry. I'm sure this sounds silly to you, but that's the first time that I can ever remember not crying when they did the x-rays. So I get through that and Tyler keeps talking to me while Deb, the hygienist checks my gums. So far, so good. The whole time I'm playing with silly putty because it helps distract me.

But then the dentist walks in and I start crying. Thankfully he's super nice and walks me through what he's looking for and what different terms mean. I was thrilled to hear that I have no cavities or other major issues, just one old filling that needs to be replaced and another old filling that they will keep an eye on. Through my tears I thanked him. Tyler stayed with me and answered my questions and told me what the next steps would be. The finance lady came in and told me I will owe $454 when all this is taken care of. $170 was due today.

This is where I have to back up just a little and say that this morning I discovered that I was overdrawn on my bank account because my paycheck hasn't deposited yet but I really felt like I still needed to see the dentist today. I told the woman that I didn't have $170 on me and inquired about making payments. Nope, they don't do payment plans. Perhaps it was the stricken look on my face or the remnant of tears that threatened to spill over because she asked me what I could pay today. I took a deep breath and prepared to say "nothing", but instead "$70" came out of my mouth. (What?! Where was I going to get $70???) She agreed to make an exception for me and let me do that.

Still not knowing how I was going to pay for this appointment, I went up front to settle my bill and make my next appointment. The checkout woman was very sweet, told me what I owed and asked me if I had any coupons. I said no but inquired about how I might get one - I figured they might come in handy for my next appointment. The lady next to us leaned over and said that the coupons had been discontinued. I was slightly disappointed thinking that I'd missed out on getting 10% off my bill or something like that. When she opened her desk drawer just to be sure, she found a leftover coupon. She figured it into my balance and informed me that the total cost of my visit for today was $10. Yep, $10!!! I had to ask her twice just to be sure I heard correctly. The coupon dropped all charges except for $10. I nearly started crying again as I was struck by the goodness of the Lord in providing for my needs just at the moment that I needed Him to.

Overcome by the grace of Jesus and the kindness of these people, I headed out to the van and just sat there. I needed a few minutes to praise the Lord and rejoice in all that I'd just experienced.

That's my God-story and I just had to share it with you.

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