This week I’ve been writing about my favorite book — the Bible — and why I find it so fascinating. Yesterday I talked about how the Bible helps me mentally. But we are not just mental creatures, we are emotional, too, and I have found my Bible to be an excellent way to express some of my deepest, rawest emotions. (If you would like to read the other parts of this series, they are here, here, here, and here.)
Humans are created in God’s image, and God expresses emotion. In fact, God expresses emotion more deeply than humans can — His sorrow is more bitter, His love is more intense, His jealousy is more pure.
Emotion is expressed throughout the Bible, but I’m particularly attracted to the emotional responses in the Psalms. These are prayers and songs which express the deepest emotions of angry, loving, hurting people. A few examples —
You know what I long for, Lord; You hear my every sigh. (Psalm 38:9, New Living Translation)
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. (Psalm 56:1-2, New International Version)
God, smash [my enemies’] teeth to bits, leave them toothless tigers. Let their lives be buckets of water spilled, all that’s left, a damp stain in the sand. Let them be trampled grass worn smooth by the traffic. Let them dissolve into snail slime, be a miscarried fetus that never sees sunlight. Before what they cook up is half-done, God, throw it out with the garbage! (Psalm 58:6-9, The Message)
O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]…. (Psalm 42:6, Amplified Bible)
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night, and am not silent…. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth…. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. …But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. (Psalm 22:1-2, 14-16, 19, NIV)
Jesus came to earth as fully God and fully man… able to experience the deepest, rawest emotions of anyone. “He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus knows what you feel because He felt it, too: “For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation” (Hebrews 4:15). As a result, “He lives forever to intercede with God on [our] behalf (Hebrews 7:25).
Don’t ever be afraid to express your rawest emotions in God’s presence — He knows profoundly what you are feeling. When you are struggling with deep emotion, the Bible knows how to speak your heart’s cry to God.