(The Lord God says) "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules." Ezekiel 36:26-27
Years ago in one of my parishes, I spent some months watching one of the ladies in my congregation die.
She was, in the scheme of things, relatively young, in her early 40s. She was dying because she had a bad heart. It simply couldn't do the job. Doctors couldn't change things. Sure, they gave her drugs, a host of medications to keep her going, but all of those prescriptions were only temporary. Some of them made her feel nauseated and physically drained.
She was dying.
She knew she would never be there for the weddings of some of her children. She would never hold a grandchild on her lap and get to spoil him.
She agonized for days about how much of a goodbye she should give to her husband. She had things to say, but she didn't want to add to his worry. She was dying. He was going to be alone. She was dying, and there was no cure.
Then, in a different state, a young man had an accident.
For the young man there were no farewells to his family or friends. There was no time to prepare. There was an accident, and he was gone. His wife donated his organs. The member of my church got a call. "Be at the hospital in an hour. We have a tissue match: a young man. We have a new heart for you."
She was there. The surgery worked. She went home. She had to keep taking medicines, but different medicines now: medicines to stop her body from rejecting a new heart. But she came home. She came home with color in her cheeks. She came home able to move around, slowly at first, but she could actually get up out of a chair. She came home. She came home with a future. That young man had died; unintentionally, he had died, so she might live.
Within my lady friend there grew a great desire to know more about this man who had given her life.
She was grateful for what she had received, although grateful is hardly a strong enough word. Every breath she took, every day she lived -- was because of his heart.
I tell you that story, because if you have the ability to understand the feelings of that woman, you can understand why we should be thankful to the Lord Jesus for the intentional sacrifice He made, which has cleansed us from our sins and saved our souls.
You can understand why you should be grateful, since our eternity has been won by Him offering up His holy, precious blood and because of His innocent suffering and death.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that because of the Savior's sacrifice and the Holy Spirit's work, I have been called to saving faith and forgiven. Grant that my gratitude will find expression in unending praise to my Redeemer and Lord. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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