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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Feel the Love


Everyone enjoys warm and fuzzy feelings. Much advertising is based on them. You see a moody setting: fireplace, warm colors, people dressed in sweaters, drinking hot chocolate …. It’s especially nice this time of year! It’s cold outside, and nothing is more enticing than Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire after Jack Frost nipped at your nose.* Even if it’s never been your reality, you want that mood. Warmth, laughter, mulled cider, fruity and cinnamony smells, home and hearth.

We crave those same feelings in our relationships. You only have to scroll your favorite social media feed to see couples you know in tight embraces, looking at each other with stars in their eyes. We love it—love and appreciation, passion, warmth—the glow.

We want it for ourselves: a rosy posy always loving relationship. My perfect man. Feel the love! We want our home to be just like those commercials: two people on a fuzzy rug in front of the fireplace, sipping something warm and delicious. We want the passion.

We also crave it with God. We want to experience the ecstasies of Elijah on Mount Carmel. We desire victory in every battle, the feeling of following Miriam with tambourine and song. We want the Holy Spirit to make us feel great. We also want every church service to so fill us that we leave satisfied to overflowing.

But, reality and what we want are two different things.

You may have gotten married in the fall or winter and sipped hot chocolate together by a roaring fire. You may have experienced some incredibly beautiful moments in your marriage. But anyone married a week or more knows that not every moment is film-worthy. There are clothes to wash, dinners to cook, and bathrooms to clean. Sneakers get stinky, and even Mr. Perfect Husband doesn’t always look so good. In fact, most days are normal life. Even in the very best, loving, beautiful marriages, about 90% of the time, both spouses are simply doing life. They are not always on passionate mountaintops. (It would be weird if they were!)

It’s the same way with our spiritual life. Oh yes, we can take gorgeous photos of our devotions, complete with steaming coffee cups, and we can sincerely enjoy our Bible and prayer. But, about 90% of the time, our learning and sharing life with God isn’t filled with warm and fuzzy feelings. About 90% of our church attendance doesn’t exactly produce an “overflowing” experience, either.

When I put my trust in the Lord for salvation, I didn’t feel anything. It wasn’t emotional at all. It was 100% real, but it wasn’t accompanied by fireworks and choruses of angels singing—that I could hear, anyway. Several years later, I remember complaining to my mother about my total lack of feeling in my Christian walk. I knew without a doubt I was saved. I knew by experience that God answered prayer. But, I told my mother it would be nice to feel something. I wanted warm and fuzzy in my spiritual journey. She explained to me that emotions and feelings really don’t matter and that Truth does. Of course, she was right.

Not long afterwards, God gave me an amazing experience as a specific answer to group prayer. It was incredible! I wasn’t alone, so I know I wasn’t making it up. It was all the emotional experience I desired and then some. Afterwards, I knew God did that for me. He let me touch the hem of His garment and actually feel something for the first time in my life. It was a holy thing that He did that evening. None of us will ever forget it, but I think He did it for me—a teen who wanted to feel Him working.

Since then, I’ve had some precious times with the Lord, but nothing like that experience. I have been moved with praise and awe, and I’m often moved to tears in thankfulness for what God has done for me. But, I’ve also learned something:

My relationship with God doesn’t depend on my feelings.

Whether or not I feel anything, God is always with me. Whether or not I have a fantastic experience, God is listening to my prayer. Whether or not I feel full to overflowing in church, God is ministering to me through the Word and fellowship with His people.

I don’t need anything else.

Roll the warm and fuzzy. We know those pictures are staged—and they represent the ten percent, at best. Feelings of ecstasy in our spiritual lives will be very rare. But God never changes. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is much better than the best of marriages: always there, always available, always listening, always loving.

_______

*"The Christmas Song," by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé.
  

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this testimony, Lou Ann. Though the feelings are nice when they're there, I'm glad my spiritual state isn't based on them.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Barbara! Me, too! God bless you!

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