The strength of the human heart springs from deep within

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The heart is fascinating.

With each contraction of the heart, blood is dispersed to the furthest extremities of the body, supplying the body with oxygen. Upon the depleted blood's return, it is oxygenated to be sent out again with the same replenishing mission. The pure mechanics demanded for the heart's contraction and the synchronization necessary for effective delivery of life-giving blood are amazing.

Yet the heart is more than just the body's powerful engine.

Romantics have warned of the pain of a broken heart. Modern researchers have analyzed the variety of emotional stressors can actually lead to the condition of stress cardiomyopathy -- or broken hearts disease, a condition that causes permanent damage to the heart brought on by severe emotional trauma.

While romantics warn of the power of a broken heart, scripture equally warns of vigilance to protect the heart. Proverbs 4:23 reads, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."

Examining each of these words in detail gives so much insight into the power the creator has bestowed upon the heart. First, the heart is the spring, the source the outpouring of life. Crisp, cool spring water emerges from what seems to be nowhere growing into a mighty river. The Mississippi River itself finds its beginnings in an ankle-deep stream. While its source may seem small, its power and influence are tremendous. So it is with our own spring. The source may seem small, but its influence, power and control are amazing. Emerging from the wellspring is love, likes and dislikes, and passion.

The idea of guarding the spring can produce an image of a prison guard: No one gets in and no one gets out. The proverb here is not encouraging isolation, for that, too, will dry up the spring. It is encouraging us to invest well and invest deep. When the spring dries up so does the river.

For the created being, when the source, the heart, dries up, so does the life. Never exposing the source will not protect it but callous it. The warning of keeping your heart whole is not to put it on a shelf but remain faithful to whom you were created to be and invest your heart well in others.

Some investments will crash. Others will pay off more than ever imagined.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father and serves as the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jackson. Read more from him at

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