Ezra 3:13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
Strong emotions can indeed become hard to distinguish, and not just for outside observers. We’ve all seen people dissolve into tears of pure joy when reuniting with a loved one or receiving something strongly desired. With modern medicine we understand the output of various hormones triggered by emotions, and sometimes different emotions can trigger the same hormones. Human beings are complicated, often illogical beings! That’s why decision-making in moments of strong emotion is often very risky. The brain doesn’t operate very well in such circumstances! Emotions are a gift from God. After all, life without them would be very bland and uninteresting. Some of the most pathetic people I have seen have been inpatients at a mental hospital, so medicated for whatever “disorder” they are diagnosed as having that they look and act like zombies, alive but hardly human. We are to be grateful for emotions, even negative ones, but not let them control us. All of us, everything we are, everything we have, everything we do, is to be submitted to our Creator so that it may accomplish that for which He created it, for His glory.
I have written before about one time I was in a small prayer meeting and I was so overwhelmed with joy that I felt like I might be translated directly to heaven, because my physical body couldn’t handle it. The idea that there will be no limits to such joy in heaven is a very attractive one to me indeed! I have also experienced strong negative emotions, and in college I once actively moved toward suicide. I’m grateful for it all, because it has been proof I was alive and human. I know I will have many more emotions in this body, and I am to yield them all to my Lord. As a pastor I deal with other people’s emotions perhaps more than the average occupation, and I need wisdom and discernment to do so properly. We were recently contacted electronically by someone who was feeling suicidal, and we don’t know at this point if he acted on that or not. We can and do pray for him, asking for another opportunity to express the Father’s love to him so that he may be enabled to release his emotions, and himself, to God. The devil’s lie is that suicide is releasing yourself to God, when actually it is trying to hang onto control to the end. It is the ultimate self-centered act. I can’t change anyone’s heart, but I can point them to the One who can, and must do so with the consistency and faithfulness that only He can provide.
Father, thank You for emotions. Help me make the use of them that You intend and help others to do likewise, so that we may avoid the devil’s lies and walk in the abundant life that You intend, (John 10:10) for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!