Friday, May 20, 2011

I Second that EMOTION

Am I alone in emotional  struggles in life?  Is it right to feel distressed, troubled, sorrowful?  "If you had faith, you wouldn't feel that way," internal voices taunt.


Recently those very emotions robbed me of sleep and appetite. Now that last one is some big theft!   Those raw, pressure-cooker emotions drive some people to various attempts to calm the brute within.  Pills, booze, distractions, compulsive shopping, addictions and pleasure can all be vain attempts to stop the emotions.  Instead, they often amplify pain.

Two questions bubbled to the surface of my inner toil and boil:
1. Did Jesus have these feelings?
2. How do I handle them?

Question #1 was answered in 3 Bible passages:

  • Mark 14:33-34 "He took Peter, James and John along with him and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death."
  • John 12:27 "My heart is troubled , and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour."
  • John 13:21 "Jesus was troubled in spirit. . .one of you is going to betray me."
Whew!  Now that's how you spell RELIEF to the Is it wrong question.  Jesus felt just like me!  So I cancelled my guilt trip and moved on to the second item on my list.  What to do with these emotions. . .what did Jesus do?

The same verses held clues.  I noticed He was troubled because of circumstances and people disappointing Him.  At the fork in His Gethsemane Road he was even torn in praying two conflicting ways.

That great theologian Yogi Berra, understood this too:

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Take it to God in prayer.  All of it!
A third reading of the verses gave me holy footprints out of the emotional mire mucking me down.  His reactions were to

  • pray
  • wait
  • listen

True confession here:  I often pray after I worry, tend to run ahead on emotional fuel spewing out of me, and often learn to listen after opening my big mouth.  I love Peter.  Fortunately that's what grace is all about.  The Messiah makes my messes into a message about Himself!  

His formula works! As I prayed, the stresses loosened their stranglehold on me. Relief came gradually as I kept taking the burden to Him.  Not reclaiming it myself meant repeated trips to the prayer closet to lay it and leave it with Him!  

Jesus' example of waiting led to listening.  Both skills are hard for me, unnatural. Only the SUPERnatural power of the Holy Spirit shuts my mouth and opens my ears.  Jesus listened to both the Father and His friends.  I have those same two resources.  So do you!  And my friends STAYED awake, plugged in to pray with me and hold my arms up in battle.  Even Jesus' disciples had not matured to that point during His midnight Gethsemane hour.  A good reason to have prayer warriors on your team!

Are you 

  • troubled
  • stressed
  • overwhelmed?

So was Jesus.  For you, He modeled

  • praying
  • waiting 
  • listening!

There is a balm in Gilead.  Apply to emotional wounds and find relief.

I sure am glad Jesus prayed over the fork He faced.  If He'd acted on emotions to avoid the cross, I'd be doomed.  He prayed, waited, listened then obeyed His Father.  

He died. . .so that I could live.

While we're on the subject of life and death, Yogi again expounds:
"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

Terminally or Eternally Yours,

1 comment:

  1. It's good to know that Jesus struggled as we do. I thought of something as I read your post. He also shared his burdens with his inner circle. Sometimes, just voicing our emotions and concerns helps alleviate some of the stress. And close friends may offer another perspective helping us solve our problems in ways we don't see. Thanks for sharing your heart.