By Lisa Leidenfrost
I am quoting from the book Rid of My Disgrace. It is a book I read for counseling. It is targeted for people who have gone through sexual abuse. But, I found some neat quotes that can be used for just general suffering. I found some good ones on emotion.
“Emotions are based on cognitive assessment and belief; they are not simply experienced. Rather emotions are based on and require beliefs, standards, and judgments. Emotions result from an individual’s evaluation of an event, situation, or object, and they reveal whether that individual sees some aspect of the world threatening or welcoming, pleasant or painful, regrettable or as a solace, and so on.” (p 43)
In ‘Faithful Feelings’, Matthew Elliot offers a clear summary about emotions: ‘Emotion is always about something; it has an object. Emotion tells us about our values and beliefs. It can also tell us about the beliefs and values of others. Emotions are not necessarily rational, not because they are intrinsically irrational impulses, but because we can be irrational people. Emotions are often a powerful motivation… Emotions are highly complex phenomena that rely upon both our conscious and unconscious mind, memories, cultural forces, family upbringing, and our personalities. These factors interact and respond to one another in an incredibly complex web of interdependent beliefs and values to produce particular emotions in particular circumstances.'” (p 43)
How we respond to a particular trial is very individual. One person might go through it without trauma while another will become unglued. We might not understand what is behind our own emotions but we must not react to them and lay them down at the feet of Christ as we humbly look up to Him to make sense of it all. We should not trust ourselves nor give in to the deviant paths and lies our emotions can lead us to.
2 Cor. 10:4,5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (like doubt, fear, despair), casting down arguments and every high thing (say, the lies our minds tell us) that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Women are famous for thinking, “I feel therefore it is fact.” If you have had a bad day and things look bleak, that means to a women that things are truly bleak. But, feelings are the worst indicator of reality. They are so fickle and change based on a number of unstable things. Rest on something more solid and that is God and His promises. Every day we get our perspective skewed just a little bit or even a lot. And every day what rights that perspective is to go back to God’s Word and prayer. “For with you is the fountain of life. In your light we see light.” Ps 36:9
What I find ironic is that people who struggle the most with dark thoughts of depression, are sometimes the ones who will stay away from God’s Word because of it. We can only judge our situation rightly if we are walking in the light. Then we will see light and that there is a way through the darkness one step at a time. If we feel so scared or depressed that we quit looking at the light and straight at Jesus, then we can get lost in the fog. It will be dark indeed.
Remember that Peter was ok walking on the water as long as he looked at Jesus, when he turned sideways and looked at the waves he started to sink. Consider his position out there in the water. He was by then away from the boat, and it was stormy out. If he sank, he would drown. There was nothing out there to hang on to. But, he was human and out on top of the water in a storm (for Pete’s sake) so, doing what humans usually do in very precarious situations, he looked at the waves around him and started to sink. The amazing thing is what happened next. Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Him and said, “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Math 14:9) Even when he was going under, God reached out and grabbed him. And God will do so for us as well since He will never fail us nor forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) I imagine that it was frightening sinking in the waves with nothing visible to grab on to. But keep in mind that Peter would have been alright if he had only kept looking straight ahead. It didn’t matter how high the waves.
God knows your suffering and is open to your cry. He hears and He will answer.
“And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew” (Ex 2:24, 25). “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings “(Ex 3:7).
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”(Ps. 34:18). “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3).
“God’s compassion for and solidarity with the oppressed is embodied in Jesus Christ. Christ not only suffered for his people but also suffered with them.” The descent of God to earth is the descent of God to the underside of the knife, plague, or rain of fire He understands our sufferings (p 57).
Jesus endured the cross because of his compassion and love for you. The New Testament repeatedly turns to the cross of Christ as the supreme demonstration of the love of God. John provides the most famous example: ” By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us…. God is love…. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” We can begin to appreciate the contours of God’s compassionate love by reflecting on the cost of the cross and the depth of our need” (p 58).