The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is

The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is

All relationships have emotional ups and downs to them. There are times when you feel close to the people you love and times you do not. That’s true in friendships, between parents and children, and also between married people. We don’t always feel the same about the other person day to day or month to month.

It is the same when we consider our relationship with Jesus. There might be days when you feel that you are so close to Jesus. You cannot help but sing as you walk along, and you love to pray and read the Bible. Yet there are other days that this is not the case. It feels like your prayers are bouncing back off the ceiling and you lose the motivation to serve that you had at previous times.

We see this variability in the love story that is the book of Song of Songs. So much of the first few chapters is full of positivity and passion and longing. He describes her body in dramatic ways, and she calls him her beloved. All seems to be wonderful in every way. Yet even this couple have misunderstandings. She feels he is unreasonable at the start of chapter 5, then she feels frustration as she seeks to find him. Her friends ask her why her man is so special to her in 5:9, which makes her stop and reflect. And her answer is detailed from 5:10-16; there are so many things that make her man special to her. It is his physical presence but also his friendship, the fact that he is more distinguished than ten thousand others. She is reminded why they are together and how good their relationship really is. Even though she felt frustrated and confused, she knew that there was real commitment and love there.

As always with Song of Songs, there is the human relationship application and the spiritual application.

When it comes to human relationships, the way we feel will vary day to day. Even among married people who have made a commitment to be faithful whatever happens, there will be days when you don’t really like your spouse. You love them, but right now you don’t like them very much. On those days, we need to reflect on what is true beyond how we feel. This person who right now we might be angry or frustrated with is the same one who has been so good to us and whom we have married. We need to step back and appreciate what we have and not let how we feel right now change the relationship.

When it comes to our relationship with God, we also will have days we love God with all our hearts and days when we struggle with this. God has not changed. We need to reflect on God’s goodness to us in Jesus. God’s love for us in Jesus is so secure and will not change; in fact, nothing in all of creation can change it (Rom 8:39). Just because we might feel further from God today does not mean we are actually further away in reality.

Emotion is a great gift from God, but it is variable. What God has done for us in Jesus if we are one of God’s people is concrete and secure in reality. We might feel differently about it from day to day, but the reality remains firm. God’s love for his people is secure, now and forever.