August 6 I Friday
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” —Psalm 34:17-18
Our emotional makeup, whatever it is, is in itself intrinsically wholesome and rich. When examining characters from the Old Testament, we would probably describe Jeremiah as having a melancholic temperament. He felt very deeply, because one of the most painful parts of his life was his emotions. If we were to diagnose him using present-day medical terminologies, we may say he suffered from manic-depression.
We see Jeremiah like a pendulum—sometimes he is high and sometimes he goes absolutely flat. An example of him uttering his flat feelings: “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears!” (Jeremiah 9:1). Another moment of Jeremiah expressing extreme sadness: “You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived…. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me” (Jeremiah 20:7). He continues, “Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long” (Jeremiah 20:8). At this point, Jeremiah was ready to throw in the towel and quit.
“But,” Jeremiah says, “if I say ‘I will not mention His Word or speak any more in His name,’ His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” What Jeremiah discovers as he was about to quit is that God’s Word is in his heart like a fire and he cannot shut it up—it had to get out! Now, he feels better and declares, “the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior.” And he begins to give praise: “Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.” Just when things are looking bright for Jeremiah, he suddenly falls into depression again: “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!” (Jeremiah 20:9-14).
We know more about Jeremiah’s personal life, disappointments, struggles and fears than any other Old Testament prophet. Yet, all his emotions were expressed when he was alone before God.
What are we like when we are alone before God? Do we continue to hide behind a mask, or do we openly tell God how we feel and what is going on inside? We may not be like Jeremiah, expressing extreme highs and lows, but we are human beings with feelings and emotions. God cares about how we feel and He listens to us as the psalmist tells us: “The LORD is close to the broken-hearted” (Psalm 34:18). What do we need to tell God about our life today?
Prayer: Dear Compassionate God, I am grateful that I can come before You and be real with who I am, what I am feeling and what I am going through. Thank You for Your unending love and care for me.