Feelings and emotions! We all have them. I must stress I am not bashing feelings and emotions at all! They are truly a gift from God, and are part of what makes us human. They are amazing- euphoria, love, compassion. They can also be informative and life-saving- fear when a child runs into the street, anger at victimization. Especially with the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon this week, we’ve all (rightly) had grievous feelings.
This text means a lot to me in the context of my own journey with feelings sometimes leading me astray. I’ll never forget my “revelation” at L’Abri: just because I feel something, doesn’t mean I need to indulge in the feelings (listening to sad music, going on long, sombre walks). God crafted me, particularly, to lean a bit more into my feelings. But emotions need to be tested according to truth, just as our intellect needs to be tested. And Truth being Scripture, the Word of God, as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
This quote is from Running Scared. I’m slowly working my way through this book. Not because of the content, rather because I want to savor it! It’s like a piece of chocolate lava cake that you never want to end, so you keep eating small slivers off it to make it last longer. I appreciate Ed Welch’s description of how this “testing” plays out for the Christian:
“We tend to judge God’s words by our own feelings and sensory observations. If we feel orphaned, we believe we are orphaned. If we feel a sense of impending doom, the worst will in fact happen. If we are told that God reigns, but everything seems to be in chaos, we twist God’s revelation about himself to fit our understanding of the data. Scripture, however, reveals the things we can’t see with the naked eye, and God’s self-revelation is a higher authority than our feelings. When our feelings conflict with God’s communication, we must side with God’s interpretation. Any other decision puts us above God, which we already know isn’t true because fear reminds us of our own puniness. We certainly are not gods!”
Bam. That was a yummy sliver of chocolate lava.