Over the past three weeks my eldest son, age 6, has lost five teeth (and a sixth is loose). We do not practice the “Tooth Fairy,” but if we did Daddy’s finances would be significantly hindered! He is missing his upper central incisors, lower lateral incisors, and one molar. My son looks and sounds absolutely adorable as he talks with his tongue slipping in and out the myriad of free spaces. Eating some familiar foods has become a challenge for sure, but he perseveres. Pondering the loss of his primary teeth and eventual eruption of his permanent teeth leads me to two thoughts.
We Are Wonderfully Created
It is amazing how God orchestrates the loss of primary teeth and signals the eruption of permanent teeth while concomitantly growing the jaw and facial bones. It is a finally tuned physiological orchestra involving cells, biochemicals, and biomechanics. A permanent tooth begins to come up underneath the primary tooth, activating odontoclasts to dissolve the root of the primary tooth and osteoclasts to dissolve the bone around the root. This results in loosening the primary tooth so that it falls out. The permanent tooth that erupts is uniquely shaped, is formed of composite biomaterials, and possesses nerves and blood vessels. The psalmist was correct when he proclaimed:
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
(Psalm 139:13-14, NASB)
My son’s loss of his primary teeth signals a period of transition in his life. His jaw began to grow at age 4 and is now large enough to accommodate his eventual adult teeth. His primary teeth were once sufficient to bring him nourishment and permit him to make the correct sounds with his mouth. Yet, now he is growing into new and stronger teeth that will support the remainder of his life. Transitions are a part of life, none more so than our spiritual growth. Sanctification is a journey where we become more like Christ, shedding ourselves and letting the Holy Spirit guide our lives. Don’t try to keep your “primary teeth.” Paul warns of this in 1 Corinthians 3 and in Colossians 3:9-11. We are to put away the “old man” and embrace the “new man,” no longer supported on “milk” but on the “solid food” of the Gospel.