Friday, January 1, 2016

DEVOTION: A New Heart ~ by Shirley Corder

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

On the slopes of Devil's Peak, a mountain adjacent to Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, stands the magnificent Groote Schuur Hospital.

This is the hospital where I trained to be a nursing sister (RN), and whenever I look at it a myriad of memories flood into my mind. Behind the hospital is the nurses’ home where I lived when I first made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. A few weeks later, I met the young man who would one day become my husband. 

It is also the hospital which saw the world’s first ever human heart transplant.

In 1967, Professor Chris (Christiaan) Barnard performed this surgery on 53-year-old Mr. Louis Washkansky. Sadly, Mr. Washkansky died after 18 days due to pneumonia, but his new heart beat strongly to the end. 

Today, according to Wikipedia, 3,500 heart transplants are performed annually across the world. Recently, there has been a fascinating discovery. Several heart transplant recipients have reported how they have experienced memories, desires and even habits they never had before.

There is a story of a Spanish-speaking man who began using words he hadn’t previously used. The wife of the donor confirmed these were words her husband used to say. The recipient’s music preferences changed as did his choice of food. He went from being a vegetarian to craving red meat!

In another story, an 8-year-old girl received a heart from a 10-year-old girl who had been murdered. As a result of nightmares and help from a psychiatrist, the recipient was able to help police solve the case of the murdered donor. (Our own Harry Kraus has a book published called A Heartbeat Away which delves into this scenario. If you haven't read it, do yourselves a favour and get it here. It's a fabulous read.)

Some people have researched the background to their donated hearts, and a number of scientists have concluded that there appears to be some sort of intelligent memory tied into the heart. Is it possible? Critics argue these occurrences are not possible, but do the stories perhaps speak for themselves?

It is over 48 years since I gave my heart to my husband in marriage, and I started a new life as a young wife. It is over 52 years since I gave my heart to the Lord. But you know what? He gave me a new heart in return. A heart transplant, if you like. One which is just full of stories that speak for themselves. 

We have a New Year ahead of us. Let us make a new start once again, offering him our hearts of stone. Let us get busy creating new memories that will carry us way beyond 2016. 

And a very blessed New Year to you all!

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on her time in the cancer valley.

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  1. Hot diggidity, Shirley! Cool post! I hadn't read about the heart-transplant stories. That's really neat. And could you be trained in a more beautiful hospital? I think the wonderful thing about having a new heart in God, is that after so many years pass, you look back and think, that's who I was? And you don't recognize yourself

    1. You're so right Jenn. It was a very beautiful hospital and not only the biggest, the best in the Southern Hemisphere in those days. I only learned about the heart memories a year or two back, so when I first read Harry's book I thought he had a great imagination!