'create in me a clean heart, oh God...'
saturday morning i was at an event where a praise team was leading us in worship and one of the songs they were singing has these words:
change my heart, o God
make it ever true
change my heart, o God
may i be like you.
it had never occurred to me before, and didn't that morning, either, until the third time through the song.
"change my heart?" i thought to myself while singing the words. "o God!" my mind immediately thought of a man in my church who i will call jh. jh went into the hospital at the beginning of january for a double knee replacement surgery. everything seemed to go well with the surgery and when i went to the hospital to visit him the next day everything seemed to be great other than his blood pressure being a little low. a few days later he left the hospital and went to a rehab center to begin working with his new knees.
but the next morning he had a heart attack and landed back in the hospital. to skip over many of the details and several subsequent surgeries, he is currently waiting for a heart transplant, his family standing vigilant watch, hoping that a matching heart comes along soon.
as i stood in my pew on saturday, i couldn't help but think of the family, slouching there in a waiting room, listening to the drone of flourescent lights and various vending machines. i couldn't help but think of jh, lying there under anesthesia, not even aware of what has happened to him this last week, let alone what is about to happen. i couldn't help but think of whose heart might soon be put in jh's chest, as i stood in that comfortable sanctuary and sang "change my heart, o God."
words can mean such different things, depending on our perspective.
my perspective on saturday was one that included more than just my thoughts of jh and his family. to be honest, i was thinking of myself, too.
you may recall (as i did write about it, rather dramatically) that i went to the doctor in july, had bloodwork done, and was told that my cholesterol was a little high. you may also recall that i resolved to exercise more and eat better, which i did well until november. i have a long list of really valid excuses to explain (and by explain i mean rationalize) why i stopped, but i will spare you. the point is that i stopped.
i went back to the doctor last week for a 6-month revisit. they took blood (which was a much more pleasant experience) and called me the next day with my results. not so good. the bad cholesterol was up and the good cholesterol was down (sounds like paul in romans 7:15-17). the nurse told me that the doctor wanted to put me on a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. but i refused, determined to find a way to do this thing with diet and exercise. so, with shannon's help, some internet research and a new book on the subject, i have made some important changes in my life (changes that include things like flaxseed, oatmeal, plant sterols, long chain omega-3 fatty acids and so on).
and so i had a great deal going on in my mind as i sang "change my heart." i remembered david's words from psalm 51: "create in me a clean heart, o God." i'm sure he wasn't thinking about getting the gunk out of his arteries, but i am. i'm sure he wasn't thinking about jh and others lying in beds in newark, nj, waiting for other people's insides, but i am.
i understand the spiritual aspect of all those words. i get that. but sometimes life is just downright physical. sometimes it is as simple as dirt and skin and tissue and blood. sometimes its as human as a heartbeat, and all we can say, in so many ways, is, "change my heart, o God."