We have all had the experience of saying rash words that we later regret; and, of being dumped on by another who had some choice words for us. In Psalm 73, the psalmist, Asaph, records an encounter with God in which he had some rather upset musings for the Sovereign of the universe. Later, after some reflection, Asaph said: “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.”
As human beings, we process information in different parts of our brains. The neo-cortex, the rational part allows us to engage in logical analysis and complex decision making. Another part, the limbic system, is sometimes known as the “reptilian brain” because it processes information very quickly, largely by instinct. When we become scared, surprised, upset, or angry, adrenaline gets pumped into our limbic system so that we can react to the perceived threat, danger, or injustice.
Having our brains flooded with adrenaline when there is real danger is a necessary thing. But when we are continually fearful and upset, even when there is no real problem, our brains never calm down and the result is less than stellar behavior. So, what is the answer to this situation? Asaph said that God holds his right hand and guides him with wise counsel. Being near to God is what brings the levels down so that we can relax and trust.
God is with us always in the person of the Holy Spirit. There is never a time, place, or situation where God is absent. As we learn to rely on God’s presence, and remind ourselves of it on a daily basis, we can restore more rational thoughts to our lives so that we can live knowing God is in control.
Gracious God, I have no one in my life like you. My flesh and my heart may fail, my brain might become overwhelmed with irrational fears, but you are my strength and the Rock of my salvation. Thank you for your continual provision and help each and every day through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.