Our minds and hard drives can be cluttered with many things. Our hearts also can hold a myriad of emotions, beliefs, commitments, and convictions.
I think most of us have experienced the challenge of having our computers slow down as the memory gets overloaded. It happens with the cell phones we carry in our hands as well as every other electronic device. If we have done much work with electronics, we soon decide that when we need to purchase something new, we want to purchase something with more memory (the most we can afford).
We marvel at all that can be stored in these devices that seem to get smaller every year, but we forget the most incredible storage of data and memory created or designed is the human brain.
I know you are likely thinking about how much you cannot recall no matter what your age, but the human brain is so complex that the exact amount of what can be contained is not measurable even though it must certainly be limited. What does science say about this most complex brain that our Creator designed and that exceeds any device created by man?
Some research now suggests that the human mind can hold as much as the entire Internet! One study found that each synapse in the brain could store an average of 4.7 bits; spread throughout the brain, that would be about 1 petabyte, the equivalent of 1,000 terabytes or 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. Other scientists suggest we have as much as 2.5 petabytes of memory storage.
So why do we forget things? It’s because it is not really about capacity. The reality is our storage process is slower than our experience of the world. Here’s an example. If we pretend, we have an iPod with infinite storage, even if we could store every song ever written we would still need to buy and upload all that music and then pull up individual songs when we wanted to play them. But what if we wanted to have all that music and could load it? It would take us 2,000 years to play it all.
Think about this truth. It is impossible to quantify the amount of information in our brain because it consists of more information than we are consciously aware of.
We sometimes get a glimpse of that when someone we know has a stroke.
Our brains consist of more than facts and faces and measurable skills. They also contain functions like how to speak and move, how to feel and express emotions. We do all that with great efficiency. It only takes about the amount of energy needed to create a dim light from a light bulb. And we do all that while the average brain cell is inactive about 80 percent of the time.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”Psalm 139:14 (ESV)
I have been mulling over this information because of reading Virginia Prodan’s book, Saving My Assassin, which I reviewed a few years ago.
What stood out repeatedly was how many verses of scripture were memorized by the persecuted Christians of Romania under the repressive regime of Nicolae Ceausescu that ended in 1989. Bibles were forbidden. The period preceded our easy access to a Bible in unlimited numbers of translations via apps on our electronic devices. The body of Christ was under persecution and the Word was essential to sustain them. So, they hid the Word of God in their hearts where no one could steal it from them.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”Psalm 119:11 (ESV)
David wrote those words. He “hid” the Word of God in his heart is how some translations read. David knew the value of scripture. He stored it, hid it, in his heart so that it would be available to him whenever he needed it. He valued it so highly that he was aware he might be robbed of it or lose it if it were something in a hard copy form, so he treasured it and placed it where no one could take it from him.
The Word doesn’t say David stored it in his memory. I think he knew what we know. Our memories can fail us.
Perhaps it said he placed it in his heart because he had so often read the Word that his heart had been molded by it, so the impression remained embedded on his soul.
I confess that I do not have vast amounts of scripture memorized, but I have many verses that have been woven into the fabric of my heart and soul much as words of love letters from my husband have been carried there.
Many of us are blessed with great freedom to own as many Bibles as we wish and read them wherever we desire, but if that was lost to us for some reason, what has been hidden in our hearts?