"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13
When I speak to groups, I often include stories about the heart transplant I received eight years ago at the age of 71. I joke that I now have the heart of a woman, so I'm entitled to do things like being late and changing my mind.
But that's not to say that I take the miracle of life lightly. Far from it! My heart transplant was a miracle.
When I was waiting for a heart, a woman with my same rare blood type was waiting for new lungs. Her heart had been working harder to make up for her weakened lungs, so it had an enlarged right ventricle. Her heart was unsuitable for almost any recipient, but miraculously, just right for me. She received a new heart and lungs from another donor, and I was given her heart.
We see a lot in the news these days about the quality and sanctity of life and debate over when life begins. The debates go on about abortion, stem cell research, cloning, and euthanasia. For me, the important point is that life is a sacred gift from God. He made us for a purpose, and we are His children. So we should celebrate the miracle of life every day.
Few of us will ever have the perfect hair and bodies of the models on the magazine covers. There will always be people who are more intelligent and more talented. But instead of coveting what we may not have, we should accept who we are, because that's the way God made us. He made us each as unique individuals. That should be enough to make us thankful for each breath we take.
Yet, we too often take life for granted or we give ourselves all the credit for our lives. We are fixated in our country with being self-made. We admire those who are independent and who climb to the top on their own. But we really cannot be self-made people. We are God-made people.
When I was waiting for a heart donor so that I could have the transplant operation that would save my life, I told my family and friends that I knew the Lord was in charge of my life. I said, "If He wants me to live longer, then this is going to work well. And if He says, 'That's it,' then that's okay too. I know where I'm going, and I'm at peace. I have no fear of dying."
God gave us life, and it's wonderful. Let's thank God every day for this gift and appreciate the marvelous bodies and minds with which He has blessed us. But if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you know this gift of life is even more precious, because life on earth is only the beginning and a just a taste of eternity.