By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8
Feeling overwhelmed, Sierra grieved her son’s fight with addiction. “I feel bad,” she said. “Does God think I have no faith because I can’t stop crying when I’m praying?”
“I don’t know what God thinks,” I said. “But I know He can handle real emotions. It’s not like He doesn’t know we feel.” I prayed and shed tears with Sierra as we pleaded for her son’s deliverance.
Scripture contains many examples of people wrestling with God while struggling. The writer of Psalm 42 expresses a deep longing to experience the peace of God’s constant and powerful presence. He acknowledges his tears and his depression over the grief he’s endured. His inner turmoil ebbs and flows with confident praises, as he reminds himself of God’s faithfulness. Encouraging his “soul,” the psalmist writes, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (v. 11). He’s tugged back and forth between what he knows to be true about God and the undeniable reality of his overwhelming emotions.
God designed us in His image and with emotions. Our tears for others reveal deep love and compassion, not necessarily a lack of faith. We can approach God with raw wounds or old scars because He knows we feel. Each prayer, whether silent, sobbed, or shouted with confidence, demonstrates our trust in His promise to hear and care for us.
What emotion have you tried to hide from God? Why is it often hard to be honest with God about difficult or overwhelming emotions?
Unchanging Father, thank You for assuring me that You know I feel and need to process my ever-changing emotions.
Eleven psalms, including Psalm 42, are attributed to “the Sons of Korah.” Numbers 16:1–3 identifies Korah as the leader of an insurrection in the days of Moses and Aaron that resulted in deaths by earthquake (vv. 31–33), fire (v. 35), and plague (vv. 46–50). Yet even though the earth literally opened up and swallowed the leaders and followers of this rebellion, Korah’s children weren’t wiped out (26:8–11). Responsible for the care of the sacred tent of worship, members of this family became worship leaders of Israel who gave us some of the most memorable words in the Psalms (Psalms 42:1; 46:1; 84:1).