Anger. Depression. Loneliness. Guilt. These are emotions that powerfully affect our lives. We find them hopelessly undesirable and, at times, they can completely overwhelm us.
But the good news is even when we feel we’re losing our emotional battles, God is actually winning the war! Though it might not feel like it, God has a positive message for us in our negative emotions—and can use those emotions for spiritual growth and maturity.
Unfortunately, as fallen human beings, living in a fallen world, we aren’t given the privilege to pick and choose which emotions we will experience in our lives. We appreciate and value all the joy, love, laughter, peace, and excitement we can wrap our arms around. But then, we also have to deal with the dark side of the emotional spectrum.
But those emotions—the darker and more difficult ones—are important. In fact, they reveal a great deal about who we are and where we are in life.
There are two key steps involved in working through these painful emotions. The first is coming to an honest understanding of why you feel the way you do. The second is gaining an insight into what God wants you to do about it.
If your struggle is with frustration, it could be that you are in the wrong place in life, forsaking the best things for the good things. If you’re feeling angry at someone, God may be prompting you to offer forgiveness. If it’s guilt, then there’s a good chance He’s reminding you to turn to Jesus, confess your sins, and trust in His forgiveness.
When we understand ourselves better and are able to see what God is saying to us through our emotional trials, we can begin to turn our negative emotions into joyful and abundant living.
The Bible says God trains you and me through our trials and difficulties. That is where we build spiritual muscle. James 1:12 lays out this fantastic promise: Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
So whatever the emotion you are struggling with (and we all struggle at times!), remember to keep trusting in Jesus, because serving Him is worth every trial, every problem, and every tear! His Word makes sense of our confusion and His Holy Spirit offers freedom and peace in the midst of crisis.