Thursday April 24, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Engaging our emotions

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A friend of mine, who had just gone through a life-changing tragedy, said, “I knew it was coming, but I had no idea how bad it would feel.”

That is the issue, isn’t it? The feelings we go through are often the hardest part of the journey. Most things are not unbearable. 

In a physical sense, if you had to get out of bed and face the day you probably could. It is the “feeling” that we can’t face a certain issue or event that makes it difficult.

To make matters worse, places that should acknowledge those feelings and help us deal with them often do not. Take church for example. Churches should be full of people who are there for one another and who are ready to listen and “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). 

Too often, though, we dress up and act as if nothing is happening in our life, whether good or bad. “How are you today?” always gets the same response of “I am fine,” whether that is true or not. 

I am not suggesting that you unload your “emotional dump truck” on everyone that you meet. I do, however, believe that real faith can only be created when real people come to the real God. Part of being a real person is dealing with real emotions. 

Interestingly, the word of God deals with emotions all the time. In fact, we have an entire book called “Lamentations.” Two-thirds of the Psalms are “laments” and “complains” and the others are full of words like “rejoice” and “praise.” 

In the gospels, we are often told what Jesus was feeling. We read that at the tomb of Lazarus, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  Seeing the crowds, he had “compassion” on them (Mark 6:34). When the religious leaders put rules before mercy, Jesus looked at them in “anger” (Mark 3:5). 

Jesus’ emotions are front and centre because they are part of the story of his faithfulness. 

I do not know how you feel about your life right now, but I do know this: you do not have to be “perfect” or “have your act together” to come to church. None of us “have our act together” – that is why we are here. 

I know this, too: if you share who you really are, with God and with others, you will find hope. Christian hope is not based on wishful thinking, rather it is based on the knowledge that God loves you, that he is near and that he is working things out (Romans 8:28).

In the end, that feeling of hope could be your greatest spiritual possession.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” - Psalm 31:24

 


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