Jaw Joy

Human_jawbone_front

I won’t make this a long post. But post I must.

Jaw pain on my right side has plagued me since a root canal tooth failed in May. This morning I underwent oral surgery to remove dead bone on the right side of my jaw. The procedure exceeded my expectations. My surgeon cleaned out a bunch of junk. He did a superior job.  That I can work on a blog post the same day testifies to that effect.

I got to thinking about one’s jaw. I admit it. I take mine, both sides, for granted. I shouldn’t. My right side got hammered ten years ago with radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. Gotta love cancer treatment, conventional style. While cancer cells get killed, so also do healthy cells. Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m still preaching ten years later. My complications have been minimal. Couldn’t be more grateful.

Still, there is this jaw thing. Preacher’s tend to make connections from the experiential to the spiritual. Here’s mine, with the help of Puritan Matthew Henry, from Hosea 11:1-7.

He eased them of the burdens they had been long groaning under: I was to them as those that take off the yoke on their jaws, alluding to the care of the good husbandman, who is merciful to his beast, and will not tire him with hard and constant labour. Probably, in those times, the yoke on the neck of the oxen was fastened with some bridle, or headstall, over the jaws, which muzzled the mouth of the ox. Israel in Egypt were thus restrained from the enjoyments of their comforts and constrained to hard labour; but God eased them, removed their shoulder from the burden, Ps. 81:6. Note, Liberty is a great mercy, especially out of bondage (emphasis mine).

Do you see that phrase, I was to them as those that take off the yoke on their jaws? At this point in my spiritual journey, no other verse may matter more to me in the strengthening of my faith to finish strong. Do I long for the pain in my jaw to abate? Absolutely.

Would I trade that for the confidence that Jesus, by His gracious death on the cross and victorious resurrection from the dead, has TAKEN OFF THE JAW OF WORKS and given this unworthy ox the mercy of laboring under gospel grace?

Not in a million years.

Thank you, my great Savior, for using my frail jaw for reminding me once again of your great grace.

This jaw, what’s left of it, praises You.

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