PASTOR JOBY DEVOS


in DEEPEN DEVOS

Week 25: Emotions

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Now, if you grew up in the 60’s maybe you recognize these lyrics from The Byrd’s song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Well, it turns out they borrowed the song from the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Solomon, the wisest man on the planet, set out on a meaning quest. He wanted to see what this life was really all about. And his conclusion, if we only live for that which is under the sun or temporary, then everything is “vanity of vanities” or meaningless. 

And by the time he gets to chapter three Solomon begins to understand that with all the ups and downs of life, God has gifted us with all types of emotions and feelings to navigate this world. Feelings and emotions are a gift from God and there is a season for each one.

There are times where it is right to weep and there are times when it is right to laugh. In fact, it has been my experience as a pastor walking through tough times with people, that if they don’t give them self permission to weep and cry and grieve, then they will not be able to properly laugh and celebrate when it’s time.

Now trust me, when you go through some difficult times some very well meaning Christians could give you some pretty unbiblical advice. They may try to tell you how to feel or how long it’s okay to feel a certain way. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to feel, feelings are not bad. I don’t know who ever equated “staying strong” with a suppression of emotions. As if suppressing the time to weep somehow equals strength. This is utterly untrue.

Jesus was the strongest man to ever live. He bore the weight of the cross, yet, when his friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. Feelings and emotions are not bad. Again, they are a gift from God. However, you may have heard me say at some point that I don’t care about your feelings. And what I mean by that is not that I don’t care that you have feelings. You should, it is how God wired us. I mean, that we are not to be ruled by our feelings.

While feelings are not bad, being ruled by them is bondage. Jesus is our Lord, not our emotions. While our feelings may change day by day, our God NEVER changes. And regardless of how you feel about your circumstances or even about God, God NEVER changes the way He feels about you. 

As Christians, we are to be ruled by the truth of the eternal gospel. That Jesus bore our sins and that one day we will be perfectly reconciled to God in eternity. That means, that ALL of our pain and ALL or our hurt and ALL of our troubles and ALL of our tears will be wiped away forever.

You see, as Jesus was preparing His disciples for the emotional rollercoaster that they were about to experience through His trial and crucifixion, Jesus gives them these words in John 14: 1-4. Jesus says...

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

You see, Jesus did not tell them how to feel. Instead He reminded them who to trust, regardless of how they feel. And as we navigate life with its highs and lows, let us be reminded that while feelings and emotions are a gift from God for this ever changing world, our HOPE is in our eternal Savior. 

Amen