Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Last month I broke a molar in half. Fortunately, it causes me no pain, but since I do have a missing tooth on the other side of my mouth, I am reminded of the frailties that come alongside the aging process. I haven’t had dental repairs because insurance won’t pay for transplants, and we can’t afford it. So I’m going around with a hole in my head—literally!
I read somewhere that a woman generally loses as many teeth as the number of her pregnancies. Given the various dental bridges and caps that have been applied inside my mouth through the years and one tooth long-ago disappeared and now another molar halved, that would just about account for the four live babies I birthed (and perhaps the one miscarriage).
My father’s words of warning given to me as a girl, which had absolutely no meaning at the time—the young being what they are, and I no exception—now come back to haunt me: “Take good care of your teeth, Karen Sue. You don’t want to lose all your teeth by the time you are old.”
It also occurs to me how awful it must be to age when you have suffered from malnourishment all your life. I haven’t always eaten wisely, but compared to the bare-survival diets of most of the world, I have feasted, have been fed, am strong and healthy for a 69-year-old. But I can’t help but think about the wasting bones and tissues of those who wake and go to bed hungry.
This week I finished Logavinia Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood by Barbara Demick. It is a superb piece of reportage that brings the whole complicated Bosnian War down to the 3½-year siege of Sarajevo, but particularly the 240 families—Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics; Serbs and Croats—who lived during that time on one six-block-long residential street. How did this brutal conflict affect them—and their neighbors? The author makes us excruciatingly aware of the slow starvation that begins to occur as pantries are emptied, stores close, the black market rises, and emergency airlifts are grounded due to bombardment fire.
Not only is there next to no food, the electricity is turned off for weeks, the gas jets hiss air, and there is no heat for most of the punishing winters. “There was precious little food in Sarajevo. Small rations of flour, oil, dried beans, and powdered milk wee doled out by the United Nations when they began a regular airlift in June 1992. Sometimes there was sugar, but not always. Occasionally a can of meat or a tin of sardines was included.”
“The most eclectic item in the ration packs was supplied by the United States: high-protein biscuits left from the Vietnam War. Sarajevans eyed the dates stamped on the tins with skepticism—1967 and 1968 vintages—but they ate the biscuits just the same.”
Consequently, I am no longer taking for granted that I have a mouth full of teeth (almost). I no longer twist off jar caps with my teeth. I no longer chew caramel (who knows what in my mouth will yank loose in the sticky stuff?). I’m careful about nuts and olive pits (the doomsday nemesis for my half-tooth).
I’ve never seen anyone write a psalm of thanks for good teeth. But someone should.
I praise you that you designed teeth so that we might be able to gnaw, chaw, bite and nip, thereby gaining nourishment and sustenance. Forgive us for taking teeth for granted, for making jokes about dentists, and for using our birth-given dentures in ways you never intended.
Help me to heed my father’s advisement (which I keep hearing over and over). Prod me to find a new dentist (mine has retired) and make an appointment so that perhaps there will be enough of a half-tooth left that it can be salvaged.
Lord, I thank you for my teeth, and I pray for those 1967 leftover Vietnam War biscuits because they have nothing else to eat.
Help me to tend to all the gifts that you have given. Amen.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.