FEELINGS…AND TRUTH Can’t we have both?

I’ve been feeling quite a tension lately that affects discussions in our Sunday School class.  I think I overreact.  Of course it comes from my own past experiences…isn’t that the source of many of our overreactions?  I also react because of personal pain that I tried to desensitize myself to over the years.  I react too because of the pain I have seen many sisters…and brothers struggle with as well…to say nothing of good old basic sin “issues”.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It seems that in our churches, we rarely stay balanced when it comes to truth and feelings.   Yes, I could make my words alliterate better and go for the “fact/feelings” combo that we hear often but that seems a little to easy.  (i’ve usually been the one to go “the way less traveled”).  I just wonder why we (in our church anyway) seem to struggle so with the feeling side of our relationship with Christ.   Scripture deals a LOT with feelings and people as emotional beings.  Look at the Psalms…where we often have the raw feelings of David (a man after God’s heart) and others.  It is a book full of rejoicing, grief, hope, despair and in the middle of all these conflicting emotions, people of faith who ultimately trust in God.  These are not stoics who ignore how they feel.  they feel what they feel and honestly express those feelings…but do not give in to them.  They bring them to a God who is infinitely larger than theyor their problems are…no matter how overwhelming they might be at the time!  It is interesting how they acknowledge the depths of their feelings…evil and good, depressed and joyful, angry…even at God…and content, then they look at God and how huge and sufficient He is. He is sufficient for the worst problem, the most unfair injustice, the blackest of depressions and the darkest of evil intentions in my heart or actions that have hurt both God and man.  In the end, they worship Him.

I was visiting with a friend today and we were discussing this a bit.  She made the point that it is our relationship with Christ and the openness we have with Him (or lack thereof) that affects our relationship with people.  I think she is right.  We both read about it in Paul Miller’s book on prayer A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World.  We have also observed it to be true in our own lives and the lives of others around us.  I think that if we bring our honest feelings to God, repenting  of our real sin, we will experience the cleansing that only Christ our Redeemer has provided.  We will be more aware of the great High Priest who has completed the payment for our sin…and is now seated.  Our worship will look different because we will be more aware that He is sufficient for every need we have and we have are part of His family…we are accepted and are His beloved children!  That creates a delightful relationship…one based on the bedrock of truth but with the warmth, joy and security of a child who feels loved and accepted by a parent…or the peace and comfort of the one who knows their life is completely in control and taken care of by Someone who has the resources to meet whatever needs arise.  These and other needs are represented in the “feeling” area of who we are as image bearers.  Surely that is something for which we can be excited!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Becky
    May 11, 2010 @ 17:21:45

    I just finished a small group Bible Study on Paul Miller’s book. I don’t think that I have ever underlined so many sentences in one book before! God really used this book to show me how much my prayer life had been lacking. Chapter 23 about “Praying without a story” really spoke to me. Our group also discussed that if we TRULY believe we are children of the King–we would not act like orphans.

  2. martha10
    May 11, 2010 @ 23:27:52

    i love his book! largely b/c it has put a whole new dimension to prayer from what i had always seen and experienced it. somehow he has given me a more 3 dimensional view of prayer beyond a list to a relationship. i guess i just didn’t “get it” before and now i’m starting to. he intertwines prayer and the Word more than i am used to…not all new information, just put together in a way that made the lights go on for me in a clearer way.

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