I am in a season of transition. Fall, if you will. Leaves are detaching from the branches and I am feeling a little bare. So many things have changed in my life, some are really beautiful changes, and some are incredibly hard. We think fall is beautiful because the change is slow and dramatic, but then all of a sudden the first snowfall comes and all the leaves are on the ground and the trees are left exposed. Winter comes far too quickly. There is so much change. I don’t like it. Every year I write about how hard fall is, yet I never learn to be ready for it. In these seasons I am hungry for truth and guidance; I am almost desperate for it.
Through this I am learning that Scripture is exactly what we need and rarely what we want. Really. One morning I woke up with a craving for Scripture. I thought, “I’ll read this and it will tell me what I want to hear. It will confirm what I already know (that I am right and everyone else is wrong).” Guess what? It did not do that. It taught me that it should be my glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11) and that those who love purity of heart and gracious speech will have the King as their friend (Proverbs 22:11). Scripture told me that I don’t get to sulk in my anger, that I don’t get to gossip and try and make myself feel better. Scripture called me to a higher standard.
Which could be frustrating, and could lead me to say things to God like, “You just don’t get it…” but He totally does. My great comfort in this season is to know that Jesus knows how I feel. Not just that He knows it, but He has felt it. He understands it. Hebrews tells us that we do not have a God who cannot sympathize with our experiences, but that He has experienced it all. I have had this new experience of prayer where I just ask God this question: Have you felt that way?
For example: Lord, I’m so sad. Do you know that feeling?
And in His tender, non-condescending way (isn’t it so great that Jesus doesn’t have to prove Himself or belittle anyone? Wouldn’t it be so nice to have that kind of confidence and be that grounded?), He says, “Yes. I do know that feeling.” Oh, right. Like when people didn’t understand You or listen to You. When John the Baptist was killed. When You lost a best friend. When You were left alone to pray by Yourself the night before You were crucified.
Come to think of it, He has definitely experienced all kinds of relational let-downs. He lost friends, was betrayed by friends, and had His invitations rejected. (Think: Lazarus and John the Baptist, Peter and Judas, and the “rich young ruler.”)
Lord, I feel tired. I feel misunderstood. I feel rejected. I feel hopeful! I feel ignored. There hasn’t been a feeling yet that He hasn’t been able to say, “Yes, Kallie, I have felt that.”
And the great thing about all of this is that if He has felt it, when He isn’t capable of sin, then it means these emotions aren’t sinful. (What we do with them can be.) We are made to feel, and capable of feeling a whole range of emotions. When we deny these feelings, we are limiting ourselves from walking into true healing and peace.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to bring whatever we are feeling into the presence of the one true God who absolutely can relate, the One who created emotions, who gave us the ability to feel, and who has felt them all too. Because when I come to the Lord, crying in my bed at night saying, “Have you ever felt betrayed?” and He says, “Yes,” suddenly I don’t have to carry that alone. I can believe that He is a kind teacher and that my experiences are for a purpose.
What have you been feeling? Where are you at? Ask the Lord if He has ever felt that. His kindness and understanding have a way of calming us down and giving us perspective. He does not dismiss our feelings like an absent or disinterested parent, but holds them for us so that we can breathe again. He gives us company in our experiences, which is the greatest gift we can offer anyone.
“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Hebrews 4:14-16 (The MSG)