I had a conversation with a dear friend the other day who is dealing with great uncertainty in a significant area of her life. “I’m trying to trust God. But how do I trust God, how am I trusting God, with these emotions I’m feeling?”
I listened. She cried. I cried silently on the other end of the line. These emotions. These waves of emotions, threatening to wash away her trust. Threatening any certainty that she ever really trusted at all. If I really trust God in this situation, why do I feel scared? worried? lonely? unsure? heartsick?
What do I do with these emotions?
I was reading in Psalms last week… It’s the big book in the middle of the Bible… Try just flipping there this week, name an emotion, and see if you can’t find it in there. Sure, there are the ones you’d expect to find in the Bible – joy, praise, thanksgiving, awe, & wonder. But you’ll also find plenty of fear, worry, loneliness, uncertainty, heartache… All spilling forth in one book, chapter after chapter, mostly from the heart & pen of a man named David.
What is the common thread of the cries of David’s heart? The thread I see is that regardless of the cry – “holy” or “holy $%#&” – he poured it out to God. There was no time-out to collect himself, clean this bit up, tidy that thought there… He poured it all out to God, and thereby pressed himself into God.
This is a vulnerable act. This is trust. Isn’t it? Trusting that God will not only hear my heart, but that He’ll not reject it?
When a man takes one step toward God, God takes more steps toward that man than there are sands in the worlds of time. (The Work of the Chariot)
The quote above moved me to tears. The Bible even supports the claim in the story of the Prodigal/Lost Son. You can read it in context here, but essentially a man’s son left home to live it up and squander his wealth and go his own way… that didn’t end up going so well, and he eventually had a change of heart, came to his senses, and turned toward home. Even though the son had acted in a way that had surely broken his father’s heart, the Bible says:
So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20; emphasis mine)
Do you see this is us and God? Do you see that the father was watching for him? Do you see that as soon as the father saw his child take a step toward him, even while he was still a long way off, he ran to his child.
I love the picture this paints for us as people who are far from God, who can come home to Him for salvation through Jesus. Jesus waits expectantly, compassionately, for all to receive His gift of salvation, forgiveness, freedom.
I also am moved by the picture this paints for me as a believer. As someone who has already chosen to receive the salvation Jesus has offered. I trust God, but… these emotions. These emotions can feel a long way off from trust. What do I do with that?
I bring it to Him. All of it. I don’t try to tidy it up first. I go straight to Him and press in.
God is not put off by you. Do you know that?
You’re not too much for Him. You’re His treasure. You. Yes, you. Messy you. Emotional you. Up and down you. Doubtful you. Skeptical you. All-over-the-place you. Precious you. Fearfully and wonderfully made you.