Rod Carew, former Hall of Fame baseball player with the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels, was golfing one September day in 2015 when he had a massive heart attack. He lived, but the doctors told him he would need a heart transplant and for the next year he survived with the help of a mechanical device serving as his heart. And then, in December 2016, a donor was finally found.
Rod Carew’s survival came with the death of Konrad Reuland, a former tight end for four different NFL football teams. On December 12, 2016, Konrad passed away from a brain aneurism. It was a disaster for his family, but for Rod Carew, it marked the gift of life. They were a match, and within days, Carew underwent a successful 13-hour heart and kidney transplant.
Coincidentally, Carew’s new heart came from a young man he had met twenty years earlier. Konrad met Rod Carew when he was eleven years old. An avid fan in the years to follow, he never knew the impact he would have on Rod Carew’s life. The death of the one man was, for another, many more years of life!
I am reminded of something the Prophet Ezekiel wrote when the people of Israel were in need of new life from God. Concerning a day yet to come, Ezekiel wrote, “I will gather you from the nations and bring you back. … I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”
God has his hands on the people of Israel. Their return to Palestine in 1948 was not coincidental; it was only the first step toward the fulfillment of that promised by the Prophet Ezekiel. Keep your eyes on the Middle East.
To understand something of what God has in mind, we need to note what He has already done in the life of every Christian. He has, indeed, taken our “heart of stone” and given us a “heart of flesh,” a new heart, responsive to His will. More than a change in point of view, Christianity is an experience. Becoming a Christian involves more than a new belief system. The Christian faith initiates a fundamental transformation, a change of heart, a miracle worthy of our God.
This transformation comes with new drives, new desires, and a new perspective on life. Nothing mysterious here, but the change is real. “If any man be in Christ,” writes the Apostle Paul, “he is a new creation.” This gift of life, equally critical to our eternal survival, is available to us all. And it’s only a prayer away!