Friday, October 21, 2016

The Battle with Our Feelings

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ 
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.  Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you 
from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.  By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ 
My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, 
saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’

Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? 
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42)

You can just sense the struggle within David to maintain hope and faith in the midst of his overwhelming circumstances.  Like a rollercoaster, his emotions are up and down, twisting and turning within him.  One moment he is praising the Lord and the next he is gripped by anguish and despair.  He is at war with his feelings and it is palpable.  You get the strong sense he is attempting to will himself to trust God when all things around him are pulling him in the opposite direction.  

Sometimes this is life as a follower of the Lord.  Circumstances can overwhelm us and our feelings pull us away into fear and anxiousness; yet David demonstrates how we need to fight through our feelings and engage our will to remain focused on the hope we have in God.  Our culture has elevated feelings to be the ultimate guide in life, but feelings are not always trustworthy.  For example, I may continue to feel guilt over a sin I committed and confessed to the Lord; yet the Word says if I confess my sin, the Lord forgives it. (I John 1:9)  In which am I to place my trust: how I feel or what the Lord says in His Word?  

It is a battle to override where our feelings lead us.  David clearly demonstrates that for us.  However, the Lord is trustworthy in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.  They may feel overwhelming, but that’s just how it feels.  The truth is the Lord has overcome the world and all the troubles it inflicts on our lives (John 16:33).

Today, regardless of what circumstances may be overwhelming you, put your hope in the Lord.  While you cannot always trust your feelings, you can always trust in Him.

© Jim Musser 2016

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