Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV)
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. (Psalm 139:1-4 NIV)
I’ve mentioned before my frustration at how compressed scripture is. Years pass in a verse or two or maybe part of a chapter. The dailiness of our lives and the emotions that fill them as we grow from infancy to adult to old age just don’t happen that briefly.
When I read the stories of people in scripture, I often try to enter into their experiences and feelings. A phrase here and there catches my attention and I relate to something with them. This week I entered into Hagar’s experiences in Genesis 16: 6b-9 and 13. Hagar is a slave who is mistreated by her mistress Sarai until she runs away. The angel of the Lord lets her know that the Lord knows her misery. She is to go back and submit to her mistress. In verse 13, Hagar gives the lord the name that means, “You are the God who sees me.” In Genesis 21, Hagar and her son are gotten rid of by Sarah’s orders. God hears both Hagar and her son crying and opens her eyes to see his provision.
As a child I was passed around amongst several family members. I was useful because I could work hard. The last couple that took me, verbally abused me. It was there that I learned to conceal my feelings.
Looking back, I see now how God kept me from running away and protected me. His provisions enabled me to stick it out until I could legally move away. It takes a long time to see some things as “gifts” for a lifetime.
Suppressed emotions eventually come out. Mine started to boil over when I was about 39. I felt the need to be in control of how my family and I appeared as Christians to the outside world. My attitude, words, and actions were damaging the relationships with people I loved most.
One morning, after my family were off to work and school, I had a temper tantrum that precipitated from pulling a stuff-filled cabinet drawer out too far causing the contents to dump all over the kitchen floor! I screamed. I remember suddenly feeling a sensation of being held gently, but too firm to struggle loose. I knew it was Jesus holding me. No words, no condemnation, just held. I felt safe! I have had other occasional episodes of temper tantrums, but they are still kept safe in Jesus, so they won’t cause damage elsewhere.
The above scriptures are life-giving to me, because God knows me so completely that I don’t have to hide from him. Jesus has experienced it all so I know I can safely bring my emotions directly to God’s throne and receive loving mercy and enabling grace.
What about you? Do you have a safe place where you can express your emotions
without causing damage to others? Go to Jesus. Talk to him. Listen to him. Trust him.
Perhaps write a prayer or a psalm to let God know your feelings.