As parents, we received the call we all dread. Our 32-year-old son had a massive heart attack. Unfortunately, the doctor’s report did not offer us much hope. So, we loaded up the car and made the three-hour drive south to be with him. Additionally, we learned that Henry’s heart only functioned at 10% due to the damage from the heart attack. Finally, Henry’s doctor explained that he might need a new heart to survive. We sat in stunned silence as we tried to process what was happening to our son. What did the future hold for all of us?
A New Heart
As with so many events in life, God walks with us. In such difficult times, I reflect on Psalm 46:1; “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” And God did not disappoint me as I felt His presence in the hospital room. And my heart felt His peace as we waited on word on the process for a new heart.
The Lesson Learned
As time wears on, I see God use this situation to teach me other lessons. Soon, I see that Henry is not the only person that needs a new heart. As sin entered the world, it corrupted our hearts and destroyed our relationship with God. And, throughout the Old Testament, the writers foreshadow our desperate need for change in our souls. Let me share a few examples of these:
- Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV); “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
- Psalm 51:10 (ESV); “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
- Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV); “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Make Me New
Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection in the New Testament points us to how we can obtain a new heart, one that becomes anchored in Him. As the Old Testament predicted, when we accept Christ as our Savior, He changes our hearts. Additionally, the Apostle Paul confirms this in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV); “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” In other words, Jesus renews us.
“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”Romans 10:10 (ESV)
Peace With a New Heart
Accepting Christ does not make life easier for any of us. Instead, our new heart finds peace in the storms of life because of our Savior. The promises of God come alive for us, and they comfort us. If you find yourself in turmoil, here are some of those promises to help you find calmness:
- Philippians 4:13 (NIV); “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV); “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
- 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV); “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
All Things Made New
The Bible assures us that all things will become new again with Christ. So as life struggles wear us down, we can look ahead to our future with Jesus. I find additional hope in Revelations 21:1-4:
“1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Revelations 21:1-4 (NIV)
Henry’s New Heart
As far as Henry, we still wait. He has many doctors now, and they are working to determine the best way forward. Henry received an internal defibrillator in the interim. The experts want to try various medications to see if that will strengthen his heart first. But, a heart transplant is not out of the question in the future. Henry remains very upbeat but nervous. We trust God with Henry’s physical heart and his spiritual heart.
As we approach Valentine’s Day this year and we see all the heart-shaped candies, let us ponder our own hearts. Do we need a new heart that is focused on Jesus?
O Lord, who has mercy on all,
take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and enjoy you,
for Christ’s sake, Amen
St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)