Two very significant times in my life I desperately cried out to God more than others.
In the beginning, it seemed God didn’t care and didn’t even hear me. Like Hannah, I desperately wanted to have a child. Secondly, I felt hopeless to control my anger and heal my marriage.
God did hear me. Even if I hadn’t received the answers I wanted, He did hear. But He did choose to answer “yes” to both.
The stories of Hannah who desperately cried out for a child and the example of Jesus who felt the pain of being a human can speak to us.
I encourage you to scan through 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 to see that God didn’t condemn Hannah for her feelings.
Often we can think God doesn’t want us to express our feelings. But He does and for Hannah He provides a tangible assurance she is heard through the priest Eli.
Ask yourself: How do you feel knowing your faith will not always be perfect and at times you will experience unpleasant feelings? And what do you think God’s opinion is of that?
If you believe God not only doesn’t care but he is disgusted or critical of your emotions, is there any lie about who God is that contributed to that? Often, as children we hear things like “Don’t cry, it doesn’t do any good.” Or “God doesn’t want to hear that, so don’t.” Men hear, “Be a big boy.” “Don’t cry.” “Be strong.”
Those ideas teach us to shut off our feelings which God wants us to express so that we can depend upon Him.
Jesus, though perfect as a human and fully God, experienced and expressed feelings.
The Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) reveal Jesus’s emotions didn’t negate His deity. He understood the difficulties of life. He welcomes us to bring our emotions to Him and deal with them in godly ways through trusting He will work for our ultimate good.
Hebrews 4:15–16 assures us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hannah’s story tells us she went year after year to worship God and must have asked God many times for a child. Only in God’s timing did she receive what she wanted. God doesn’t always give us what we think is best, but he is still faithfully loving us and working for our good. Our challenge is to trust he knows better than us.
The Proverbs affirm how growing in trust in God is a life-long journey and process. The need to grow in our faith is God’s invitation to depend upon him in deeper ways. If we suddenly had perfect trust, we wouldn’t need to look to him at all. We could handle all of life without him.
The struggle of growth has a purpose. That doesn’t make the journey easy. It is an adventure culminating in perfect understanding and trust in God when we reach heaven and know God without any obstacles.
What advice would you give to someone to encourage them to feel their feelings and know God cares?
(Ideas for this post come from my women’s Bible study book, Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series.)