Knowing How It Feels

Humble yourselves, therefore . . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

We are all emotional beings. (Don’t we know it!) And perhaps by this time in the Christmas season you’re feeling these emotions a bit more. They could be feelings of panic and pressure, the sense of being overwhelmed by all that remains undone. They could be feelings of sadness and emptiness, spawned by certain changes or losses in your life that cause your heart to sag more at Christmas than at other times. They could even involve a mix of happy anticipating and dread—a complex mix of emotional ups and downs involving anticipation, memory, hope, fear, and gratitude. Whatever emotions you’re experiencing this season, remember that because Jesus fully relates to us on a human level, He relates to our emotions too. He understands them. After all, He was an emotional being as well. He cared for outcast lepers, for needy multitudes, and for a widow who’d just lost her son. He marveled at things like the unblinking faith placed in Him by a tough Roman centurion. He rejoiced at the opportunity to bring hope and healing to hurting people. He grieved at the tomb of His friend Lazarus, at the thought of Jerusalem rejecting her Messiah, and at the Last Supper with His closest circle of friends, where He was “troubled in his spirit” (John 13:21). He even grew angry at the hypocritical religious leaders and the opportunistic merchants defiling the temple. The only difference between Jesus’ emotions and ours, in fact, was in how He handled them. We’re prone to squander our emotions on the wrong things, to let them spill out uncontrollably, to let them take the lead in our responses and decision-making rather than supporting our true convictions. Jesus, however—though acquainted with all the ways we’re tempted to overreact—always expressed His emotions in a wholesome, balanced, and godly way. Because of the righteous alignment of His heart, He was moved to emotion most by the things that moved the heart of God. All of this is instructive . . . and incredibly encouraging. You and I, in seeking to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, need not squelch or bury our emotions. We need not choke them back into heartburn, restraining them with clenched fists of denial. Emotions are not inherently wrong; if they were, the man Jesus would not have experienced or expressed them. Even as we feel them rising today at the nearness of Christmas, whether in exasperation or elation, we need only submit them to His sovereignty, not stuff them into shame-filled pockets of inadmissible pain or guilty pleasure. Jesus was no dry-eyed, joyless, unfeeling robot. He knows what it’s like to hurt, to laugh, to wish, to agonize. And He knows how to be your comfort and companion when you experience the same. Thank You, Father, for not sending Jesus to us as Someone who couldn’t feel. Thank You for not steeling His nerve endings against our hard, unforgiving world, but rather allowing Him to experience stress at levels that far surpass my own. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to take control of my runaway emotions, showing me how to fully feel them without becoming consumed or misdirected by them.  Where are your emotions today? What about Jesus could help give perspective to your feelings? 

About the Author

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through two nationally syndicated radio programs heard each day—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him. Her books have sold more than five million copies. Through her writing, podcasts, and events, Nancy is reaching the hearts of women around the world, calling them to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.