“It can’t be saved.”
That was the prognosis I received from my dentist yesterday.
“What do you mean, ‘Can’t be saved?’” I quipped.
There was too much decay. Nothing solid was left.
This reality — that I was “toothless” so early in life — hit me hard. Well, sort of. After all, this is only one of a growing list of consequences and regrets that has resulted from a life of sin and brokenness.
For seven years, I had an eating disorder that nearly killed me. Every day of every week for a number of years, I would wake up, wondering if my heart would give out. I went through months of hospitalizations. Seven years building up a “regret list” that would last a lifetime. Broken relationships, broken trust, wasted time and wasted resources. Seven years in the wilderness. Wandering and wondering, “Why in the world am I existing anyways?”
The Isaiah 65:24 says, “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!”
That’s the God who answered me in the wilderness. Before I even knew Him, He answered my prayers and pleas for help.
“Enough. You’ve been through enough.”
That’s what He said to me, softly and with kindness.
“But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” (Psalm 18:6)
He spoke to me and I spoke back. And the rest, as people like to say, is history. Right? Glorious renewed life, overflowing with pure words, thoughts, and deeds. Nope.
The truth is, it took me years to no longer engage in eating disordered patterns. And that’s when the guilt came. Living in Christ, abusing my body…the two just didn’t go together. “You can’t love both God and money.” Or the flesh. Or pleasing others.
It was a little like the return of the unclean spirit (Matthew 12:43-45):
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
Truth is, God could have said, “You can’t be saved.”
But He didn’t.
Instead, He said, “Enough. You’ve been through enough” yet again. He did this softly, with kindness, and with firmness.
And with one fell swoop, He saved me from sin and from myself.
Years later, I can look at my proverbial list of pros and cons to having my eating disorder. The latter column numbers in the hundreds. The former has but one word: Jesus. He used all the crap, all the regret and all the pain to save me.
I lost so much, including yesterday’s tooth, but I gained infinitely more.
Thank you, Lord Jesus that you never say, “It can’t be saved.” Salvation is not only possible for each of us wretched sinners, but is in fact, God’s desire.
We can be saved.