There does come a time in each of our lives when what we believe, say we believe and think we believe comes face to face with -and even crashes into- reality. Our theology is put to the test and we really have to decide if we are going to live this stuff or not. We all are living our theology…what you believe to be true about God colors your daily life just as it does mine.
This is a most amazing time in my personal life. I am suffering with many losses and impeding losses and at the same time I am experiencing the love of Christ in a way that is nothing short of incredible.
Each day I open my computer to find message after message from people who say “praying for you” and even check in throughout the day to see if I have posted an update. I go to church and I am asked over and over about my mom and her health. I am overwhelmed by this outpouring of support and love and don’t know how people who do not have such a large “family” get through such events as these.
I am also blessed to be constantly challenged by some of these same people with the truths that I teach and believe. It is easy to set aside hard truth when it conflicts with the emotions of the moment. It is a desire of the heart to want to wallow in self-pity and sorrow and set the truths aside for a more convenient time. The temptation is great to do so at times.
I am so thankful for those who love me enough to remind me to hold fast to those truths. Emotions are not always our friends, they act in complete conflict with the truth at times and if we make it a practice to live only by our emotions ours will be a sorry state indeed.
My counselee’s hear from me the Jay Adams version of 1 Peter 2:11 that says,
Dear friends, as resident aliens and refugees, I urge you to keep at a safe distance from the fleshly desires that are poised against your soul like an expeditionary force.”
When I read this verse, my mind conjures up a mental picture of a hunting expedition gone awry. The hunter becomes the hunted. The hunter is on foreign soil and dealing with a very wise, crafty and manipulative prey. Our emotions are like that, aren’t they? We think we have them so under control and that we have mastered them and yet we are routinely overtaken by them.
Emotions want to rule. Emotions want to run our lives and want to master us. I am not saying emotions are bad, because God gave them to us. I am saying that unless these emotions of ours are held under the rule of the Holy Spirit and subjected to the authority of the Word in every circumstance we stand little chance of overcoming emotionalism and living biblical theology. I know this from personal experience!
The emotions of pain, loneliness, loss, fear, anxiety, sorrow, depression and their related associates are always threatening to rise above the truth in practice. No matter how much truth a person knows, this does not change! What I find is necessary is a harder fight to do what is right, to submit those emotions to the Holy Spirit, to preach the truth to myself, to remind myself of Phil 4:8-10, Romans 8:1, 28-29, James 1, Romans 7 (yes, even Romans 7), 2 Corinthians 11:22-30 and other passages that speak of human suffering and trials of all kinds.
As low as I feel at times, as much as I may feel discouraged and hopeless, as much as it may seem that these circumstances will never end and I will feel like this forever I must also tell myself the truth that these things are passing. This life is passing and I am a temporary sojourner; and while I am here I am charged with living and teaching truth.
I must live my biblical theology in the midst of personal hardship. I must do this because Jesus Christ did it! He is my example, and while He was perfect and sinless He still faced overwhelming emotions in daily life.
God’s true grace is present in me in these days. Because He lives I really can face tomorrow, and so can you no matter what you are facing today. I invite you to spend some time along with me in re-reading 1, 2 Peter over the next few days or weeks. Pay careful attention to Peter’s tone and the hope he exudes in the face of unbelievable suffering and hardship.
Thank you for your faithful prayers. Mom continues to decline and linger too aware of her personal misery for our comfort. She is weak (very weak), her body is breaking down and our desire is that her suffering would end swiftly. She has little pain anymore which is a blessing and we are able to keep her mostly comfortable. At the same time she is miserable so our prayer is this would not continue for long. Many blessings to you all.