By: The Right Reverend Father Michael D. Jordan
I came across a story that was particularly touching this week. It was passed around in the Daily Dose devotional. The author of this story is unknown. It's about a doctor having a conference with a small boy and his parents in the hospital:
"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..." "You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted. The surgeon looked, annoyed and continued. "I'll cut your heart open," he continued, "to see how much damage has been done..." "But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there." The boy interrupted again! The surgeon looked over at the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart and chest back up and I'll plan what we'll do next."
"But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there. You'll find Jesus in my heart!" The surgeon was growing weary of the boy's interruptions. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart. I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well." "You'll find Jesus in there too. He lives there!" The surgeon finally left the room.
Following the surgery, the surgeon sat in his office, recording notes from the surgery, "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: pain killers and bed rest. Prognosis:, " here he paused, "death within one year."
He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said. "Why?" He asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You've put him here; You've put him in this pain; and You've cursed him to an early death. Why?"
The Lord answered and said, "The little boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."
The tears streamed down the surgeon's face, but his anger was not calmed. "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?" The Lord answered, "The little boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he has already done his duty: I did not put this little lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb." The surgeon wept!
Later that day, the surgeon sat beside the boy's bed; the boy's parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" "Yes," said the surgeon. "What did you find?" the boy asked. "I found Jesus there!" The surgeon replied!
The surgeon questioned God's purpose in bringing the boy into the world only to suffer and die at a very young age. Actually, this boy's sole purpose was to bring the surgeon back into God's flock. Sometimes we question God the same way the surgeon did when we see children suffering. Perhaps they are on a similar mission, just like the little boy with the heart problem.
Why would God pick a little child? You might ask. Because children have an honest innocence and purity that you rarely find in adults. The boy's message to the surgeon was simple and effective. The message was not tainted with ulterior motives, it was just pure, simple truth! The surgeon, as an adult, only saw a terrible situation that would lead to the boy's physical death. He did not even think to look for the blessing that this child's life was to him. He failed to recognize the wonderful way that God's grace worked through the little boy.
"… The Disciples asked Jesus, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them and said. Verily I say unto you, except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:1-4
We spend all of our lives trying to be adults, hiding our true feelings. We learn to withhold love and compassion for fear of rejection. We evolve into people who hold grudges and fail to forgive and forget. We learn to look at the big picture, while neglecting to see the beauty of the moment at hand. In search of the truth, we often ignore it when it appears right under our very noses!
As a result of becoming adults, we abandon unconditional love in favor of selective love for only those who meet our approval. The message Jesus gave us through the Scripture passage above is quite clear. We have to become like children to behold the Father. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
During the Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior. God the Father, in His infinite goodwill toward mankind, gave us the gift of His Only-Begotten Son so that we could become part of His Holy flock. God the Father knew that His precious Son would have to suffer greatly for the ultimate good of mankind; however, He did not spare Him this suffering.
Even though Jesus is the King of all, He was not born like a king. Although He is God Incarnate, His humble birth set an example of how we should be. Although He is the Son of God, He chose poverty, suffering and self-sacrifice in order to give us a priceless Christmas gift of eternal life! Christ is Born - Glorify Him!
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