More Reflections Along the Jaw Rebuilding Road
Last Tuesday took me to yet another doctor appointment in Miami. Never have I looked forward to the 500 mile, day-long marathon trip as I did for this particular visit.
Time to remove the Erector Set pile of metal bars and chains holding my reconstructed jaw shut for the last 21 days.
What a war! Two surgical residents. Pliers. Wire cutters. Suction. It started easy enough. But before long the yanking, twisting, pulling, and tugging increased. I stiffened in the chair like a 2×6 piece of red fir. My kingdom for some nitrous oxide–PLEASE!
Once the nurse turned the gas on high I settled in for the duration. Bloodied and sore after it all, the word “Armageddon” kept running through my head for some reason.
It felt SO GOOD to open my mouth again. No more practicing the ventriloquist act for this preacher. Never I have enjoyed so much like I did that night flossing and brushing both sides of my teeth!
Rarely have I anticipated solid food again with more delight. The first bite of fish (soft and sauce remain my culinary mandates for the duration) melted in my mouth. I moaned at the savory taste with pleasure. But then came a moan of a different kind.
Chewing brought pain–again. There simply was no opening my jaw wide enough to bite down on the food. Both sockets hurt with each movement. I could hardly manipulate the food with my tongue so as to position it where teeth remain for mastication.
Sigh. This will take longer than I think. Double sigh.
But–my chains are gone! I’ve been set free! Slowly my range of motion improves. Each day it hurts a bit less to get solid food down. RoboJaw 2 gets further in the rear view mirror with each passing day. I am so thankful.
The next day, Wednesday, I turned 44, spiritually speaking. I celebrated yet another spiritual birthday. For some reason I happen to be one of those Christians who knows just when the Spirit of God blew with power resulting in his spiritual birth (John 3:1-8).
I don’t know that it matters all that much or not whether one knows the time and date specifics of his regeneration–although a special friend of mine admitted she envies that for me.
What matters a great deal more is the assurance that one has been born again. You know the Lord has changed your heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26). You enjoy the assurance of hope in eternal life (1 John 5:11-13).
You fear no condemnation because Jesus’ propitiating sacrifice has satisfied the wrath of God most holy justly upon you for your sin (Rom. 3:21-26; 5:1; 8:1). Your sins are forgiven. Those chains are gone. You’ve been set free and are free indeed (John 8:31-32)!
You trust that the blood of Jesus covers all your sins. J. C. Ryle expressed the inexpressible joy of this particular assurance so well:
This wondrous blood of Christ, applied to your conscience, can cleanse you from all sin. It matters nothing what your sins may have been, “Though they be as scarlet they may be made like snow. Though they be red like crimson they can be made like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18.) From sins of youth and sins of age, from sins of ignorance and sins of knowledge—from sins of open profligacy and sins of secret vice—from sins against law and sins against Gospel—from sins of head, and heart, and tongue, and thought, and imagination—from sins against each and all of the ten commandments—from all these the blood of Christ can set us free. To this end was it appointed; for this cause was it shed; for this purpose it is still a fountain open to all mankind. That thing which you cannot do for yourself can be done in a moment by this precious fountain. YOU CAN HAVE ALL YOUR SINS CLEANSED AWAY.
Have you been born again?