Much wailing and gnashing of teeth?

Yesterday we arrived back home after a lovely holiday in Lanzarote. Not too much sunburn and lots of relaxing. I highly recommend these holydays.

This morning I woke up in my post-holyday bliss and happily tucked into some toast and a cup of coffee.

Today I was due to have a tooth extracted under sedation.

After I had finished my toast I suddenly realised that I was supposed to have fasted for four hours before the extraction and my toast and coffee had been consumed well within that period. D’oh!!

Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth as I realised I had blown it, that I would be stuck with the troublesome tooth for a lot longer and that I would have to eat a serious amount of humble pie (on the other side of my mouth) when I explained to the dental clinic what I had done.

I phoned the clinic that will be removing the tooth and explained what I had done, expecting a grumpy or begrudging response along with a complaint about how it was messing them around and how much rebooked appointments cost them.

Woe, woe and thrice woe!

Woe, woe and thrice woe!

Instead the lady on the other end of the phone was incredibly gracious and understanding. She immediately offered to rebook the appointment and wasn’t at all grumpy or complaining.

Bless her (and all receptionists who have a thankless task). No, literally, bless her!

It reminded me a little of God’s grace – when we mess things up and come back to him he does not complain about how many times we have come back to him before. He does not get grumpy. He does not begrudgingly forgive. He doesn’t even point out how much it cost him to be able to offer us forgiveness.

Instead he offers an open-armed, warm-hearted, generous-smiling embrace and immediately and graciously forgives. As he sees us making the mistake or committing the sin he already has forgiveness lined up for that. All we have to do is recognise our need of it and ask for it.

And he does not even limit it to that. His forgiveness is part of a package deal that includes full reconciliation with himself, a refilling with his Spirit, a clean slate and a party in heaven in our honour.

Now that’s grace with a capital GR! He offers it because he loves us. It’s as simple and as profound as that.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

One day, a man walks into a dentist’s office and asks how much it will cost to extract wisdom teeth.

“Eighty pounds,” the dentist says.

“That’s a ridiculous amount,” the man says. “Isn’t there a cheaper way?”

“Well,” the dentist says, “if you don’t use an anaesthetic, I can knock it down to £60.”

“That’s still too expensive,” the man says.

“Okay,” says the dentist. “If I save on anaesthesia and simply rip the teeth out with a pair of pliers, I could get away with charging £20.”

“Nope,” moans the man, “it’s still too much.”

“Hmm,” says the dentist, scratching his head. “If I let one of my students do it for the experience, I suppose I could charge you just £10.”

“Marvellous,” says the man, “book my son in for next Tuesday!”

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