by Alan Bailey
When life seems a bit mundane, a bit ordinary, think about what is going on inside your body. One of the many things we take for granted is that wonderful pump, the heart. We don't even feel its action most of the time but it is working away day and night keeping us alive.
It is amazingly efficient. Its job is to keep a river of life flowing through our blood vessels. There is no provision for a shut-down for repairs, or for a monthly service; it must keep pumping, hour by hour day by day and year by year. Muscles expand and contract, valves open and shut, all prompted by nerve impulses.
Sure, many folk have problems with disorders and diseases. This doesn't reflect on the design and efficiency of the healthy organ. Very often it reflects on the way we treat our bodies.
The other heart
There is another wonder within us, also called the heart. In our culture we know what is meant by reference to the heart when talking of feelings, decisions and affections. To say "I felt deep in my heart that she was right" is easily understood. We talk about loving with all our heart. Some decisions seem to be made in the heart rather than in the head.
We all realise that we are not referring to the faithful pump when we speak in this way. We are thinking about the core of our being, the place where we hold counsel, where deepest feelings lie buried in a world of personal privacy. It is the seat of personality, the sum of all that is important to us as human beings.
The health question
This heart is also subject to fault. Even disease. Yes, capable of much that we may see as good, but alas, capable of everything awful under the sun. As Jesus said "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander." Elsewhere we read "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?"
Change of heart
Since Christian Barnard pioneered heart transplant surgery, countless people have benefitted by heart operations. Is it possible that changes can be made to the other heart we have talked about? Yes, radical changes can be made. The Bible says "If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creature; the old has passed away; the new has come."
An in-depth encounter with Christ makes changes in us. We will never be the same again. Obviously, there are many vestiges of the old person still there that often surface. But the heart is different. Outlooks alter and new qualities appear. A Christian is working on the problem of increasing the virtue, decreasing the vice. Or, if you like, living in the power of the risen Christ.
Two healthy hearts add up to one large blessing. •