There is a story about a heart surgeon who finds himself seated with the family of a very young boy on the eve of surgery. The boy had been diagnosed with a rare and serious heart condition that would require immediate surgery, with a very limited chance of success. After explaining the complex surgery, the doctor first asked the parents if they had any questions, and after answering he turned to the young boy and asked the same question. The young boy looked at the surgeon and said, “No, I don’t think that I have any questions…but I do know what you’re going to find when you open up my heart and look inside!” A bit surprised, the surgeon asked the boy what he meant. “Well, you see, my Sunday School teacher says that Jesus lives in my heart. So…when you open it up tomorrow, I bet that you’ll find Him there!” Mildly frustrated, the doctor, who had seen too much pain and suffering to believe in God any longer, hadn’t really expected the boy to understand anyway. He made some polite conversation before quickly exiting the room. On the way out, the young boy shouted behind him, “When you find Jesus tomorrow, tell Him that I said ‘Hi!’”
The next evening, the doctor was seated at his desk, looking at a file that contained the results of the surgery that had occurred earlier that day. As the doctor stared at the file in disbelief, he grew angrier and angrier until at last he cried out at the top of lungs, “God, how am I supposed to tell this little boy that there is nothing that can be done for him and that he is going to die very soon!…and for that matter, what kind of a God are you if you let a little boy like this suffer and die with no hope of ever being saved?” To his surprise, God answered, “This young boy has lived a good life, and he has found meaning and purpose early because he has lived his life together with Me. Even in his final days, he is still making a difference in the lives of others because he cares enough to pay attention when I nudge him.”
For the surgeon, this wasn’t good enough, “What kind of a task could such a sick little boy accomplish in the world that could possibly make a difference in anyone’s life now?” Again, God responded, “This young boy is whole. He has lived out his purpose, and he is ready to come home.” Angry, confused, and crying, the surgeon shouted, “What purpose could possibly be worth all of this pain and suffering?” After a short pause, God very simply whispered, “He brought you back to me.” Speechless, the doctor laid his head down on his desk and wept.
A short while later, the doctor was sitting next to the young boy who was still recovering from the recent surgery. The boy asked, “Did you open my heart up?” “Yes,” the doctor replied. “What did you find there?” asked the young boy. With tears in his eyes, the doctor quietly whispered, “I found Jesus.”
Isn’t it interesting how willing we are to allow ourselves to ignore God’s nudges? We have a tendency to convince ourselves that ignoring them isn’t really that big a deal, that we can’t make that much of a difference in the world anyway. If you want to make a bigger difference in your world this year, start paying attention to those nudges when they come your way. If you do, you might just be surprised at how God works through you to help a very lost and lonely someone find the way home.