Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Saviour While My Heart Is Tender"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 13:28 – There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. (NIV)
During the last few years, as I have lost a lot of weight, I have had trouble with my false teeth, putting up with their inability to do the job accurately without a good fit. They are too big! Not being able to eat meat and certain fruits has revealed an eating disorder for which I take pills at every meal. I rarely go out now to a restaurant, and miss the time socializing with friends. I can be lonely at times. When I am really upset, I find myself with tears in my eyes, but gnashing my teeth? Never! I don't think that I have ever been so angry, exasperated, or in pain as to grind my teeth. I have a new set of teeth now, but do I ever gnash them in frustration? No way! Have you ever sat gnashing your teeth? What was going on? Does the Lord know about it?
In today's verse, Jesus is speaking about people who find themselves being left out of God's kingdom, painfully sitting in a corner, gnashing their teeth, and feeling all alone. They might, however, be more likely to be weeping than gnashing their teeth.
But right here in this modern world, there is so much that can make us very angry. Does it find some gnashing their teeth because they are left out of a family gathering or a church group? Often, even their relatives and friends are too busy to really care about what is going on. Do we reach out to include them? Many people today are gnashing their teeth in anger at the injustices, terrorism, or gun violence that they see around them, but they can do nothing to resolve these situations. The frustration is high; the wailing is loud. Is someone praying for them?
But more importantly, are you and I praying for those in our families, church, and neighbourhood who are not included in the kingdom of God? Standing at a graveside weeping is an example of hurting souls today. How can we help them? Jesus would have taken their hands, wiped the tears from their eyes, and reminded them of the love of God Who is ever faithful.
When Jesus was at the pool of Bethesda, He saw a paralyzed man lying there who had been unable to move for 38 years. Could the man have been weeping or gnashing his teeth? Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. Jesus also asks us the same thing today, and we often answer as the paralyzed man did: "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred." (John 5:7 NIV) Do we see what is wrong here? We do not share with our friends and neighbours who are alone that God's love can answer all of our needs. There are no more weeping friends, no more gnashing of teeth, when the Lord has our lives all under control. We have but to ask for His healing hand upon us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as we lie down hurting and weeping, forgive us for our pride and self-satisfaction. Forgive us for not turning to You until we are gnashing our teeth at the way our lives are unfolding. We need You now more than ever, dear Lord. Thank You for Your healing hand touching our souls with Your love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.