Our youngest child was only six days old when he was rushed to hospital. We were about to discover Theodore had been born with a heart defect causing his pulse to race erratically and dangerously.

In the emergency room at the hospital they hooked our boy up to the ECG monitor. My wife and I knew immediately – by the audible gasps from the medical staff – the situation wasn’t good.

Young Theodore was showing a pulse of 280 beats per minute which is more than double the average infant’s heart rate. A team of three doctors and even more nurses tried a multiple treatments to bring our son’s heart rate down, but nothing was working. There was worry in the room that my infant son could die at any moment.

A medical specialist from a nearby hospital was called in. When she arrived she took a briefing from the existing staff and immediately called for a large bucket of ice-water. Then, this specialist doctor took hold of our six-day-old son and physically turned him upside-down, plunging him headfirst into the bucket of freezing water. She held him there for what seemed like eternity but in reality was only a few seconds – before she pulled Theodore back out of the bucket.

There was no change to our son’s racing heart. 

A second attempt, this time holding him a little longer upside down in the bucket. Everyone’s eyes turned to the monitor. The reading showed a sudden return to a normal heart rate. Relief!

I’ve since learned the human body has a number of natural reflexes that can restart our heart. Cold water on the face and head is one of them, and it’s the only one  feasible for use on an infant child.

According to the Bible all of us have been born with a spiritual heart defect. We have hearts defaulted to selfishness which was not in our Creator’s original design for us. The only way for us to have our heart spiritually restarted is to come to an understanding of the identity of Jesus Christ.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” was the prayer of a king three thousand years ago.* And for thirty centuries it has been the prayer of all repentant believers who have wanted their hearts restarted by God.

May it be your prayer today.

*Psalm 51:10


About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and lives on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.

Want to read more inspirational stories of faith from this series? Click here to read of one man’s sacrifice on the Kwai River in Burma.

David speaking 2

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