“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
It is like a modified oxymoron when you receive a ‘life sentence’ as your punishment. A life sentence is a prison term that typically lasts for one’s lifetime. Isn’t that really a death sentence?
I want to explore the term ‘life sentence’ in both the physical and spiritual realm. In 2013, I was living a death sentence as my heart was in poor condition. Physically I could do no strenuous work, get too emotional or forget to take my medication. I was taking a stroll towards the grave and about to take a dirt nap.
Exhaustion and worry consumed me with thoughts of when a stroke would hit or my heart would give out. My irregular heartbeat would sometimes get stuck on full steam ahead; my chances of suffering a stroke increased dramatically. This required visits to the ER to get it back to normal rhythm. I asked my cardiologist, “how fast of a heart rate is too fast?” and “how long of a period of an increased heart rate is too long?” His response was, “As long as you can take it!” I told him I cannot live this way. He informed me of a new procedure called an ablation which could only be performed by a Medical Doctor of Cardiac Electrophysiology. Long story short, here’s a fast forward from Broken Walk: Searching For Wisdom to the recovery room:
“After a three-hour heart ablation, I woke up in recovery with 10-12 other patients that had just come out of surgery. My mind went into ‘test mode’ for determining if I had suffered a stroke. I stuck out my tongue and moved it from right to left. If my tongue remained limp, I failed the test if it was hanging to one side. This would mean I was stroked out. As my tongue slid into my mouth, I smiled and thanked God out loud. A nurse said, “He’s not supposed to be awake yet!” My next test was to perform a memory check conducted by Dr. Roo (me). This self-test was to check my brain as I excavated in the caverns of my memory. As I remembered Christmas in 1958, I saw my cousin Mariam receiving a toy monkey with cymbals and I shouted, “Yes!” As I raised my right arm in praise, a nurse reprimanded me and told me to ‘Be still!’ Hmmm ... I’ve heard those words before. God had brought me back from the dead.”
On the physical side, I am feeling great seven years after the ablation. I occasionally do dumb things like going into a room in the house and not remembering why. LOL
On the spiritual side, I was a walking, clueless zombie.
On November 13, 1999, my life changed! I was given an eternal life sentence by Jesus Christ. I am a new creation and now, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 So, read this part closely, if I no longer live does that mean I received a death sentence? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! It is another modified oxymoron in the spiritual realm as I have been given life abundantly. I have never had more freedom! Now I pray that as a ‘prisoner for the Lord’ (Ephesian 4:1) that I am able to live a life worthy of the calling I have received. Thank you Jesus!
When I sincerely asked Jesus to come into my heart on that crisp November morning, my change was instant. Immediately, a wave of warmth covered me from head to toe and electricity danced in my veins. My lungs got unclogged as I breathed in Life. A 100-pound weight was taken off my shoulders.
I have wondered if a heart physically changes when you receive salvation. The following is taken in part from Broken Walk: Searching For Wisdom.
“If my heart could talk, would it tell you my addiction to alcohol is gone? Would feelings of anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy, plotting revenge, unforgiveness, loneliness, and selfishness no longer be there?
Does a heart make a noise when it changes? Is there a sound when it transforms from stone to freshly plowed ground? Does the blood flow sound like a babbling brook? Would the sound you hear resemble a giggle from a young child? Does a heart sing when your soul is forgiven? Is there a sweet sound like a bird’s song as it awaits the sunrise? Perhaps the sound is like the delicate ping from the triangle during a symphony. Once you get set free, your heart will never be the same. My heart now sings perpetual tunes without words and will never stop praising.”
Jesus gave me a Life Sentence … so now I will spend the rest of my life in solitary confinement serving Him only. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one Faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6
Are you ready to receive your life sentence?