A part of me has always been ashamed of my emotions. When you grow up with a heart like mine, your expectations of love and understanding of grace limit your actual communion with it. As a young girl, I let my heart do the leading. I allowed my emotions to control my response to situations – hastily and recklessly. I gave without demanding anything in return, I loved without asking for permission, I forgave without hearing an apology. For years, I treated these attributes as a form of shameful weakness – that is until I rediscovered the character(s) of my God.
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
Christ was emotional. The fierce and inexhaustible force, which holds the world and carries my heart, wept. He felt pain – just like you and me. Yes, pain, the soul-crushing type which keeps me up at night. God, in His splendor and majesty, chose to strip off His divinity to be human. He did not exhibit pride nor apathy to protect Himself from the possibility of rejection, fear, and sadness. He was not above it.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)
Living here on earth enabled Him to personally commune with His people. He embraced human emotions to fully understand and empathize with man – yet He did not sin. He is not detached to my recurring reality, and that is infinitely comforting. We serve a God who is tender and compassionate. We serve a relational God who reaches out and does not wait for me to get myself together and face Him with joy. He humbles Himself and shares in my grief because He Himself faced it.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)
The next time you feel that vulnerability is a curse – that it needs to be avoided at all costs – remember the big blessing of emotions: sharing in something bold and beautiful with your Creator. This is to love you, to know you, to be with you. This is the love, which finds you and me, a love fully devoid of selfishness and pride which unfailingly embraces our rebellion. This is love within reach. This is love which waits to be noticed, to be received. This is His love – the emotional kind, the God kind.
By His wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
“God could, had He pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the Stoic sort who lets no sigh escape Him. Of His great humility He chose to be incarnate in a man of delicate sensibilities who wept at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane. Otherwise we should have missed the great lesson that it is by his will alone that a man is good or bad, and that feelings are not, in themselves, of any importance. We should also have missed that all important help of knowing that He faced all that the weakest of us face, has shared not only the strength of our nature but every weakness of it except sin. If He had been incarnate in a man of immense natural courage, that would have been for many of us almost the same as His not being incarnate at all.”
C.S. Lewis (Letters of the Faith Through the Seasons)