Thursday, February 26, 2004

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I've been blessed to sit at the feet of some of the finest proclaimers of God's Word in the world. And not one of them has explained the gospel better than my children.

This week, my 7-year-old son, Andrew, perfectly personified Christ's claim that admission to the kingdom of God was predicated on growing young. "Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child..." Last Friday, he came home from school complaining of a toothache. The missus took a look and was alarmed to discover what looked like a crack in the back right molar, a permanent tooth that just came in a couple of weeks ago.

She immediately called our dentist, who said he'd be surprised if it was indeed cracked because that rarely happens in someone so young. When he saw Andrew Monday morning, he was surprised all right but for different and more distressing reasons. He said that new permanent tooth was, for lack of a better term, dead and would have to come out, as in Wednesday. Furthermore, he was concerned there could be problems with his other permanent teeth currently beneath the skin. This had nothing to do with poor hygiene; this was about something potentially endemic.

Obviously, the missus and I were very concerned that something significant was wrong with our oldest, maybe something beyond just his gumline. That night, during our nightly reflection time in which we ask the boys what part of the day brought them the most and least joy, Andrew put a face on what Jesus said about children and the kingdom of God. When asked what part of his day brought him the most joy - not the least but the most - our son said, "I felt the most joy when the dentist found out something was wrong with my tooth and that he knew what to do to fix it." His most joyful moment of that day was the discovery that one of his permanent teeth was coming out for good. Andrew takes after me in a lot of ways. I hope in this way I can take after him.

The tooth did indeed come out Wednesday, as did the dentist's discovery that this appears to have been an isolated incident after all. Still, it's a week I won't soon forget. Out of the same precious mouth came both tooth and truth. The former changed Andrew's life; the latter changed mine.

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