Posted by: in Uncategorized on April 5th

Perhaps the word surreal is fitting. It was definitely a surreal day when we broke through the guarding gates of the ribs, drew back the curtains of the pleural sack, and exposed it: the human heart, incredible even in its stillness. Even after my anatomy classmates and I thoroughly explored the atria and ventricles, teased out the intricate cardiac vessels, and were dumbfounded by the parachute-like valves and the strength of its walls, it is still amazing.

And then I consider the heart of God.

When I think of exploring the heart of God, I shrink myself down and wander inside an image of the human heart I cradled in my hands. But this is God’s heart and so it is an image of tiny, insignificant me, wandering in a cavernous, majestic space filled with a thunderous, crashing, driving heartbeat.

It is the heartbeat that captures my attention and becomes my prayer: Lord, I want to know your heartbeat. May my heart beat for the same.

That prayer slides clearly into focus with the words of Henri Nouwen in his book, In the Name of Jesus: Perspectives on Christian Leadership, emphasis added:

In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out and wants to heal. In that heart there is no suspicion, no vindictiveness, no resentment, and not a tinge of hatred. It is a heart that wants only to give love and receive love in response. It is a heart that suffers immensely because it sees the magnitude of human pain and the great resistance to trusting the heart of God who wants to offer consolation and hope.

May my heart beat for the same.

The apostle John was called the one who Jesus loved. Perhaps it was because he found his way to Jesus’ side, and there rested his head on Jesus’ chest, and truly heard the heartbeat of Christ. It radically changed his life.

Peter was asked three times by Jesus if he loved Him. Peter said yes, and Jesus told him to feed His sheep. Peter realized that to love Jesus was to love what He loved – to have a heart that beat for the same thing. And his life became devoted to Jesus Christ, the One he loved and the One who loves unconditionally.

Paul was caught on the road by that heart that reached out and forgave without a tinge of hatred. It transformed his life.

My life is still in need of transforming. My heart still skips beats, or runs far away from the rhythm of His. And therein lies a great example of the love and graciousness of Jesus’ heart. He reaches down with his unrelenting and ever merciful love to rescue a life and then gently commands that life to love in the same way it has been loved. And when we fail to do so, He reminds us again and gives us another chance.

Forgiving, caring, reaching, longing to heal, without suspicion, without vindictiveness, lacking resentment, not a tinge of hatred, giving love, receiving love, suffering immensely, offering consolation and hope. What an amazing gift that we possess and must give away. What an opportunity, what a great responsibility!

May my heart beat for the same.

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