I had the opportunity this weekend to go with my dad (who also happens to be my business partner) and our staff down to New Orleans for the American Dental Association's annual conference. It was a HUGE meeting. Thousands of people from all over the country attended.
Yesterday morning dad and I went to a continuing education course entitled "Grafting and Surgical Guides in Implant Dentistry." Now don't worry-if you're not a dental person, bear with me-I'm not about to give a dental lecture. There were just a couple of things that really hit me hard while I was sitting these listening to this guy, and I wanted to share them.
Part of the lecture was about the success or failure of various types of bone and tissue grafts. What causes a graft to succeed? What causes it to fail? The answer to these questions, bottom line--is blood. The presence of it, or the lack of it. Now when most people think about blood, they have a negative connotation. It makes many people squeamish. It makes little kids cry when they see it on a skinned knee. It is scary in a horror movie.
But for a surgeon-blood is good. Necessary, in fact. It is a sign of life. Where there is blood, healing is bound to follow. In a bone grafting procedure in the mouth, for example, the main objective is to establish a good blood supply to the area. In the mouth, it is not uncommon to actually drill tiny little holes in the bone adjacent to the area you are augmenting with the graft. Does this injure the bone? Technically, yes. But the purpose of this is to create blood flow that will cover and spread through the material that is grafted in, so the different pieces can integrate and become one.
There is a visual indication when this happens. The bone being grafted in turns red. And over time, when you later uncover it to see how the graft has integrated--you can see little difference in the original bone and the bone that was grafted in. However--if the graft was unsuccessful--there is a visual representation of that as well. The graft material will become dry. Brittle. It has a pallor. There are no signs of life. The area may even become necrotic.
I think it is so incredible that the human body, and even the surgical protocols and procedures in the world of science (that we as humans think we have so cleverly created!)--are a beautiful illustration of the all-sufficient, all-covering blood of Jesus.
Matthew 26:28 "For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Romans 11:17 "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree"
Because of the blood of Jesus, I have been grafted in to a family that I do NOT deserve to be a part of. My sins separated me from God, but I can say with complete certainty that I have been reconciled to Him through Christ's sacrifice. "And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." Colossians 1:20.
One of the best parts about this is--not only are we saved by the blood, grafted in by the blood--but we are healed by it as well. Whatever it is you are going through--Christ's overwhelming grace that he demonstrates through his sacrifice of death--ie, blood--can heal it. Whether you have a sick child, a broken relationship, or maybe a hurt so deep that no one even knows about it, and the weight of it is crushing you--the blood can cover all of that. And the peace and freedom He brings is so precious.
And eventually, as he sanctifies us over time, and we are "grafted in"--there will be a visual representation, just as there is in the human body. Our lives will naturally emanate God's grace to others. They won't be lifeless, dull, or brittle, like the failed graft. They will be full of life, strength, and a sense of belonging. We have been grafted in.