“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:12-13
“You walk with me through fire and heal all my disease. I trust in You. I trust in You. I believe You’re my Healer. I believe You are all I need. I believe You’re my portion. I believe You’re more than enough for more. Jesus, You’re all I need. Nothing is impossible for You. ”
Ever needed a good cry? I just had one about an hour ago, one of those laying-prostate-on- the-ground, unable-to speak, body-shaking kinds of cries. You know, the really fun ones (insert sarcasm).
Why, you ask?
Oh, life. I tend to bottle everything up and then just blow, usually when I’m by myself. Today, though, John and I were having one of our conversations about the life decisions we have upcoming, both in the near and not-so-distant future. Suddenly, all the emotions behind some of these decisions hit me. The tears came, and there was nothing I could do but let them fall and embrace my humanity, the part of me I hate and try to cover up. Once I vocalized to my husband one of my biggest fears, one I never really speak, the great flood occurred. I felt so much emotion swell up within me, I did the first thing that came to mind.
I ran. I ran to our bedroom, slammed the door and buried my head in a pillow on the floor and just….cried.
I didn’t run because I didn’t think my husband cared. I ran because I was ashamed. I ran because I was scared. I ran because I was every emotion known to man all at the same time….and I felt so….naked and incredibly uncomfortable in John’s presence. I think he knew it, too, because although he did come in the bedroom, he just let me cry and didn’t say anything. He knew there was nothing he could say.
Why is it that we, as Christians but still humans, try to run away from our humanity? That we can’t stand not “having it all together”, whether before the Lord, others or both? Is it because we’ve embraced some false theology that tells us we’re just “sinners saved by grace”, that everything about our humanity is depraved and wrong? That we need to be some robot that just accepts God’s will, albeit sovereign and good, and not show any emotion, either way, about it?
Side note: I’m not here to start some theological debate, and if you know me at all, you know I’m very much about the fact that we’re depraved and in need of a Savior (that’s clearly Scriptural) and that I’m all also about the fact that God’s sovereign over all and ultimately we’re saved by grace through faith(again, all over the Word)…what I’m just trying to say is this:
There’s a tendency for Christians to believe this falsehood that we have to be devoid of emotion. When in reality, Jesus was fully God and fully human, very much able to have emotions and still be God.
Yes, our emotions are flawed and often influenced by the fact we see in a mirror dimly, as Paul says…but, without over-analyzing everything, how can we say that God “loves” us, that Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was the great act of “love”, if we do not attribute to God (and the rest of the Trinity) the ability to have affections that are even greater than what we, as humans, feel.
I heard it put this way:
God is unchanging and unchangeable, but He is not devoid of affection for His creation. His impassibility should never be set against His affections. His immutability does not rule out personal involvement with His creatures. Transcendence isn’t incompatible with immanence.
God is not a metaphysical iceberg. While He is never at the mercy of His creatures, neither is He detached from them. His wrath against sin is real and powerful. His compassion for sinners is also sincere and indefatigable. His mercies are truly over all His works. And above all, His eternal love for His people is more real, more powerful, and more enduring than any earthly emotion that ever bore the label “love.” Unlike human love, God’s love is unfailing, unwavering, and eternally constant. That fact alone ought to convince us that God’s affections are not like human passions. (Philip Johnson)
No, God’s affections are not like human passions, I agree with that sentiment. In fact, I am thankful God’s emotions aren’t like mine, believe me! I’m glad I serve a constant, faithful God, one who knows the end from the beginning. I’m also thankful, though, that God isn’t some tyrant in the sky just “out to get me”, to “make me pay” if I show the slightest bit of my humanity.
Like I said before even Jesus felt extreme emotional distress. Just read the High Priestly Prayer in John 17, right before Jesus was led off to be crucified for sins He never committed — my sins, your sins.
So, here’s a thought:
If Jesus allowed Himself to feel, shouldn’t we? Isn’t it more about working with God through our humanity and the baggage that one accrues from living on this fallen world, while ultimately saying “Not my will but Yours be done”, than putting on some facade that says we never feel anything, that seeing through a mirror dimly is easy?
The life I lead isn’t easy — hardly so. I’m sure yours isn’t, either. Some days are harder than others, but there’s just some things that I simply do not – and will not – understand this side of Heaven. Sometimes, life just hurts. I long for the Full Redemption, both physically but more importantly spiritually and emotionally. I long to feel completely whole. I long to see Jesus. We all do, whether we acknowledge it or not.
For now, though, I stay here and work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I try my best to allow Jesus to heal wounds and stand on the Word of God to dispel Satan’s lies. I press on. I fight the good fight, as Paul says. I fight for my joy — even if sometimes that requires me to spend hours on my knees in earnest, and more importantly, honest prayer.
Most of all, I do my best to remember this clouded glass through which I see will one day be clear. Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.