Dr. Christian Barnard became internationally famous when he performed the first human to human heart transplant on December 3, 1967, in Cape Town, South Africa. The patient lived just 18 days. According to Wikipedia, 100 heart transplants took place around the world in 1968. Only a third of the patients lived more than three months after surgery. About 3,500 heart transplants are performed around the world today. Thanks to medical advancements, post-operation survival periods now average about 15 years. While heart transplant can extend life expectancy, it is not considered a cure for heart disease. And before a heart can be transplanted, it must be deemed compatible with the donor. And not every person suffering from heart disease is considered a suitable candidate for transplant. Medical heart transplants have come along way in the last half-century. But they still fall short of the work of the ultimate heart surgeon: God. He’s been performing them for centuries.
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. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-28 (NIV)
God’s heart transplants are always compatible; he wants to replace your heart with the heart of Jesus. Not one like His; Jesus’ heart replacing ours. A heart flowing with the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Author Max Lucado shared in one of his daily devotionals the story of a couple whose daughter died in a skiing accident. They were able to listen to their daughter’s beating heart by putting a stethoscope to the chest of the woman who received it in a transplant. Lucado points out that the heart producing the healthy rhythm they heard was still their daughter’s heart.
When we surrender our heart to God, we become 100% compatible with the heart of Jesus. And while life expectancy following heart transplants has grown greatly in 53 years, it will never match what God’s transplants offer: eternity. The only danger of rejection comes from us. As Lucado asks, when God hears your heart, does he hear the still-beating heart of His Son? Your eternity depends on it.
This post was republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere.