God Can Handle Your Emotions

“You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me […]” Psalm 139:1

I think it’s safe to say we have all been deeply saddened by so many things these past two years. There is so much about COVID-19 that feels like it has stolen things from us, and there are days I find myself deeply sad and frustrated by it all.

A while back, I found myself fuming about not having the ability to be with friends, not being able to celebrate my birthday the way I wanted, not getting to be at church on Easter, and so much more. And suddenly I was overcome with this thought: I am so sad and angry, and at the same time, I’m refusing to be honest about how I feel with God. I’m trying to cover up these negative emotions before I pray because I think I need to be “better” or “happy” or “positive” before coming to Him.

It’s funny to think that I can hide my feelings from God when, as Psalm 139 says, He already knows my every thought! He knows all about how I’m feeling, even before I really do! It can be so hard for me to be honest about how I feel about sad and disappointing situations because I feel like I should just be thankful and happy and say “But You’re good, God!”

Which is absolutely true, but at the same time, I am feeling real disappointment in the moment. And what I’m learning is that the safest place to go with my big emotions is into the presence of God, because if anyone understands and can walk with me through them, it’s Him!

As I write this, I think about Jesus’s full range of emotions: He carried peace and God’s presence, He asked people uncomfortable questions, He was filled with zealous rage, He wept. He spent time with people joyfully and then needed time to get away by Himself to go and be with God. He wasn’t happy all the time; He was tired, disappointed, frustrated, sad, and afraid.

And Jesus didn’t apologize for what He was feeling. He didn’t try to water down His feelings before coming to God. He felt His fear and frustration and poured His heart out to God. And because of His death and resurrection, we can do the same. We have full access to the Father, to Jesus who intercedes on our behalf, to the Holy Spirit who is our comforter. We can trust that as we share our hurts and sadness, our frustration and our joy with God, we will find comfort and assurance, as well as deep hope.

I know you’re sad about so many things. I am too. And my hope is that in this time, we will all be brave enough not to just try and put on a happy face before coming to God(the joy will come–I promise), but instead we will pour out our hearts to Him, knowing He understands our disappointment and will meet us there, bringing us hope and joy and peace in the process.

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