Sammie and I were listening to Christian music on the car radio. When a certain song came on, Sammie asked if I remembered where we were when we heard that particular number for the first time. It’s a little game we sometimes play. She has a great memory. The problem with my rememberer is that I remember stuff that didn’t happen.
But back to the song. Many of the contemporary Christian songs we hear on the radio were added to our favorites list when we heard them at a church we sometimes visit in Ohio Amish Country.
So my first guess, as always, was Grace Church in Berlin, Ohio. Wrong! My wife reminded me that the first time we heard the song in question we were worshipping at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, where our dear friend Hollie Miller was pastor for many years. This led to a phone call to check on how Hollie is doing in retirement.
Didn’t get him, so I called another friend, Jerry Adamson in Louisville. Jerry was recuperating from a tooth being pulled the previous day, but was able to talk for a while. Then I tried Brother Hollie’s number again. Still no answer.
A little later I received a text from Hollie. He had just come from the dentist. After an extraction his mouth was full of gauze and he couldn’t talk. I had to laugh at the irony. Then I texted back and told him our friend in Kentucky was a day ahead of him for tooth pulling. I hoped I was not scheduled for the next day for tooth removal.
Recently, our 7-year-old granddaughter lost a baby tooth, again. Unlike cousin Anderson, Katie Grace hasn’t lost a whole handful of baby teeth within a few days of each other. Also, this exact tooth was elusive in its exit. After lunch, at school, she felt a gap between teeth with her tongue and realized one was missing. Gone! Disappeared!
When her mom picked her up for the day, K.G. recounted the tooth story and told her she had no idea where this one went. Shannon reasoned that K.G. must have swallowed her tooth, and she joked that teeth would begin growing in Katie’s tummy.
The idea of teeth growing in her belly upset Katie Grace so much that Shannon had to back-pedal, explaining that she was just kidding and no harm would come from a swallowed tooth. She also promised to help craft a letter to see if the tooth fairy would honor a tooth that was MIA instead of under the pillow — and it worked.
I don’t know about you, but I am truly amazed at the detail our Creator placed within human creatures, an infinitesimal bit of His great creation. Think for a moment about the importance of teeth and the difference in the way they are viewed by a 7-year-old and a 70-year-old. Think about the development of our emotions and our spiritual outlook.
Isn’t it amazing that a Being who could design and create our vast universe — from atoms and isotopes to galaxies and black holes — would care about a little girl who lost a tooth, one that just mysteriously disappeared; or a couple of mature gentlemen who were in pain because a tooth with roots had to be wiggled and pried and yanked out.
Some folks choose to believe our world and those who live in it all happened by chance. Others believe the Creator got it started, then turned it loose to evolve into whatever, but has no feeling for where it is headed now. On the other hand, there are those of us who, like the writer of an old song, confess to the One we believe created us: “How Great Thou Art.” Certainly, when I consider, in awesome wonder, all the worlds He has made; when I think of how He sent His Son to die for us, I scarce can take it in; my soul sings to Him, my Savior and my God, “How great thou art!”
Steve Playl — retired pastor and chaplain, columnist and college instructor — may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.