You, God and Your Messy Emotions
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you. Psalm 42:5-6
Hadah loved to pray when she was doing well in life. Then at other times, she wanted to hide from God. After a hard week of moral failures, Hadah didn’t know what to say in prayer. She’d better stay away from God, she thought, until life was better– until she was better.
Does God prefer well-behaved, devoutly religious people? We can take comfort from the pictures we see of the real-life humanity of men and women of faith we find in the Bible. The Bible’s stories don’t shy away from the tumult of emotions that are a part of life. We see Moses’ rage and frustration. We witness David’s despair and Elijah’s depression. We see Sarah’s bitterness over being unable to have a child. God loves and meets with each of them in their jealousy, loneliness, delight, shame, fear, and every other human emotion you could list.
The Bible’s book of Psalms, a collection of 150 songs, is a perfect example of how we can pour our feelings out to God. There are psalms expressing grief, remorse, gladness, and awe. For example, in Psalm 42, the singer cries out, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you” (Psalm 42:4-5).
God gave you the ability to feel, so you can safely meet him intimately and authentically in your emotions. Nothing’s too gritty or raw for Him. He can teach you the purpose of feelings without letting them rule your life. Have the courage to bring the emotion you’re experiencing today before God in prayer, song, or silence.