I have some wonderful DNA in me, both the physical kind and that of the spiritual nature. But due to the nature of this fallen creation, I do have some “not-so-wonderful” DNA. On both sides of my DNA is a history of cardiovascular issues. My Dad has been on hypertension medications since he was in his late 30’s. About two and a half years ago, at the age of 58 I began taking hypertension medications. At the age of 88 he had triple bypass surgery and since 2008 I have had 2 arteriograms due to severe chest pains. The first time I found out it was my gall bladder and the last time, my heart doc call it unspecified angina due to stress. A pastor experiencing stress, who ever heard of such a thing! Inconceivable!
Recently I have been experiencing something different. I truly hate to sound like a hypochondriac, but due to the aforementioned DNA, my wife insists I go see our cardiologist. It felt like my heart was racing away and I have a few episodes where it felt like my heart was bouncing against my sternum. I checked my heart rate and it was 180 beats per minute. Don’t think that was in the normal range. The pain wasn’t sharp, but a real sense of pressure; and after the heart rate returned to normal, exhaustion. So I went to see my Heart Doc. He knows about my DNA (he’s also my Dad’s Heart Doc) so he put a 24 hour heart monitor on me to record every heart beat and my heart rate for that 24 hours.
When I went back for the results, he wasn’t pleased with the report. He asked me if I wanted to go to Huntsville, Nashville or Birmingham. Our area does not have the specialist I needed. It seems he thinks I have this thing called Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. I have had heart rates as high at 184 beats per minute. My local heart doc does not do what needs to be done. He said he is a cardiac plumber but I need to see a cardiac electrician, someone who is known as a cardiac electrophysiologist.
Well, last week I had my first appointment with the cardiac electrician, Dr. Paul Tabereaux. He confirmed that my heart has some electrical issues and sat down with me to explain my options (I like options!). I could take some medication to control it but it would leave me feeling like I felt after an episode, but it would be all the time. I don’t like that option. The other option would be to have a procedure called an ablation which should solve the problem. Oh well, so much for options because I do not want to take more medicine.
This, call it “life-event”, has brought to mind Psalm 139:23 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Dr. Tabereaux described this procedure to me and Debbie in detail. Entering through a femoral vein, he would insert a catheter, actually several. Once inside my heart he would create a 3-D map of the inside of my heart. Then he will send electrical impulses into my heart in order to identify the problem. Oh, the problem! Well it seems that these things called nodes have created an electrical loop causing my heart to beat very fast, too fast. Once the loop is located he will proceed to “burn” part of that loop, thus interrupting that loop by scaring a part of my heart muscle.
Now some, may wonder how creating this “scar” will help my heart. He assured us that it would do the trick and set my heart back into normal rhythm and thus ending these palpitations. Not only do I have Dr. Tabereaux’s assurance, but I know some people who have had the same procedure by the same doctor and they are doing well and living their lives. So that gives us a calmness because the idea of poking around inside, I said INSIDE my heart, well that is a bit disconcerting. And then burning part of my heart? He says it will work and I have the personal testimony of others who said it works.
And it hit me, this describes what the Psalmist is talking about in today’s passage. He said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart”, similar to what this cardiac electrician knows about my physical heart. Then he writes, “test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Similar to what this cardiac electrician will do to my physical heart.
Sometimes, the things we put into our hearts, or that we have allowed to stay in our hearts, creates a loop where we never move forward, never move beyond. And at our invitation, God will come and help identify those “anxious loops” that keep us from going further, growing deeper, and trusting God even more. The Monday morning attitude is fueled by those “loops”. Maybe your loop is fear, control, guilt, anger, lust, or shame, just to name a very few.
One of the worst things that can create this “loop” that keeps us from the normal rhythm of Kingdom Life is living outside God’s design for you. A word that best describes this “loop” that many do not like to use or hear is sin. We can blame others, or accept the lie that says, “Well, I was just born this way. It’s who I am and it’s not my fault.” We need to trust God’s grace to repair these loops. And the only way He can repair these loops is to let Him into our hearts. Give Him access to every room, every “chamber” of our heart. Trust that He knows what He is doing, and listen to the testimony of others who have allowed The Eternal Cardiologist to work on their heart. Their testimony will be about what He “fixed” in them, not what He needs to “fix” in you. The truth is that God doesn’t “work” on our heart; He does something much better. He gives us a new heart!
And now I am waiting for Dr. Tabereaux’s office to call me as to when all this will happen. But in the meanwhile, I am allowing God to “burn off” some things that are keeping my spiritual heart in a loop, rather than following Him to become all He sees in me, all that He made me to be here in His creation.
When we allow God to look inside our hearts and give Him permission to go to work by removing anything that is contrary to His Intended Design for us, then we can say: “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?” Let’s pray:
I don’t know any better way to ask it, but the way the Psalmist puts it: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. I give you permission to look at everything and repair those “loops” that are keeping me away from the healthy rhythms of Kingdom Life. Oh, and help me remember I need to have follow-ups with you to make sure another “loop” doesn’t develop. Amen and Amen!