Can Christians feel?

Erin O’Donnell sings this awesome song called wide wide world and it has a single lyric that has stuck with me since I first heard it back in 2006.  It goes like this “Did Moses want to turn back after crossing the red sea?  I bet that he got nervous, I wish that I could see.  ‘Cause I got the shakes all over and I want to turn around, but I’m twice as scared of missing the good that can be found.” In all fairness, I only really remembered up unto “red sea” then I had to refresh myself of the rest, but regardless, this song (or line) has offered incredible comfort!

The thing is, we always read about heroes in the Bible – Abraham had so much faith he was willing to kill his son, the disciples gave up everything to follow Jesus, Ruth left her home, Rahab risked her life… and on and on it goes.  And these are people we look at and try to imitate.  We want to have the faith of each and every one of them and the raw confidence and boldness that allows them to risk their lives.  Honestly, I think we all have it tucked away somewhere, but what we don’t really think about is how they were feeling.  I always felt like the Bible kind of left that out… Oh, there’s plenty in the Psalms, some stuff in Job, and the prophets get pretty emotional too!  But in narratives?  Well, the most we seem to get is “he was scared”, “he was angered”, “he believed”.  My concern is that we’re so used to novels and movies where every feeling is etched out with absolute clarity, that now we look at the Bible and overlook feeling entirely because it’s not written in the style we know.  We try to be Moses and cross the red sea… and then doubt ourselves when we get nervous or feel anything other than bold faith.

We always talk about blind faith, but we never talk about paralysing fear or pain.  I want to consider Moses for a moment.  We look at his life and marvel at God and Moses’ strength of character and how, even when he was scared to go and needed a mouthpiece (Aaron), he was still brave and strong.  That’s great, but I wonder if Moses wasn’t scared.  Did Moses ever cry over what he had to leave behind?  He was raised in a palace – his family was there – and he left.  He found comfort with a new family in a new place, and left it all to go back to a place where he knew he would face the threat of death.  And from there he led thousands into a desert!  Don’t you think maybe Moses – though he knew his commission from God – got really heart-sore and confused from time to time?

I am facing the dilemma at the moment of knowing I’m where God put me… but wondering why he put me here and why he asked me to give up something that I adored to be here.  And I’ve heard so many times that I must have faith, that I mustn’t be scared, and that God will sort it out.  All of it is true. None of it is easy. And sometimes I feel like I am the only one who is frank enough to say it straight:

I miss what God asked me to give up.

It really is that simple.  Is it failing to trust? No.  Is it disrespectful or blasphemous? No.  The truth is, God gave us emotions.  He gave us our passions and gifts and desires, and He isn’t vindictive – He simply knows better.  Moses may have rocked at herding sheep and absolutely loved it!  But God saw that he could lead people even better.  Did Moses ever miss the sheep?  Probably.  Sheep aren’t nearly as annoying as people – mostly because they can’t talk…  But ultimately, God saw what was better.

I am deeply concerned at the number of Christians who are willing to do things blindly.  Yes, we need faith, and yes, we often don’t know the next step, but God gave us reasoning minds for a reason.

Change scares me completely!  Looking at what’s lost causes pain.  Looking ahead causes doubt.  And only thinking about today causes stress.  Eery single one of those emotions is human. I am not alone in feeling any one of them.  Maybe it’s time we allow ourselves to feel!  Let’s be real people with enough faith to walk – not blindly, though maybe blinded by tears.  Let’s be human and show that God didn’t pick the robots.  My heart aches, still I trust.  I am afraid, but I will follow.

I’m pretty sure Moses was nervous when he crossed the Red Sea.  I’m fairly certain there was some panic and terror coursing through him. But he stayed faithful, and so did God.

I started with lyrics, let me end with some too.  This is from Laura Story’s Blessings:

What if Your blessing come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know You’re near?

…And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?


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