heart defects

Current world events are heartbreaking.

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Yet, as warships take up strategic positions in fragile alliances, we worship him who made the sea and pray for peace.  As the use of artillery heightens, we refuse to be shaken and exercise faith that the spiritual weapons of prayer and a disciplined mind in Christ will deepen agile trust in the knowledge that ultimate victory between good and evil has been secured at the cross.

We have awakened to a changing reality, but we know his promises will never fail.

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.’

We are ever invited to be filled with the hope he instills.

As a global community, we appear to be marching across sinking sands of shifting coalitions and diversely entrenched ideals colliding in a whirlwind of atrocities and atrociously difficult choices.  Walls of distinction between good and evil contain gaping holes in our time which erode our ability to function with human dignity and compassion. Heart defects of the soul.

It all has the potential to be very unnerving, but we are called to serve a message of quiet strength as those who are enabled to be more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us until his kingdom comes.   (Romans 8: 31-39)

[The righteous person] will have no fear of bad news; his [or her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  (Psalm 112:7)

Our heart. Steadfast. Because of him.

A number of years ago, one of our children was diagnosed with a heart defect.

This congenital condition enables blood to flow between what should be two distinctly separate left and right atrial chambers thus causing an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain, organs, and tissues, and enlarging the heart muscle by virtue of the extra workload required to sustain the body’s needs.  The compromised walls of division between oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood greatly weaken and limit the ability to thrive.

Due to the extent of damaged heart tissue involved, the way forward was unclear.

On the same day we were given this medical report, an invitation to a women’s retreat with the above verse as its theme awaited our return.  Instead of using the typical picture of a heart shaped symbol, the logo on the brochure was the depiction of an ECG graph. Never before or after … but on the very afternoon we were digesting the news of pending open-heart cardiac surgery for our child under less than desirable conditions, this comforting consolation arrived.

Several months later, several unexpected delays later, several specialists and specialized hospitals later when we desperately wanted our child to get the help she needed, a new technique and medical device became available and a less intrusive surgery was successfully completed.  She was restored to full health, better than she’d ever been.

God holds our beating hearts as we race into uncertain days.

Due to the extensive defects of the human heart, it seems to me that the only healing way forward becomes clear.  We need the surgical hands of a loving God to respond to our cry for salvation as we cry to him with repentant hearts.  We plead and keep pleading for his grace and mercy until the walls of division are healed in Christ and ask that he will give us love for one another as those each made in his image, that we will worship him as he deserves by living the way he designed us to be, that we will forgive as we have been forgiven.

Not to be deterred from practices and prayer which shape our souls as those who love and serve the world in the hope of his coming kingdom of righteousness, we lay down all which consumes our energy, time and resources in negative unfruitful ways to let the pulse of his heart beat through us in every thought, word, and action.

Will the church’s walls of confidence in Christ be breached where we confront ideologies of wholesale cruelty, coerced conversion, and absolute control?  Have we grown so nervous as to be scared to ask politically incorrect questions?  Have we been scarred by apathetic submission to a floundering culture?

Not to be unconcerned with the needs of the neighbours we see nearby, we also display deep interest in the fate of Christians in dire situations wherever they are and stand in solidarity with them, hearts full of love for our brothers and sisters wherever they are.

‘Lord, we become breathless from a lack of Spirit Wind and lose our way when the course of events we face is long and gruelling whenever we fail to sit in your presence and be renewed by your perspective and inner power.  Repair any broken walls in us so faithfulness and godly wisdom will thrive and we will live as those who shine your light in dark places, covering over holes of hatred with your love to praise you in the storm. Help us raise your flag of coming deliverance, surrendered to your will.    

Touch the hearts of those facing horrendous events with your near presence, washing away debilitating fear with a profound sense of your love until the shout goes up with finality … the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, forever and ever.  Amen.’

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