Emotions and Faith: Confessions of a broken man
Dear God, can I trust you with my emotions? Are my emotions safe in your hands? Do you really know what to do with my fear, anger, disgust and sadness? Is there any room for feeling happy, anticipation or surprise in your presence?
Dear God, can I surrender how I feel at the feet of your throne of grace? When I am disgusted, afraid, angry or sad am I worthy to enter your presence? Or your holy presence is sacred and reserved for the joyful, hopeful and awestruck? Is there any room for emotional mess by the rock of ages?
Dear God, do you really care about what I feel, my thoughts and my desires? Or you only care about reason and logic? Is it true what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that you’re not a God of the emotions but the God of truth? Are my emotions a disillusionment that is empty of knowledge and reason?
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Dear God, I am afraid. I am afraid of tomorrow. I am afraid of what is going on in my life. I am afraid I might not be able to graduate or get a job. I am afraid I might not be able to pay my debts or feed my family. God, I am afraid.
His answer: He assured me of tomorrow and I got a temporary job at a local university, got called for an interview in Switzerland. And got another postdoc in China.
Dear God, I am angry. I am angry at myself. I am angry that I have failed to complete my dissertation in time. I am angry that I have failed to impress my graduate supervisor with my research work. I am angry that I have failed to live up to what people expect of me.
His answer: I completed my studies three months ahead of schedule. All my research papers where published in top science journals.
Dear God, I am sad. I am sad because I can’t give my family the joy they need. I am sad that the work that I do always goes without notice. I am sad that I waste my time doing things that no one cares about. I am sad that all the effort I put in fulfilling your call is for nothing.
His answer: A thank you from my son that I paid for his swimming lesson. A message on WhatsApp from a stranger who’s grateful for the articles that I write.
Dear God, I am disgusted. I am disgusted by how my life is turning out. I am disgusted that I continue to embarrass you with my sins even though you have only been good for me. I am disgusted that I continue to bring shame to you by my hypocrisy and double life. I am disgusted by all this, I am.
His answer: he loves me no matter what I do because he loved me before I was born and even before I received the life of Christ.
Does God answer a prayer for wishes?
Dear God, I wish I could be happy, I wish I could have more anticipation, I wish I could cherish all the surprises that come my way. All I want is to stand in your presence with all my emotions knowing that I can trust you and that my emotions are safe in your hands.
Dear God, my soul is sick. My eyes are full of un-cried tears. My mind is full of unspoken worries. My heart is full of unexpressed emotions. Hope deferred makes the soul sick.
Dear God, the die has been cast. They have planned great evil against me. Powerful men, men of great authority. I stand at the mercy of their wickedness. I am afraid of their power, angry at their misuse of power, saddened by their abuse of power and disgusted by their use of power. They want to ruin my life.
Dear God, remind me of your word. Remind me of the words of the psalmist. Remind me of the God who authored not only the salvation of his people but the reaction as well. Remind me of you, God.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! Psalms 126:1-2, 5
Have you done or are you doing any great things for me? Are you going to restore my fortunes? Are you going to fill my mouth with laughter? Are you going to fill my tongue with shouts of joy? Are my tears going to yield shouts of joy? Can I trust you with my emotions, dear God?