“Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”
I “get” the hymn writer’s meaning. I’ve read a bit of his background. He was a man who struggled with doubts. He eventually lost his faith.
So, in that sense, I, too, pray that God seals my heart.
But yesterday I sang that song and I got a vivid picture of myself holding my heart out to God. “Here, Lord, keep it safe.”
And then, like the camera had zoomed in, I got a look at the object in my hands. Deep fissures cut through its surface. Rather than a healthy red, it was mottled with blue, green, and a white that looked like congealed fat. Swollen and puffy, it made me think of rotting chicken breasts.
It was unhealthy, incapable, and sick.
Sin is, according to a couple of the Greek definitions, a “missing the mark,” a “falling short.” My own riddled-with-sin heart is sinful because it is too diseased to “hit the mark”: to be true like God, to do good like God, to love like God.
And the heart I saw in my mental picture wasn’t just a little sickly. It was diseased through and through. “Oh, with THAT heart, God, how do I love anyone? How do I keep from slipping into despair?”
Paul asked something very like this: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
But he also had an answer: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
I sang the hymn again, but I changed a key word. I don’t want my heart sealed like THAT! I actually want a NEW heart, one infused with health, able to love and LIVE, to hope and rejoice.
“Take my heart, oh, take and HEAL it, heal it for Thy courts above”
Who will deliver me, both for eternity AND for this here-and-now life?
Thanks be to GOD, for He has and He WILL. He is the donor and the surgeon. He performed the initial transplant, giving me His own heart, and He is vigilant about follow-up care, making sure I do not reject the very thing that gives me life.
Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (KJV)
Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (KJV) (emphasis mine).
No wonder He is called the Great Physician.