Teeth and Eternity

December 17, 2008 at 2:06 pm (Vignettes) (, , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

teeth-and-eternityHer name was Ellen. She was about fifty-five years old.  I will never forget the Saturday morning, over a year ago, that she arrived at the dental clinic to have teeth pulled and met a man she already loved.

Every year, Dr. Don opens up his dental clinic for a “Free Day” as a way of saying thank you to Jesus. Following in the way of the Master, he reaches out to the “sick” on a physical level in order to meet their spiritual needs. While each patient waits to be worked on, a believer is able to come into the room and share the gospel with them.

That Saturday I was privileged to be a gospel sharer.

She was very nearly missed. The morning was almost over, and after having to wait outside for hours, and barely getting in to be worked on, she was waiting quietly in a dental chair. I’d been told everyone in the rooms on that side of the building had already been talked with, but one of the guys came to find me, whispering, “There’s a lady in here who doesn’t have a goodie bag. Do you want to talk to her?”

Meagan and I had no trouble striking up a conversation with her. She was having all the teeth on one side pulled. She considered herself a Baptist. To her, Jesus was her best friend. “He got me here today,” she said, smiling shyly. “I pray to Him all the time.”

I began to probe for divinity. “Why do you pray to Him? Normally, you know, we pray to someone who is divine—a God.”

Confusion clouded her eyes. “I don’t know.”

Did she consider herself a good person? “I try to be.” Can we take a look at some of God’s laws to see if that’s true? “Okay.” Her mild blue eyes were riveted on me as I elicited from her confessions that she was a lying, thieving blasphemer, fallen short of God’s glory.

“If he judges you, will you be innocent or guilty?”

Without hesitation, she answered, “Guilty.” Her concern etched deeply into the lines across her forehead and around her eyes. When I offered hope, her heart reached eagerly for it.

I began to tell her about Jesus—the God who became a man, who became our intercessor with an angry and Holy God. I shared how He came to earth, born of a virgin, born under the Law so that He might redeem those under the Law. How in that hour on the cross, an innocent substitute, He cried out, forsaken by God, bearing the sins of the whole world. I explained how God heard His plea on our behalf and raised Him. “This is why we pray to Jesus,” I finished. Her eyes never left my face. I asked if she knew how to become right with God through Jesus.

“Tell me.”
“Repent, put your faith is Jesus’ ability to save you and tell Him you want to follow Him. Do you want to do that?”

No doubt. No hesitation. “Yes.”

My heart dropped out the bottom and I blinked. I’d gotten this far before, even had willing listeners, but when I’d asked that question I’d always heard an excuse. “Later” or “I’ll be okay” or “Let me think about it.”

I swallowed, trying to digest a three-letter word. “You do?”  What in the world was I supposed to do next?

“Yes.” She answered again.

What followed was the most beautiful prayer I have heard: stripped of pretense or poetry, she poured out her plea for salvation from the penalty and the power of sin, sang her praise to her Merciful Mediator and owned Him as her Lord. Before she finished, I was on my knees at her side, holding her hand and crying with her, praising the Lord for her salvation. When I stood up, the light of Jesus shone from her eyes.

“Hug me,” she begged.

“I will!”

I handed her the “goodie bag” we’d prepared—the one my friend had noticed she didn’t have yet. I showed her the Bible and found the gospel of John, marked it for her and gave her a highlighter. She held it open, ready to dive in to discover this Savior who had brought her to a dental clinic in Russellville, so that He could save her soul.

“Do you want me to stay and read with you?” I asked.

“No!” was her quick reply. “There’s other people out there! Go tell them!”

Actually, she was the last patient that day to hear the gospel. After the group of gospel sharers finished praying in the waiting room, they asked to be introduced to their new sister.

When we came back into the room, we found her bent over her Bible, blue highlighter in hand and evidence of its use on the pages. She smiled up at me, “It’s good so far.”

In that moment, Ellen was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

The book of Psalms says that God “will beautify the afflicted with salvation.”

As we left the clinic that day, we were all awed by the work of the Lord.  Realize, my friends, that Meagan’s and my part in this drama was very little. The Lord had prepared Ellen’s heart for His good news. We were like the farmer who sowed seed and went to bed and the seed sprouted and grew, but he knew not the way. The Lord is preparing the fields—they are ripe for harvest.  Since I’ve moved to the Bible belt, I’ve become increasingly aware of the emptiness of religion.  I can hardly believe how many “churched” people that I’ve been able to talk with have never even heard the gospel.  Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His fields—beseech Him to send you.

I’ve found the Way of the Master to be a great aid in random evangelism.  They have tracts that can be left for others to find, as some of my shy friends have done, or tracts that simply open up the way for a conversation.  Or you can make your own!  When I visited Lauren for my 18th birthday we created a “survey” and made our own tracts with an outline of the gospel.  The angel announced to the shepherds that the good news is for everyone–and the shepherds went home praising God and telling everyone they met of the Savior God had sent.  Good news is for sharing!

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5 Comments

  1. POEMS, POETS, RHYMES AND POETRY » Blog Archive » Teeth and Eternity said,

    […] Original post by Pearls and Diamonds […]

  2. Bill said,

    Thank you for what you did. Great job!

    Bill

  3. Hannah said,

    Wow!! Thank you for being a willing instrument in God’s hands! What a precious moment!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Anna said,

    Yay! 🙂

  5. Jordan said,

    good stuff, i found your article on the dashboard. btw i wrote an article on sharing that gospel, it might interest you. God bless!
    http://bloodfilledhands.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/blood-filled-hands/

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