• Brad Riley

Everyone Needs Heart Surgery

“The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick;

who can understand it?”

Jeremiah 17:9

Read Jeremiah 17


Have you ever gone to the Dr. only to get an answer you just didn’t feel was right? “Oh well”, I thought. I’m not a doctor so I guess it is what it is –but it just didn’t seem right. My heart rhythms had often been so crazy I thought it was going to leap out of my chest, and I would get extremely light headed.

Lent is a great time for heart surgery. It seems every year, come Lent, I need surgery. Thankfully not the physical kind, but certainly the spiritual. Jesus said it’s out of our hearts that all bad things come (Matthew 15:19). Sin is always conceived in the heart before it ever becomes an action we commit. All the things I’ve said or done that I regret throughout the year seem to come to my mind as I begin a serious time of examining my conscience during the Lenten season.

The prophet Jeremiah, along with all the prophets, tried to get the people of Israel to examine their conscience, but they would not. Jeremiah announced to the people of Israel they all needed heart surgery. He said their hearts were sick (Jer. 17:9), and if they didn’t have heart transplant, they were going to die. God would bring judgment upon them for their following after foreign gods (Jer. 17:27).

Tuesday afternoon, right after I had told the staff that the Dr.’s office said everything was okay – my phone rang. It was the Dr. It seems I had uploaded that morning’s data just before I turned in the monitor and they hadn’t seen that data. Their diagnosis was based on the end of the day before. The Dr. said He scheduled me to have a defibrillator put into my heart the very next day.

All was not well. The problems I was experiencing showed up on that last data upload Tuesday morning; they were dangerous rhythms call, Ventricular Tachycardia. I was in great danger of sudden death if I didn’t have a defibrillator implanted. It would be like having my own electric heart paddles shocking my heart from the inside should it stop beating during one those tachycardia episodes.

The good news is that the very next day, I received a defibrillator to protect my heart from dangerous rhythms. But, that only works on my physical heart. My spiritual heart is always at risk. What about you? How’s your heart? Lent is a great time to have “spiritual” heart surgery. Think of it as a cardiac checkup. We’re always in need of renewing our hearts. The really good news is, our God is a specialist at heart transplants.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ez. 36:26

Shalom,

Pastor Brad

My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,     and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV

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