It is Friday! Normally when I think of that phrase it does not have the same inspirational tone that it does for the average student. You see I work every Saturday so Friday is just another day. Today, though, is a little different. Wednesday night while eating supper one of my wisdom teeth decided to prove the folly of its name and do something stupid. It chipped. You see when it came in it did so at an odd angle that made reaching a part of it impossible. So its life expectancy was short from the beginning. Over time this made the tooth decay and fall apart.
I had never really had any problems with my teeth of any consequence so when this one broke I was a little mad at first. Then I was in pain. The kind of pain that you can do absolutely nothing about! I mean, this sucker hurt! So Thursday morning we call the dentist and for once we were able to get in right away. I was not sure what to expect. Would they be able to fix it? Would they have to pull it? I simply did not know. What I did know was that they were going to do something about it or I was not leaving!
So the dentist came and looked at it and took x-rays and all that jazz. Then he told me that this was a fairly common problem with wisdom teeth. They are so far back and often at weird angles that cleaning them properly is impossible. The natural consequence is that it decays and rots. The eventual consequence of the decay is that the tooth weakens breaks and then causes all kinds of havoc. First it is pain. Then if left untreated it is infection and that can ultimately lead to the removal of jaw bones and even death. (Granted this is rare and extreme!) The end result was that I had my tooth pulled. All I can say is that I am very thankful for local anesthetics!!!
However this did get me thinking about some other things. Right now where that tooth used to be is a very sensitive spot; more sensitive than any other part of my body. Allow me to explain my thinking here. I see more clearly now what deference is all about. Each of us has areas in our lives which are very hard to reach. Private, secret areas that are unhealthy. Areas that we need to reach and clean but alone are unable to do so. Areas that our wonderful Father does not miss and when the time is right goes to work on and fixes. Sometimes this means extraction, and at other times it means long and painful working (think root canal).
This got me thinking about how we treat others in the body of Christ. We are so quick to judge those who are particularly sensitive in one area and equally quick to condemn those who have no evidence of sensitivity in other areas. May I suggest that some may have recently had some major work being done? Or that others have had the work done long ago and now the area is healthy and has no sensitive spot that causes pain or damage?
May I also suggest that just like I was unaware of this problem with my tooth that many of us have areas that need work that have yet to be revealed? This is why routine check ups are a good idea when dealing with medical issues. Going to the Great Physician regularly is also in order, not just for the routine, day-to-day ailments, but also for the more thorough checkup.
I guess I would say it this way, keep your nose clean, keep your teeth brushed and your knees scuffed. We all have need of the services of the medical profession, but our greater need is of the services of the Great Physician. It might hurt at times but in the end the result is better and less painful when the problem is dealt with. It might hurt now but one day the pain will cease and that tender spot will be completely healed and strong!