Faith or feelings, which is true? The answer is both!
This is a sad time in our nation and all over our precious planet Earth. Human suffering has invaded the homes of everyone, whether rich or poor, like a knife we cannot block. If it’s not the Covid 19 itself, then it is the financial hardship many have been suddenly plummeted into. The pain and suffering takes many forms. Isolation, loss of income, sickness, medical expenses, death, fear, explaining to and taking care of our children, and the list goes on.
But the sadness of this disease goes even deeper. Imagine a couple who’s been married 40, 50, 60 years, and now their loved one lies dying in a room. Is the spouse allowed in the room? And if so, do they risk dying also, in order to be with their significant other? And if that happens, do sons and daughters end up losing both parents before it is over? Should the one be left to die alone? Or does love cause the other to risk it all for the sake of love?
I cannot stand the thought of my wife dying in a room all alone, and yet at the same time, I hate the thought of her risking her life to be with me if I were the one. And also the pain inflicted upon the whole family if they lost both parents, and the one died needlessly? But would it be needlessly? Personally, I see it as another testimony of the power of love. Either choice might be right. Each individual would need to make their own decision.
I’ve spent my whole life in church and helping people understand faith. I have often heard it said that faith is not a feeling. That you cannot go by your feelings when it comes to faith, but I’m not so sure about that. Maybe someone has done terrible things and they have prayed to be saved and forgiven, but they say they just don’t “feel” like God is hearing them. Many times we advise, but faith is not a feeling, simply “believe” God’s word. Of course there is truth in believing God’s word, but maybe we should press through until we get the “feeling” too.
God created us in his image, and he is a God of feelings, therefore, so are we! If we think God does not feel, then how did he know how to make us this way? Our pain is very real! And he made us this way for a purpose, not for feelings to be ignored, but brought into alignment with Him, so our feelings may be true! That our feelings make us even stronger! There is no greater strength than God’s love!
John 3:16 tells us: “For God so loved…” . And Jesus certainly showed us a man having great compassion and feelings for all. Is not being led of the Spirit also a “feeling” we get, when our spiritual senses have been trained to hear God? Of course we check our feelings to be sure they do not contradict the written word of God, and if they do not, then how do we spiritually discern? We pray, we seek, we search our hearts, and we make a decision, but has not what we believe we are feeling from God been involved in that leading?
Is someone praying at an altar and they say they don’t feel anything? Should we tell them to simply believe, or press through till you do? Might there be something still lacking in their soul, and the feelings is telling them so? Surely, if God’s word be true, and we seek relationship restored, that should be accompanied with great feelings. Feelings of peace! Joy. Satisfaction. Forgiveness. Adoption. Great love. Our Father’s love. Perhaps even celebration!
God’s word says the greatest of all things is a feeling called love. It’s even greater than faith and hope. Is it possible to know love without feelings? I don’t think so. And God so loved humanity that He entered into all of our pain, fears, mortality, sufferings, and was touched by all of it in order to save us. So he knows our suffering and yet will not end it until the appointed time. He did not end it even for himself! But endured to the complete end! Mission accomplished!
This next statement may not sound accurate at first hearing, but I think if you take time to ponder it, you may see it is. We blame God, but God blames us. (And who’s right?) God, of course. Stop blaming God and begin being grateful for his great love!
So…with that in mind…consider this: Human suffering is a result of our “separation” from God. And the answer to human suffering would not be more separation, but less! Us moving towards God in every way! And the only way that is possible is because God stands at the door of our heart knocking, in the form of Jesus Christ. God came to us because there was no other path to him. We blew all possible paths into oblivion! If God had not come to us in the form of Jesus, who has become “The Way”, then separation and suffering would be eternal, not temporary. But God is love. And His feelings, as well as his righteousness moved him to make a way of salvation, even at such great personal cost. He entered our room to die with us, and for us! In our place!
There was only one way into darkness in that garden. One tree. Out of that whole garden, one tree. So many other trees to choose from, but don’t eat of that one tree. And now, there is only one tree back into God’s garden. One tree we are told to eat of if we want relationship restored, and that being the tree of Jesus Christ. It’s an ugly tree indeed, that he hung on, full of suffering, pain, and the greatest of love.
I’ve seen a lot of people doing good things in this time of suffering and danger. These people have feelings, they care. So they rise up to be heroes and helpers of every kind. And there is such an opportunity for Christians to not only give people temporary help and hope, but also eternal help and hope through Jesus Christ. Remember, it’s not about your denomination or a church building. It’s about a Father seeking his lost children. It’s about God’s family. It’s about “feelings” and a “relationship” restored. It’s about having church everywhere we go and all the time. If we see a move like that, then surely we are moving closer to God.
Our answer is not greater separation from God. It is less separation and more restoration. Those who want a society of less God and more separation, you’re part of the problem, not the solution. When God speaks to you, you deny him every time. But the day will come when He will not be denied. God’s love is giving you time.
May God grant us all the peace of sitting under the Willow Tree, hearing His voice, and knowing “all is well with my soul”. That’s a very good feeling.