Today, surrounded by warm sunshine, towering palms, and blue water, I feel a rush of joy that seems like it will last forever.
Moments later, my mood is interrupted by a frisson of anxiety over my son’s interview, and less than a half an hour more finds me wrestling with confusion over what to write here.
Our days are like that, aren’t they? Fleeting happiness followed by bouts of worry displaced by teetering faith which is superseded by a spate of doubt. Our human emotions are highly unpredictable and seldom sustainable.
And yet they’re a gift, a reflection of the image of God.
Truthfully, my emotions feel like a mixed blessing, and trying to capture the gift of them while minimizing the curse isn’t easy. I’m starting this “Feel” series with several posts about the emotions of God, but it has required some research on my part to make sure that I stay theologically straight for you, my readers, and for myself, a woman who longs to follow God with as much purity as humanly possible. Before we go on, I want to share a truth that sets God’s emotions apart from our human emotions:
God has emotions, but His are both immutable and incorruptible.
- They’re immutable. God’s character and nature never changes, so unlike humans, He is not susceptible to “mood swings”. Every emotion He has is consistent and completely in line with His permanent will and dependable promises.
- They’re incorruptible. God is without sin, and His emotions are the same. They aren’t swayed by circumstances or give to fits of extremes based on selfishness. God’s emotions are a beautiful reflection of His perfection.
This quote helped my understanding so much, “There are two wonderful things concerning God and emotions: first, He understands our emotions (since He created us with the capacity to feel them), and, second, His own emotions continually flow from His perfection. God will never have a bad day; He will never change His feelings toward His redeemed.” (Source: Got Questions.com)
One of the emotions I treasure most in this life is joy, and it’s rich because its source is God Himself. As I read Scripture, God’s greatest joy seems to be in us. Unimaginable.
Zephaniah 3: 17 is often quoted but undeniably beautiful, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
And then there’s this verse that isn’t found on mugs and t-shirts, “As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5) Hearkens back to my last post, doesn’t it?
There are others, but one of my favorites points directly to Jesus’ motive for His sacrifice, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2b) It’s overwhelming to think that Jesus gave His life because of the anticipated joy of being reconciled to us!
In every case, including Jesus’ crucifixion, God’s joy is unchanged by circumstances and pain. It’s uncorrupted by evil or malice.
God’s joy is complete, and ours becomes complete in Him. (John 16:24)
So here we are, wrapped in God’s immeasurable love and the object of His joy. Knowing that we’re the recipient of His emotions– love, joy, mercy and compassion is an awe inspiring truth.
But what’s to be done with His “negative” emotions? I’ll address that question in my next post.