You have the Right to Feel
There are so many examples in the Bible of people who would be considered emotional, dramatic or irrational, but they were only being human.
Elijah was a prophet of God who found himself in contention with King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Ahab was an unrighteous and idolatrous leader who took counsel from the prophets of a false god (Baal). Consequently, God sent Elijah to declare to Ahab that because of his sins against God, there will be no rain “not even dew on the ground,” until Elijah spoke it. The declaration came to pass and there was no rain. After some time Elijah returned to face Ahab and the people of Israel. He challenged the false prophets to a standoff to prove that the Lord was the God over the nation and that He alone deserves their worship. The prophets of Baal were proven powerless, and the people declared that “The Lord is God.” The false prophets were captured and killed, then Elijah prayed and it began to rain. (1 Kings 17, 18) Following this victory, Ahab’s wife, Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah which caused Elijah for run away into the wilderness. But wait! Was this the same man who just stood strong in the face of 400 false prophets all by himself? Is this the same Elijah who saw the fire of the Lord come down from Heaven? Wasn’t he the one whose word started and ended a drought? Was he the one who prayed and saw a dead boy come back to life? (1 Kings 16) Yes, but he was also human.
He was afraid of Jezebel and ran for his life. It got so bad that Elijah went into the wilderness, sat under tree and prayed that he would die like the prophets before him. Could you imagine being a member of a group of people, and all those who came before you or once stood beside you, have been killed? It would be hard to believe that your fate would be any different. So Elijah felt like he knew how this was going to end, so it might as well end now. However, the Lord’s response to him was so loving and patient.
God didn’t speak to Elijah immediately. He let him sleep. As Elijah slept under a tree, and angel of the Lord brought him food, woke him up and told him to eat. Elijah got up, ate and went back to sleep. Then the angel woke him up again, but this time with additional information: “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” (1 Kgs 19:7) Take notice, that God let Elijah sleep, fed him twice then revealed to him that he had a journey ahead of him. So, Elijah got up ate and drank and was strong enough to travel for forty days and nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God and there God would speak to him directly. The journey wasn’t another assignment; it was a meeting with the Lord Himself.
Like the loving Father He is, God took care of Elijah’s physical and emotional needs. Elijah was allowed to feel; he felt fear, despair, hopelessness, anger, and was ready to just give up. And God let him feel all of that because as a human being, it was warranted.
Elijah didn’t know what was ahead of him but from what he could see, there was nothing good. Sometimes we too can feel as if we’re just going through the motions with nothing good to look forward to. Like Elijah, our feelings are justified because we are human.
However, being human is not an excuse to give up, but rather a reminder that we must find our strength in the Lord. On the other hand, being a child of God does not erase human needs; there are times when we need to rest, get proper nutrition and take time away from the people and places that are stressing us out.
The solution to Elijah’s problem was in the presence of God but the Lord knew that unless, Elijah was physically strong enough, he couldn’t even get to the point of receiving the answer. You see, strong emotions combined with physical tiredness makes it difficult to make logical decisions. If we are incapable to rational thinking, we will not be able to hear the voice of the Lord. In our time with Him, He will give us grace to handle our responsibilities and wisdom to make tough decisions. But we have to be able to hear Him. You see, God doesn’t contend with our flesh, it has to be quieted, and placed under control by our actions. (Gal 5) This means that we have to do things that increase our ability to hear from God. For each person those things are different. Some of us may need to talk to God more than we talk to our friends, we may need to spend more time alone or more time with our family, it could be that we have to filter the information we receive by avoiding social media or television. We can all identify what our distractions are and remove them the best way we can. Understand that God is always ready and willing to speak. So He will send reinforcements to get us in a position where we can receive what He has to say.
God takes our feelings into account as a good Father would. We know that He has a plan and purpose for our lives but sometimes simple daily living can divert us; not to mention unpreventable life issues that arise. In these times, God will not ignore our feelings of pain to “get us back on track” with his plan. His ultimate plan is a relationship with us, that we might spend eternity with Him; it is for this very reason that Jesus died.
So many children of God have been taught that God is a tyrant, who disregards their feelings for His own will, but that is so far from Who He truly is. Consider that Jesus Himself had a moment of weakness before He went to the cross; the Bible says that he was anguished and distressed when he prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Lk 22:42) How did the Father respond? “An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.” (43) Following this He endured torture, carried the cross and was crucified. Jesus was in terrible distress but He ultimately said, not my will but Your will and the Father still did not ignore the fact that He was weak; angels came and encouraged Him. Notice also that Jesus, because of what he was feeling, went away and prayed by Himself.
We must never forget that we are passionately loved by the Creator of the universe. He doesn’t just sit on high and observe us from afar, He feels what we feel, He understands how it feels to be human.
“So then, we must cling in faith to all we know to be true. For we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose into the heavenly realm for us, and now sympathizes with us in our frailty. He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin. So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen[s] us in our time of weakness.:” (Hebrews 4:14-15)
And as for Elijah, he had no clue what God had prepared for him. When he was finally at a place where he could hear from God again, their conversation went something like this:
God: What are you doing here Elijah?
Elijah: I serve you faithfully, but your people have broken their covenant with you, killed all your prophets, I’m the only one left and now they want to kill me.
God: Go anoint a new King over Israel and anoint Elisha as my new prophet.
When the time came for Elisha to take Elijah’s place, “…they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11). Elijah was convinced that death was in his future, but his time on Earth ended in a way that he could not have imagined. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (2 Cor 2:9)
God loves us, so feel free to feel what you feel, and tell Him about it.