As a young atheist and professor at Oxford described the experience, “For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was legion.” (C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy) All this sin, we are told, proceeds from our sinful hearts. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil” (Luke 6:45). Indeed, it is our sinful hearts that hide our true sinfulness from us, because “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked?” (Jer. 17:9).
And so we find that, like Brody, our hearts are the source of our problem. We are not going to get better. No regimen or treatment will help us—our defective hearts must be replaced or we will die. Brody had to go on a list and wait. No amount of money could purchase what he needed. If no one would give him a heart, he would die.
Our case is similar, but the Bible has wonderful news for all of us in this desperate situation. It tells us that such a gift is available: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).
Even better, there’s no waiting list, this replacement heart is available immediately, and once it replaces our own heart, we will not only continue to live, we will enjoy a different quality of life.
Everyone dreaded the call because the procedure involved serious risks. Before the healthy heart could be implanted, his own heart would have to be removed. Once surgery began, there would be no turning back. With all these thoughts in the back of their minds, Bill and Jill roused themselves in the predawn dark, preparing themselves and Brody for the fateful journey to the hospital. Once there, they saw their son wheeled off on a gurney.
We, also, must go through a kind of death first. Just as Brody had to allow surgeons to remove his own heart before a transplant, so we must give up on our natural heart. We must recognize that we need more than a touch-up here and there, more than a minor adjustment or correction—we need radical surgery. Nothing less will do.
This frightening risk provided one reason Brody and his parents dreaded the call that a heart had become available. And although Brody’s parents rejoiced at the opportunity for a better life for their son, another, more somber reality intruded. They recognized that the same event that gave them new hope had dashed the hopes of some other family. Brody’s chance at life came at the cost of someone else’s death.