Fear Factor.

This week CBC’s worship space was transformed into a full-service dental clinic … x-rays, cleanings, extractions. As many as eight patients were being worked on at a time. It was a weird dynamic to have it all happening in one large room. All my experiences with dentistry have been … private. Until now, I didn’t know how much to appreciate that fact.

One small child screamed inconsolably the entire time he was in the chair. I wondered what effect it had on those who were waiting, many who had never been to a dentist. Did anyone quietly slip out never to return?

The waiting area was arranged so that patients who had received their prescreening sat in a row two feet from a person being worked on. I walked passed an entire group of completely quiet, slightly green and grimacing teenagers. This clinic was an awesome service to the community … but when possible, dentistry should not be a spectator sport.

My strangest experience happened the first day when the clinic was in full swing. As I entered the room, every chair was full, dentists and hygienists busy at every station. The low murmur of voices and the hum of the air compressor were the only sounds. Suddenly, all the hair stood up on my neck, a chill ran up my spine and I had just the slightest inclination to run. I wondered if the fear was my own … or was I feeling the collective angst in the room.

Sometimes, I have similar moments in Christian circles. Apprehensions about every aspect of life run so high that it becomes difficult to distinguish the collective angst from my own. Is this the way we were meant to live and interact? The Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 1 Timothy 1:7 What if unbelievers knew Christians for their lack of fear and a peaceful confidence in God?