Can we possess both simultaneously?
Sometimes in Christian circles, we are told that if our emotions are fragile and our heart is troubled, that our faith is not strong. That we “just need to trust more” as if it were a light switch to flip on.
Can we all just take a step back, and admit that sometimes, life just sucks. That it is hard. That it feels like more than we can take somedays.
Now breathe that out. There. You said it. You love Jesus, but today, life stinks.
Do you think God is shocked? Do you think He is disappointed in you now that you admitted it? Do you think He is shaking His eternal head and looking at you with dismay now?
Jesus, being fully man and fully God, experienced anger (at the religious leaders), rejection (by His disciples), sorrow(when Lazarus died), physical pain that was real(on the cross), and wished for a way out of His circumstances(in the Garden). Jesus gets you and me. He understands our fragile emotions because He experienced them too.
Hebrews 4:15a “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.”
I have some friends who are going through some exceptionally difficult circumstances today. They are experiencing cancer, they are experiencing financial issues due to needing a job (or a better job), they are wrestling through real trials in their marriages, their hearts are breaking over their adult children, and their parents are aging and fading away before their eyes.
But sister, you and I are not called to be fake spiritual giants. We are not expected to be someone we are still growing into. What we really need is to be honest about our fragile emotions so that we can develop a stronger faith.
Jesus does not expect us to pretend (for the benefit of anyone else or for ourselves) that we are unaffected by the hardship we are experiencing. Fake faith hurts and can’t help.
He does expect that we will lean into Him so that He can meet the deepest needs in our hearts during that time. He meets those needs with peace.
We can possess fragile emotions and strong faith. In fact, that’s the goal.
When we are experiencing difficulties, the most mature and honest thing we can do is to admit our weaknesses and hurts, but also acknowledge God’s provision and the peace that He brings.
Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength”. We wouldn’t need this verse, or verses like it, if we were supposed to just smile and pretend our hurt wasn’t real.
This world is not the way God designed it. Remember that.
When God created this world, He created it without pain, struggles, death, suffering, cancer, marital strife, and broken relationships.
But then sin entered in. And everything changed.
Scripture is full of warnings of hardship. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”
You can’t fool God. He already knows how you think and feel. He knows that you worry sometimes…a lot of times. He knows that you want to trust His plan but that you struggle since you can’t see how it is good. He knows that you want to honor your spouse, but that you’re not sure they deserve it. He knows that you are afraid of the pain of death. He knows that you’re concerned about having enough for your family. He knows that you don’t sleep at night because your children have wandered from the faith. He knows it all.
And He says in Matthew 11:28-29 “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Rest for our soul sounds so good doesn’t it? It sounds like peace. It sounds like trust. It sounds like provision.
Can I confess something to you? I don’t always do it right either. I fear, I worry, I lose sleep.
Here’s what Jesus says to us in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
When we recognize our fragile emotions, we can then draw near to God and pray. We can honestly admit to Him that we don’t like what is happening. And in that moment of confession, we start the process of building trust in Him. He always has our best on His heart. Even when it doesn’t feel that way, it’s true.
But until we are honest about our fragile condition, and we are honest with others about it, He can’t work. When we are busy trying to be something we’re not, He is waiting for us to invite Him in. That’s when He can truly work. That’s when our eyes are drawn toward Him and off of our struggles. Peace is ours when we admit our frailty and seek the Lord. And in return, we receive rest for our souls.
I want to encourage your heart today. This life is hard. It takes intentional living to avoid getting pulled into despair. But this life is not all there is. One day we will join Jesus in Eternity. And when that happens, there will be great joy! There will be praising! There will be laughter and love! There will be no pain, or sorrow!
But until that day comes, love each other deeply. Let your hope be in Him. And when your fragile emotions threaten to make you a prisoner of fear and doubt, remember that God has a deep and abiding love for you. Psalm 34:14 “Seek peace and pursue it”.
And though your circumstances may not change, search for rest for your souls. Don’t stop searching until your fragile emotions develop into a strong faith!