It was 1967 in South Africa. Louis Washkansky, a middle-aged grocer, had only weeks to live. His heart was flabby and scarred and failing fast.
Then a young woman named Denise was fatally struck by a car. Her family donated her heart. And Dr. Christiaan Barnard attempted the “surgical equivalent of Mount Everest”: the first successful heart transplant. Six hours later, Louis’ new heart was in place. An electric current was applied. Louis’ heart leaped . . . and began to beat.
Denise’s gift gave Louis an extra 18 days of life before pneumonia claimed him.
Three thousand years ago in Jerusalem, King David was crushed by the spiritual state of his heart. Every heartbeat condemned him. Coveting. Adultery. Murder. Cover-up. His eternal future depended on one thing: a gift of mercy. He begged God for a transplant.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10).
A doctor might give our hearts a thumbs-up, but God sees something different, something dire. He sees a heart like King David’s: bloated by ego, scarred by sin, failing to meet God’s holy standards. What can we do? When our hearts condemn us, we can only fall on God’s mercy and beg God to give us new hearts.
And that’s what he does. In a wondrous exchange, he removes our rotten hearts and implants the pure heart of his Son. Jesus carried our foul hearts to the cross and died because of them. We are blessed with Jesus’ heart through faith. We will live forever because of that gift.