Vital Signs

Spiritual Care
The Heart’s Job
Sunday evening I found myself in the emergency room of our local hospital. Rich took me there for assessment of hives that made my skin burn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. I prepared for a long night, as the waiting room was full.
Apparently chest pain is a free pass to the head of the line, as I was taken to the treatment area immediately. Several hours later I was being wheeled upstairs to a room: the doctor supervising my care felt that a cardiac workup was in order to rule out the possibility that I’d had a heart attack.
Once I was settled in my bed, I took stock of my surroundings. On the wall opposite my bed, I saw a whiteboard. On it was written the date, my nurse’s name, my room number, and a list of tests to be done that day.
I spent two days in the hospital. At each shift change, my nurse would update the board, adding the nurse’s name, changing the date, and modifying the list of procedures scheduled for that day.
I was struck by the entry on the line labeled “Spiritual Care.” It read, “Heart monitor vital signs” and that phrase remained on the board for the duration of my stay.
To amuse myself, I mentally punctuated that phrase, trying to transform it into a sentence. I tried a number of possibilities and finally settled on:
Heart: monitor [for] vital signs!
I went to my bible to see what scripture I could find about the human heart and the vitality that resides there.
Here are my favorites:
2 Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.

Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of Your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to Your truth.
Psalm 26:2-3 (NLT)

9 “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
1 Chronicles 28:9 (NLT)

23 Guard your heart above all else,

for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17 (NASB)

13 A glad heart makes a happy face;

a broken heart crushes the spirit.
14 A wise person is hungry for knowledge,
while the fool feeds on trash.
15 For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:13-15 (NLT)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (NASB)

11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)