On Faith and Feelings
“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say you are my God.” Psalms 31:14
In this passage we hear King David make a statement that we’ve heard him say many times, but what is significant are the words that precede this statement. Many people base their relationship with the Lord on their feelings. If we feel close to the Lord then He is close. If we feel far from Him then He is far. If we feel joy, peace, and love then we are in His favor, but if we feel grief, pain, guilt and distress then we are not. If we look at the words of David that precede this verse, we will find statements like “My eye wastes away with grief”, “My bones wastes away”, and “My strength fails me because of my iniquity.” Other words that accompany his plight are “broken,” “trouble,” “reproach,” and “forgotten.”
When we enter times like this we tend to believe that God has forgotten us, or that we’ve been cut off from before His eyes, but if we are his children through faith then this is completely contrary to the truth. God’s faithfulness and truth are not conditioned by our feelings. We enjoy it when good feelings accompany our faith, but we must remember that the faithfulness of God is not based on our feelings.
How does David conclude the Psalm? By calling on all of God’s children to love the Lord and to place their trust in Him. Even though he is struggling with his own doubts and fears He puts the call forward, and speaks the truth of God’s sovereignty and his faithfulness.
You may be in a time in your life where the truth of God’s word is accompanied with times of peace, and comfort. Your worship springs from a fountain of overwhelming joy. Or you may be in a time of your life where you feel dry, broken, and full of reproach. Regardless of how you feel move forward in the Lord. Speak His truth, and work to forward the kingdom of God, because if we are not doing this, it doesn’t really matter what feelings we have. We are commanded by God’s Word to proclaim His truth; we are equipped by His grace, and spurred on by faith, not feelings, to fulfill the works ordained beforehand because we are his workmanship.
On the other side of the coin, many people feel good about their souls condition, but their life does not line up with scripture. The New Age spiritualist may claim to have found peace, but is still under condemnation of the law. Their feelings have deceived them. Only when feelings line up with the Truth can they be trusted. Other than that, they deceive. In our attempt to seek and know God, let us make the Truth of Christ the treasure we seek, and this can only be found in the Word of God. If we don’t know the Word of God we will not be able to tell whether or not our feelings are lying to us or telling us the truth? This is why the Psalmist says “Thy word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
When times of trouble and distress come, may we say with David “My times are in your hands”. I will not worry about how things make me feel, but I will trust that all that comes my way is ordained by Him and He is faithful, and His word does not waiver with my feelings. Therefore, I will march on proclaiming your truth.