Monday, September 27, 2010

Emotions and the Wisdom of God

The majesty of the mountains and the beauty of the oceans are obvious. God’s creation is breathtaking. The gentle rains that bring peace and the torrential storms that drive fear through our very being create emotions that reach our very core.

So is there purpose in emotion? I believe there is a theme in the Bible with respect to emotion.

The Old Testament starts off showing a God banishing Adam and Eve for eating fruit from the one tree they were forbidden to eat. Throughout the Old Testament, shades of a vengeful, wrath-filled God—a punishing God—permeate the text. Only in Psalms and Song of Songs do we get an inkling of a God that shows mercy and love.
Why the change? I believe it has to do with human’s “evolution” of understanding God.

In the Old Testament, especially in the beginning of Genesis, humanity is regarded as young children, seeing only the need for discipline, as with Adam and Eve. Slowly, the human mind opened. Abraham was the first to call God, “Father,” and the Creator recognized this and made a covenant with humanity.

As the authors produced Psalms and Song of Songs, humankind grew into the age of reason. With that reason, came the realization that our God could be in relationship with us and we longed for that connection.

But we were missing something. Because of our selfishness, we couldn’t see past our teenage needs. Not until the Father sent his Son, not until we saw the Incarnation, did we see true Love. We needed to hear the words of hope and salvation, and like all teens, we then understood life had meaning. Jesus brought definition to what was deep in our hearts that we could not express.

As with the crossing of the threshold from youth to adulthood, humanity couldn’t take the next step until we experienced true sacrifice. Jesus proclaimed this sacrifice by stretching out his arms on the cross encompassing the whole world, and that action thrust us into maturity.

It’s not that God changed from a fearful God to a loving God, it’s that we grew up.
With adulthood comes responsibility. Whether we choose to fall into his crucified arms or we choose to turn away, it’s up to us. When we feel broken and damaged, it is up to us to recognize the ultimate Love and accept it.

I believe that there’s a reason that Revelations is the last book of the Bible. It takes to completion the concept of God’s saving plan for us by revealing that there is something else, something besides this life. God revealed his entire plan, His entire set of emotions, His love for us from infancy to adulthood. Now it’s up to us.

He calls us in the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians with the definition of love and He proved that love at Calvary. He is a loving parent waiting for us to fall into His arms with everything we have, all the love and all the hurts, because truly He is the only one that can love us completely.

Emotions matter and only Love can save us.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Weather of the Heart

I have this application on my computer that constantly brings up a popup window urging me to upgrade a certain type of software. It’s there every time I bring up my computer. Sometimes it drives me nuts!

I believe it’s just a microcosm of what happens in real life. Things constantly bombard us, tugging at our minds, pulling at our hearts.

And we let it happen. We try to ignore the life “popups”, the ones that say something isn’t right. The ones that say complacency is fine, life is good, don’t change or that change will be too hard.

Then one day it hits us. Everything is not fine. We moan and groan that it’s too late to change, it’s going be hard, and it’s going to ruin everything in our lives. We writhe in agony at the thought we need to move, we need to change.

Autumn used to be my favorite season. I love the colors, and the cooler weather and the anticipation of the upcoming holidays. As I’ve gotten older though, autumn has also reminded me that winter is coming. Those cold, dark days when driving is a hassle, when the sunlight dwindles in the southern sky, and the snowflakes seem endless.

God is good at giving us reminders about the seasons of our heart through nature. He knows there are going to be hot summers of fun in our lives that spill over into beautiful autumns of contentment that eventually diminish into cruel winters.

Fortunately he gave us the best season of all, spring.

I know that when the relentless winter wind whips against me, draining me of my strength, there is still hope. Spring will come. It might take longer than I wish, but the bitter winds will not prevail. Snow banks will recede, tiny flowers will sprout their determined heads and birds will return in song.

It’s no different with life. The inhospitable winters of our hearts will not prevail if we do not let them. Opening our souls can dissolve anger and resentment like a melting snow bank. Tiny flowers of hope from loved ones push through the frozen ground. Encouraging words from friends sing out to us. Eventually we find that we don’t need the layers of protection that surround our hearts like the parkas of winter. We shed the tears and shed the pain, washing away the winter and helping the flowers of our lives grow.

But we have to take that first step. We have to let go and let God. And sometimes that step is scary. But He does know what is right for us.

It is only when we don’t listen to the nagging popups that we get stuck. It’s when we don’t heed the warning in our hearts and souls that we will sit in the everlasting frozen winter. Complacency says enjoy the fire and ignore the weather. But eventually you can’t.

So listen to those life popups. They’re trying to tell you something. Maybe it’s time for a change.

-And maybe I need different software that better fits my needs. ;)