Emotions; November 12, 2022

Jeremiah 31:13-14 “Then maidens will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty,”
declares the Lord.

We tend to think of Jeremiah as “The Weeping Prophet,” yet he also wrote passages like this. As I commented with Isaiah, prophets didn’t have an easy time of it, because their emotions could be like severe rollercoasters. For that matter, Josephus recorded that Jesus was known for mood swings. We probably diagnose and medicate “bipolar disorder” far too quickly! The thing is, the world has lots of genuinely depressing stuff in it, things that can tear your heart out. At the same time, it has ample evidence of God’s love, grace, and mercy that should make anyone glad. The answer isn’t to ignore either extreme, but rather to fixate on the God who is above it all, and who alone is eternal and unchanging. As He said through Malachi, “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6) We see things only from the perspective of time, but God is in eternity, and sees everything at once. I have no doubt that was why Jesus was noted for mood swings, because as God He was aware of more than His human body and emotions could process smoothly. My eyes just jumped to verse 16, which is not in today’s reading but is very appropriate: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the Lord.” We need to remember this at all times, regardless of what is going on around us, so that we will be available for whatever the Lord wants to do in and through us, and not be paralyzed by negativity.

This is certainly timely! I’m still recovering from the shock of some of the results of the recent election, on top of still having no definitive word as to when my wife will get out of the hospital, and attending the funeral of a close family friend yesterday. None of that changes what the Lord told me several years ago: “Rest. Relax. Rejoice.” The son of the person whose funeral was yesterday told me how blessed he is by his wife, who pulled him out of an emotionally very low place several years ago. He said the experience showed him she was the life partner God had prepared for him, and he is still convinced of that, and very grateful. I need to let that be a further reminder that God always has a very good plan, and I just need to wait for it to unfold. The week ahead is loaded with major events, and I don’t yet know if my wife’s release from the hospital will be included in that. Emotions aren’t to be ignored or discounted, but they are not to be in control! I need to do as God told me and rest, relax, and rejoice, whether things go as I would prefer or not. I need to remember that God always has the perfect end-game, and I am only seeing a tiny slice of the whole.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me follow through in obedient faithfulness, doing each thing You have for me on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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