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Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, and it isn’t often that we ever hear of any good coming from a tragedy like that. But for Anna Lewis, that’s exactly what happened last year. The loss of her 31-year-old son to a car accident was transformed into a moment of incredible beauty. How? She heard her son’s heart beating again, this time in the chest of Greg Robbins, a man who desperately needed a transplant to survive. Now, thanks to Anna’s son, Greg has a new heart and a new chance at life.
The meeting was incredibly bittersweet, of course. But Anna found lasting comfort in the fact that her son gave life to another. His heartbeat, the same one that Anna no doubt had heard many times through his life as she raised him – was still echoing, but this time in the body of someone else. Her son’s death had given another man new life.
That’s a lot like the new life we’re invited into through Christ. The offer of salvation really involves a real exchange: his life, for ours. Without him, we have no hope of spiritual life in personal union and communion with God through him. In fact, we all desperately need a spiritual ‘heart transplant’ so that we don’t simply die a final death due to sin and alienation from God. And that’s exactly what God promises us: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 NIV).
But in order for this transplant to occur, Christ had to join himself to human nature and experience our death, so that his new and resurrected heart could live on through us and give us a perfectly right relationship of trusting love for God. Paul talks about it in second Corinthians: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
When we accept the free gift of salvation and enter into a personal, vital and growing relationship with the triune God, Christ’s life becomes our own. And just like Anna, God hears the heartbeat of his own son echoing through us, and sees in us the same righteousness of Christ which he continually shares with us by the Spirit’s dwelling in us.
So the next time you pause and listen to your heart, remember that it isn’t just yours beating in there anymore – the heartbeat of Christ now echoes in you too!
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.