I’ve been contemplating lately the idea of “the science of the heart.” This may seem silly and cheesy in a sense but I’m completely enraptured by it, mostly because, as of late, I’ve found my previous assessment of romantic relationships and how they work to fall short of all that’s involved.
When I wrote my first post concerning relationships, I explained my personal rule of thumb, which was to not date a guy unless he’s “spiritually ahead of me.” In other words, he has to be running after God and pursuing a deeper relationship with God faster and more passionately than I am. I still believe this is incredibly important.
I never contemplated, however, the part where you actually have to fall in love with the man.
I know it seems obvious to you (or maybe we’re on the same exact page and you totally understand how I could ignore or miss this), but I completely missed this factor of relationships. I mean, it’s great if the guy is capable of leading you and encouraging you spiritually, but you still have to be willing to follow, and it’s difficult to follow someone you don’t love.
I can honestly say I never thought about this. It’s like, duh. Maybe I’ve been reading too many Jane Austen novels and focusing too much on the couples who courted and then married for status or wealth or because the female had no other choice. Hm.
So apparently for any kind of romantic relationship to work, Christian or non-Christian, whether in this century or the next, American or Italian or Jamaican, you have to actually be willing to be romantic, you have to be willing to fall in love and possibly have your heart broken and just be vulnerable.
Anyway, this all contributes to my contemplation of “the science of the heart.” I first heard this mentioned in a Thousand Foot Krutch song, called All I Need To Know.
“And the science of the heart is sometimes lost on me, but I’m following this feeling.”
I’ve never seen the words “science” and “heart” acting so intimately within the pillars of a sentence, at least not in the emotional context. Of course there’s cardiology, which is the study of the physical heart and its health and function concerning the body as a whole. But I think, after thinking about it for some time, that the Bible offers a pretty good idea of where to look to find the definition of “the science of the heart.”
Proverbs 4:23 describes the heart as the “wellspring of life,” the thing you should guard above all else because from it flows life and everything important. So I think it’s safe to say that you can tell a lot about a person’s heart based on their actions and even based on their words. Even when walk doesn’t necessarily match up with talk, you can derive a lot about the state of a heart from these things. Someone could be spilling their heart out to you, saying “please help me,” when it seems like all they’re saying is “good morning. It’s a shame it’s raining today.” Or they could just be commenting on the weather, which is a completely acceptable thing to do…yeah.
Given this, let’s jump forward to Isaiah 61, where it describes Jesus Christ as anointed by God to “bind up the brokenhearted” (v. 1). In order to be able to fix anything, you have to know how it works, right? Or at least have a pretty good idea about how it functions and why it needs to go on functioning properly. Jumping forward even farther, right into the New Testament, into the book of 1 John, chapter 3, we see that “God is greater than our hearts” (v. 20). So not only does He know how it works, but He is so knowledgeable of its function and its power and its necessity that He’s greater than it, bigger than it in all ways imaginable.
When Moses, back in Exodus, worried over confronting Pharaoh because he (Moses) had a stutter, God had compassion on him and sent Aaron to speak for him, because he understood Moses’ heart and knew what would comfort him. When the beautifully cosmic love story of Ruth and Boaz took place, God knew how both of their hearts worked, knew the depth of their character and the strength of their dispositions, and knew to have Naomi advise Ruth and knew to have Boaz be responsible. And even when you look at the Creation account in Genesis, God knew exactly what kind of helper Adam needed, so much that He made her from a part of Adam. And when Adam saw Eve, he said, “This at last is home of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” or, in other words, “she is FIIIIIIINE.” 🙂
There are numerous examples in the Bible, from the Song of Solomon to Matthew all the way into Revelation, of God’s understanding of the heart, and with these puzzle-pieces, these very small glimpses into God’s character as a whole, we can begin to see just how well He knows us, how with such perfect clarity He sees our hearts and all that comes with them, how schooled He is in the science of the heart, the science He founded, pursued, invented, created, and developed. Compared to God’s knowledge of the heart, we are sheep, biblical symbolism intended.
So why is it so important to know that God knows the heart better than we do? Well, humans are confusing and their actions are frustrating and we sometimes, myself especially, become angry and annoyed when we don’t understand why someone said something or did something or why we can’t just feel something or not feel something, and I’m at a point in my life where I, unfortunately, am very vulnerable to such frustrations. Our hearts don’t work that way…
A fact of which I was apparently completely ignorant. You can’t turn off your feelings like a faucet. You can’t make yourself feel something you don’t. You can, however, learn to give your heart to the One who knows how it should be functioning, and when you find yourself incapable of feeling, or being afraid of feeling, or even being run by your feelings, you can trust that you’re leaning on God, who is the only One capable of transforming your heart and stirring it and fulfilling every desire within it. I fall into the trap of seeing life and love as something that should be predictable and rational and sensical. I often forget that I don’t live in the 18th century and that sometimes it’s kind of ridiculous the way I think. I am sometimes told that the leading of the Holy Spirit and how I see His knowledge and understanding and guidance of my heart is spooky and I shouldn’t lean so much on something so invisible.
But then I remember that I’m a child of God, and that half of this is false and the other half is nonsense. Being old-fashioned in the sense of desiring men to be gentlemen and women to be ladies and for them to treat each other as such is not ridiculous in any sense, and understanding that even though a man can be a gentleman and a son of God and a wonderful person but you still have to fall in love with them is not ridiculous either. It’s just a factor I never really thought about. God’s leading via the Holy Spirit is not spooky at all, but rather supernatural and amazing and confirming and it stirs my heart in a way that nothing else can, a sensation and a confirmation that exists only through the grace and power of Jesus Christ who loves me. And life is completely unpredictable, but because I know the Creator of life and the One who controls and oversees all life and the One who loves and leads life above anyone and anything else, I need not be afraid of such unpredictability.
It’s best, I’m now discovering, to let your heart be led by the One who created it, the One who understands it most, than try to lead it yourself, who understands it so little, and desires to control and protect it so much.
“And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” —Ezekiel 36:26, ESV