Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bad Tooth on Good Friday






Painting (section of larger work) by Eugene Judge


I have a toothache. A week ago I chomped down on a hard piece of granola, about the consistency of cement, and chipped an old filling. My family knows how obsessed I am about cleaning my teeth. I floss at least three times a day and brush at least four times a day…but I was less diligent as a kid. So this old filling in my molar cracked through to the tooth. The dentist knocked out the half that hung by a thread. It didn’t hurt then, but after he placed a temporary something to shape a tooth, it gradually ached, gradually throbbed, and felt infected. Oh, the regret for loving junk food as a child!

Today is Good Friday, and the day after Purim, so my dentist is on vacation. I will have to suffer until Monday morning. I never thought I’d look forward to a root canal, but I’m ready to do anything to rip out this pain.

I’m reminded of the pain Jesus suffered. My little pain, intolerable to me, doesn’t even reach one percent of what Jesus endured. He didn’t complain when He was beaten, spat upon, tortured and finally hung on the cross. I can’t imagine that kind of agony. And to think He suffered this punishment that He never deserved in our place.

Isaiah 53 says it all:

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

This is love. When I read this, my tiny tooth doesn’t hurt so much. I am humbled. I look forward to my mouth healing, but Jesus looked forward to His resurrection and victory over sin and death. He would join the Father and make a way for His children to enter heaven’s gate. He saw the place of no more pain, or sorrow or tears. Or toothaches. He was willing to suffer because He loves us more than we can imagine and wants us to follow Him into His perfect kingdom.

A toothache won’t stop me from celebrating the most amazing day in history. Jesus is alive, and I choose to live in Him.

*******

If you'd like to read other stories by Francy...

Novel 

Anthology: Three poems, one short story


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