And we know that all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28, NIV
Suddenly, a Fijian mom of six children appeared with her moribund 9-year-old boy. He was mortally septic, dehydrated, and unable to stand up by himself. His right jaw was extensively swollen from his neck to his forehead. He had large cavities in adjoining biscuspids of his right upper jaw and a fever of more than 106 F. This abscess was about to take his life. But I am an ophthalmologist, not a dentist.
Because this boy would not take water, I decided to start an intravenous line to administer penicillin. And then I knew I had to pull both teeth without breaking them. I did not know which one was causing this problem. With his blood pressure dropping, his tiny darkly pigmented dehydrated arm, and a very poor selection of old dental instruments, it was totally impossible for me. I could not do it.
God would not bring this boy to me to die. My dad was a dentist, and I have two brothers-in-law who are dentists. But that was no help now. I only knew that young people have strong dentate ligaments and the teeth tend to break with attempted extraction, even with an experienced dentist. The boy and I were desperate. We needed help. I found a private spot so I could ask the Lord for help – to be in my arm and hands – and for God and me to do this together. A penicillin shot was given, and we went to lunch while we hoped his body would absorb the antibiotic.
The pontoon aircraft that had taken the last of our group to mainland Fiji had returned with two couples, both on honeymoon. They were the first guests on the island following our week of surgery. One of the couples walked right up and introduced themselves as they prepared to join the three of us for lunch. I was surprised and taken aback at his forthright boldness, especially as he admitted they were on their honeymoon. He was a dentist from Seattle, Washington! When my wife, Dorothy, and I first visited this island in 1989, we only knew the first names of some of the guests. Their relationship and occupation were never mentioned.
I found 500 ccs of Ringer’s lactate and started the intravenous therapy with antibiotics added, on the first try! The dentist took the tooth out in about twenty minutes, after much struggling. Three days later, this boy and I were playing catch with a football on the beach as we waited for our pontoon aircraft!
As I left, I gave this now healthy boy and his mother copies of three books by Ellen G. White – Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, and the Great Controversy – and greatly thanked our Lord for His help.
–Jerold E. Beeve, LLUSM class of 1967, is an ophthalmologist in Glendale, California.