I can’t seem to say the words without closing my eyes. “But I feel” …like there is no good option.
Then, eyes opened too wide, I grope for words to justify the way I feel. I explain all of the reasons I’m stuck. As if I have to be convinced that my own conclusions are correct, I address each possibility.
It’s not just when I feel stuck. The words have a way of blinding my eyes and hiding my hope when I feel angry, sad, jealous, hurt, and even stubborn.
Fact: “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9 NIV.)
God created emotions, which means they are good. Yet the seat of our emotions lies to us. Scripture never tells us to follow our hearts, but to follow the Lord. He wants what’s best for us and has the ability to lead us in that best direction. Our feelings, persuasive as they are, are subject to sin.
Fact: Feelings fell with Adam and Eve.
Ever since the fall, feelings have fallen prone to the twisting of sin. That’s how verses like “be angry and do not sin” can exist (Eph 4:26 ESV.) It isn’t wrong to feel, but feelings often tempt us to sin. Our emotions often deceive us, which is what sin is all about.
Fact: Following feelings alone is like closing our eyes and wondering why it’s dark and we’re lost.
In the seriously beautiful, convicting words of Isaiah 59 (NIV,) God describes the darkness of separation from Him. He explains how sin hides His face from us and how “feeling our way” leaves us groping for guidance and security. He goes on to speak of us “uttering lies our hearts have conceived.”
Fact: “But I feel,” followed by submission, is a wonderful way to surrender.
The Isaiah passage ends with God declaring His coming to redeem us; His salvation for those who repent. When we allow our feelings to shut our eyes to the truth and lead us into sin, we must repent. David, over and over again in the Psalms, exemplifies this.
How often David would go before the Lord lamenting, groaning, crying out, and even rejoicing. He came with all those emotions, and David confessed them to the maker of all. We find an example in the famous words of Psalm 139 (NIV):
“Search me, God, and know my heart…
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Would you submit to the Lord with me, asking Him to search your heart, even the “buts” and the “feels?” That He would open our eyes when our feelings want to shut them and lead us in His light, His way?
Fact: He knows our hearts even when our feelings hide our hope. He, our hope and peace, is with us still. Though our feelings might shake us, He does not move (Psalm 62:5 NIV.)
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