I’m praying for you to have a heart attack. A big one!
I don’t want you to die, and I hate for you to suffer. But it’s necessary. To explain what I mean about your heart, I need to tell you about my foot. (I know; it just gets weirder by the minute.)
Here’s the deal with my foot. It hurt. I don’t like pain, but this pain served a purpose. It was trying to tell me something important. My foot was screaming, “Hey, dummy! These new running shoes you put on me – the ones you bought on sale because you’re so cheap. They don’t fit right.”
I needed to get new shoes. But I hate to spend money. And, I had I just bought those. I didn’t want to change. So, I grew a callous instead. My skin in that spot got thicker and harder, and my foot hurt less. Eventually, I no longer felt anything there.
Same thing happens with hearts. Life rubs them raw. We bestow trust only to have it betrayed. We give love lavishly only to discover that it’s not always returned. Our pain produces a callous. We stop feeling. We stop caring, and we lock ourselves in tight little protective compartments.
Jesus said it had happened to some, even in God’s country: “this people's heart has become calloused” (Matthew 13:15).
Seems safe. Feels protected. But Jesus warns that, if a heart is calloused, God’s message won’t penetrate. If he can’t penetrate, he can’t produce. Calluses block his word. Nothing in; nothing out.
That’s where the heart attack comes in. Something has to split that thick, hardened shell to let God in. Only then can his love flow back out.
Peter caused 3000 people to have heart attacks. Hearing that they were complicit in the execution of God’s chosen one, they “were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). It was fatal. That day, they all died to themselves, were buried with Christ in baptism, and were raised to live a new life (See Acts 2:41 and Romans 6:1-4).
Paul unapologetically prompted heart attacks in Christians in Corinth. “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter,” he says. “I do not regret it. . . Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Corinthians 7:8, 10).
What about us? Have we stopped feeling? Stopped caring? If so, I’m praying we have a heart attack.