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Monday, October 29, 2012

Need a transplant?

Some of the Psalms of David are filled with all kinds of things which seem to be said not once, but multiple times in the same psalm - kind of like a chorus or refrain in a song.  Maybe this is because so many of his psalms were indeed set to music!  As he begins this particular psalm, he lays out the "words of the refrain" - "God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I need comes from him, so why not?  He’s solid rock under my feet,    breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle:  I’m set for life."  (vs 1-3 MSG)  This refrain, or the crux of it, is repeated not less than three times in as little as twelve total verses!  So, it must be important, right?  Here's what is sandwiched right in the middle of these refrains:

My help and glory are in God—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—so trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him.  God is a safe place to be.  (Psalms 62:7-8 MSG)

David had such a personal relationship with God.  He was always "My God" to David.  He wasn't just the God of his Fathers, but he was up-close and personal with God.  He had developed an intimacy with God, sharing freely of his own heart, and in turn, I believe God shared his heart with him.  He points us to the "granite-strength" of God in many of his psalms.  He also refers to consider the safety of God's protection and covering.  These are not foreign concepts as taught and understood by David, but how did he come to know God as his "granite-strength" and "safe-harbor"?  

I think David faced some tough stuff in life which exposed him to the inadequacies of his own strength as much as he experienced the need to "run for shelter" into the arms of one who could comfort like no other.  We'd do well to take a lesson or two from this man - the man God honors with the words, "A man after my own heart".  Maybe he was a man who actually wanted to live life with a "transplanted" heart!  You know - the exchange of his own hardened heart with the heart beating afresh with the love and grace of God himself.  

There is much to be said about being at the point in life where you need a heart transplant.  In fact, it is a most desperate condition.  When the heart is not functioning well, nothing else in our body seems to function at capacity either.  Without the constant and steady pumping of blood throughout our bodies, we have no life for our cells, no energy source for our brain, and no carrying capacity to transport toxins to the organs which will assist in their removal.  The circulatory system is really like an intricate system of highways and byways - each carrying either life to or "garbage" away!  When these don't function well, it is worse than the traffic jams on a busy highway in rush-hour traffic!

Transplant recipients will tell you what the "exchanged" organ means to them.  There are expressions of gratefulness - for what was once very close to death is now infused with new life.  There is renewed energy and capacity - often allowing actions once only dreamed of as possible.  The same is true when we exchange our hardened and damaged "spiritual hearts" for the "vitality" of God's heart!  We who were so used to producing nothing but what appeared to be death are infused with a newness of life.  There is a vitality which gives us capacity beyond our imagining.  Pretty awesome, huh?

David reminds us "God is a safe place to be".  I cannot improve upon this thought!  Yet, we often choose "places" outside of his protection and care.  We choose to live with "damaged hearts" instead of coming into his watchful care.  Where the heart goes, so does all of activity.  If the heart is burdened and hurting - the activity we reflect will reveal the intensity of hurt and the crushing weight of the burden, will it not?  Here is the rub - we want new hearts, but we fear the transplant!  We hold onto what barely works when offered newness and vitality.  Silly us!  

In a spiritual sense, the heart is made up of our emotions and is closely tied to our will.  If we are used to dealing with our damaged emotions, the "highways" of "good emotions" are often so blocked by the highways of our bad emotions so as to not allow anything to "pass through" to the side of "good" very often.  We see only the traffic jam of the "bad" and not the wide open spaces of the "good".  

David reminds us God is "granite-solid".  Granite is one of the most durable of stones.  It is also widely used due to the durability and impenetrability of the stone itself.  I don't know about you, but when I need to make an exchange of this hardened heart for a new one, I want to be able to "stand" on the integrity of the one making the exchange possible.  I want to know what I am receiving is "solid" and will stand the test of time!  God has proven to be "rock solid" - time tested and true.  When we really "get" this, we don't hesitate to "lay our lives on the line".  Isn't that what a transplant recipient does?  They lay their lives on the line - knowing one "sort of working heart" will removed before there is any "space" created for another "working heart".  To receive the new, they have to be willing to part with the old. 

To stand upon the solidness of God's grace, we need to be willing to lay our lives down.  Just sayin!