The Sunday Sermonette – No Greater Love.

Is there anything cuter than a little baby? Squiggling around. Cooing. Smiling a toothless grin. Squealing with joy. Little arms stretched out, wanting to be held. And then, something that’s not supposed to happen, happens. The child’s heart begins a downward spiral for no apparent reason. Doctors rush in. Tests are completed. The baby’s sedated. Breathing tubes are attached. And then the doting parents and grandparents are given the devastating news: the baby, the light of their lives, needs a new heart. At that point, their lives take a turn.

    Waiting for a heart transplant can be a stressful and sometimes lengthy process. The wait for a heart transplant ranges from days to months or even years. The wait time depends on many factors, including how sick the patient is. Patients who are more critically ill receive priority as donor hearts become available.

      The families of those needing a heart transplant can experience an emotional rollercoaster ride as they support each other during the complicated wait process. The ride oft times produces anxiety. Its symptoms include crying spells, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, or a loss of energy. Family members can feel remorse as well.

     Not long ago, dear friends of mine experienced the rollercoaster ride of heart transplants. One day, their adorable grandchild was healthy and growing like the proverbial weed. Then suddenly, he was taken ill, and the results of a litany of tests were this: the child needed a heart transplant. Thus, their wait began. They supported their son and daughter-in-law, with continuous prayers, as did their church and Sunday School Class. However, the baby’s tiny heart continued to weaken. A donor was needed.

    One day at church, while talking with the child’s grandfather, he touched me with these words, “Our entire family is thankful for our loving prayer warriors who pray constantly for our grandchild. God is certainly listening and responding with blessings beyond our imagination. But don’t forget to pray for another family, a family that is facing a tragedy that no family should ever experience, the pain and agony of losing their precious child so my precious grandchild can live.”                            

     Riding home from church that day, my friend’s touching words raced through my mind. I’d never really thought about a heart transplant in those terms: someone must die so that someone else can live. And then it dawned on me—is that not the true meaning of Easter? Jesus Christ, God’s only son, had to give up his life and die in agony on a cruel cross so that we, His Father’s creations, can live eternally with Him. Jesus willingly gave up his life for us. The family of that dying baby willingly gave up the heart of their cherished baby so it could be transplanted into another baby’s body so that baby might live.  

     Today is Easter. As you go through the day surrounded by the world’s version of Easter—painted eggs, chocolate bunnies, and fuzzy chicks—please remember Jesus’ words to his disciples: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Please remember the family’s willingness to give their child’s heart to another so that child might live. And never forget the willingness of Jesus Christ to die for us so that we can live eternally with him in a place of true love and true peace, with no heartache, misery, or pain. He is risen! Hallelujah!  

     Ponder this and go forth.