God designed us in such a way that in times of intense difficulty, we have a built-in moment to turn to Him for help. The primary place in your brain that processes strong negative emotions, such as rage and fear, is called the amygdala. And when it’s removed from certain animals, they become incapable of expressing rage and fear. Normally when input comes into your brain, it goes to the cortex for processing.
In about 5 per cent of cases, however, when something extremely emotional happens, it goes to your amygdala, and the thinking part of your brain gets short-circuited. But in between your brain’s intake and your body’s response time, there’s what researchers call the ‘life-giving quarter-second’. And that quarter-second—although it doesn’t sound very long—is huge. Paul writes, ‘In your anger do not sin… and do not give the devil a foothold.’ (Ephesians 4:26–27 NIV)
That quarter-second is the time when the Holy Spirit can take control. That’s when you can choose to give the foothold to the Holy Spirit, or you can give it to sin. That one quarter-second in your mind can be an opportunity to say, ‘Holy Spirit, I’ve got this impulse right now; should I act on it?’ It’s amazing how the desire to hurt someone you love can be so strong, then lead to such pain when you indulge it. But another piece of good news is that when you blow it—and you will blow it—God sends another quarter-second right behind the first one. He’s committed to you, and He will keep working with you until you get it right!