How Does God Feel About Feelings? – Our Painful Feelings
Key Bible Verse: For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. – Philippians 1:29
[One harmful view of Christian experience says] the Christian life is to be a pain-free zone. As Christians, we must not only expect hand-to-hand combat with sin, but we must also know there is no exemption from suffering in this life. Suffering is not indicative of a lack of faith. Pain is not the direct result of our sins and failures.
Certainly all suffering and pain is ultimately rooted in sin, but the notion that my pain and suffering is a payback from God is unbiblical. That is the theology of Job’s comforters. A theology of Christian experience that says only blessing, health, and prosperity are the lot of the faithful is a recipe for emotional disaster with deep accompanying damage to faith. Such teaching is void of the very gospel itself.
If we expect that “every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before”we will be in for some serious disappointments. If we expect that victory over sin will be one uninterrupted triumph after another, we will become disillusioned with God, his Word, ourselves, or all of the above. A sound theology of Christian experience makes room for the struggle of the war-faring pilgrim and the suffering of the wayfaring pilgrim.
—Brian Borgman in Feelings and Faith
My Response: Someone I admire for his or her ability to keep trusting God in the midst of great personal suffering is …
Thought to Apply: Can we follow the Savior far, who have no wound or scar?—Amy Carmichael (Irish missionary)
Adapted from Feelings and Faith (Crossway, 2009)
Prayer for the Week: Dear Father, thank you that you are a God who feels deeply and that you created me with deep feelings, too; help me to own my feelings and learn to express them in ways that bring honor to you.