Monday, June 18, 2012

Meditations on Heart Surgery

~Tracy Frederick

I suppose all of us have heard, or had a loved one who has suffered through some kind of heart proceedure. It is no longer uncommon. You may have even seen a replica of the act on some medical television drama, or a news report. The surgeon opens the chest, has a magnified screen and carefully goes through the arteries and considers each part of the heart, checking for blood flow, damage and any obstacles that might hinder it working properly. We know how critical the surgeon is. Without the skill of a good surgeon, something might be missed, something might go wrong and that would mean death for the patient. For many without lifesaving modern medicine of heart surgery, life would end too soon, or the quality of life would suffer dramatically. But, it is not something we ask for, not something we go to our physician and say: "Hey, can you cut me open and check out my heart for me, just in case." But, that is exactly what David did in Psalm 139. Considered David's plea to the Lord for heart surgery: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24?
If we consider these verses carefully we find that in the original language here (châqar) that David wants God to “penetrate” or “examine intimately” his heart.  He is asking God to “try” his heart. That is, test it and try it so his heavenly Father and Creator can “know,” (yâda‛) or be sure, of a surety, of his anxieties and fears. He then asks God to  “lead” (nâchâh) or govern, guide him to “everlasting” (‛ôlâm  ‛ôlâm), or eternity.The boldness, humbleness and confidence found in these verses continues to sit on my heart. I keep asking myself:  Would I be bold enough to ask this of God? Do I really want Him to search my heart? ALLL of my heart, even the deepest recesses of it where it is all dirty, even those closets I like to keep locked?  Too often I ask for God to not test my heart, to leave it alone and give me ease in my life. I prefer to have no problems, to not be tested, to be comfortable. I wonder if we prefer to keep our hearts hidden from God. I also wonder if we realize He already knows the intimate recesses of our heart. Usually, we focus on the outward "stuff," the "stuff" others see, and forget that God sees all and knows all, even our deepest and darkest secrets (I John 3:20). BUT, we can take comfort in the last part of these group of verses, verse 24. David asks God to "lead me in the way everlasting."

Sure, heart surgery can be painful and the recovery can take a while, but is one that focuses on reflection and change in behavior and diet. For those with serious heart problems, it is necessary to ensure quality and quantitity of life here on this earth, something we hold so precious. But, itsn't it more important that we consider our "spiritual" heart's health? It is this heart that will lead us to our eternal home. So, let us not be afraid to ask God to search our hearts. Let us take some time for some serious soul and heart cleaning, humbling ourselves before the one who gave us this heart, and boldly ask Him to search our hearts, open it, examine it, check it out so He may lead us to our eternity. I am persuaded that it is not until we are able to ask Him to open us up, examine us and consider what we need to adjust that we share that great intimacy David had with the Father. It is only after our heart surgery that we can be clean, that we can have confidence and complete peace.

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