Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Week Forty-Four - My Achy-Breaky Heart

Beside the Well
            When you have a doctor friend, and a spouse experiencing medical issues, you learn all kinds of neat stuff.  My husband has A-fibrillation of the heart, which is controlled by medication.  My doctor friend sent us a YouTube video explaining the workings of the heart with the intention of teaching us more about it, but of course, we stumbled onto something oddly interesting.
            Every heart has a thing called a Funny Current.  It is the part of the heart responsible for the heartbeat and controlling the heart rate.  It is called funny because it has a very unusual and unpredictable current.  While the remainder of the heart can be calculated according to polarization and depolarization with little bits opening and closing to a precise flow, the funny current has a mind of its own.
            We also learned that the brain controls every part of the body, but much of the heart has a mind of its own.  That is why, when a heart is removed from the body, it continues to beat. The funny current is the heart’s independent initiator and regulator.  It was the discovery of this funny current in 1979 by Dr. Dario DiFrancesco that developed into the introduction of pacemakers to regulate heartbeat.     
           No wonder God has so much to say about the heart.  As we pondered and discussed the funny current, we began falling back on Scripture.  Is that why God says, “Give me thine heart?”  Because our hearts are independent?  Is that why He says our hearts are desperately wicked?  Because they want to regulate themselves?  Is that why He says no man can know their heart? Because its ways are not searchable?  Is that why He says to love the Lord with all your heart?  Because He knows there is a little place of rebellion in all of us? Probably all of that is true.  God knows our hearts because He made them!
            We even began looking at the funny current, which has a lifespan of less than a second, as the source of our ever changing will and emotions.  The heart is the seat of emotion, the Bible teaches.  It has the power to create choice and determine will.
            My doctor friend said: “
Our emotional pull toward God is independent from our cognitive or logical conclusions - much like the organ of the heart itself is independent from the brain’s control. The heart muscle is made from specialised cells called myocytes. Normal muscles are controlled by voluntary or involuntary messages conveyed through the nervous system from the brain and spinal cord, but the heart generates its own action potentials – it contracts independently from the brain’s control. The brain can influence it by speeding up or slowing down the rate, but it can’t initiate the beat itself. If you put the heart in a dish it will contract autonomously. This is a wonderful picture of our emotional response to God. Swayed by our logic but independent from it.” (Dr. R Owen Bsc, MBChB)
            I don’t have all of the answers to this physical phenomenon.  I won’t even pretend to understand it fully, and if you are medically trained, please forgive my infantile description, but take time today to look deep into your own heart.  I know I was humbled as I thought of this tiny spot in my life that has a mind of its own.  My meditations brought me to Romans 7 where Paul’s quandary about the desire to do right and the inevitability of doing wrong brings him to this conclusion: “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”  I wonder if this war is the funny current?
            My mind tells me what is right.  It knows laws are there for my good.  But my heart wants to do its own thing!  Lord, I need a spiritual pacemaker!  And the Lord has provided it – “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.”
            Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, right down to our achy-breaky little hearts! – The Funny Thing About Ivabradine and Heart Failure,  By Mzoler, September 3, 2010.

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