Posted by: Kris Lindsey | March 10, 2011

How Should I Feel?

Three people who are dear to me are in the middle of painful crises. In each situation, God is working miracles, and it looks like they will all be better off in the end than before. Should I be sad for the pain they are enduring, or happy because God is bringing them through?

I tend toward empathy. This morning I woke up feeling emotionally off. Of course I did. These tragic events shook me up. I reasoned that I should feel bad because bad things happened, and people I love are hurting.

I also lean toward worry. But that was hard for even me to do when God’s guiding hand was working such obvious wonders and healing. Why be anxious? He has each situation under control.

So…should I feel happy today instead? I pondered and wrestled with God about this new idea.

It feels wrong to feel good in these circumstances.


Because they are in the middle of hardship.

I’m working everything out with them.

I care about what happens.

Pray for them.

Sharing their pain paralyzes me. Is it okay to focus on You and what You’re doing, instead? May I let go of the hurt and trust your control of their situations?

Yes, you may.

Here’s a radical thought. May I go one giant leap forward and actually rejoice in the good You’re working?

Absolutely. I call that faith.

In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit’s power energize and lighten my heart. The pain disappeared, replaced by a tenuous joy.

This feels good, but do I have enough faith to endure? How long can I look past the waves of their present struggles and keep my eyes on Jesus?

And can I possibly accept this very imperfect situation? Is it really imperfect? I think of perfect as calm and trouble-free. Maybe God’s perfect plan involves the pain of growth. Hmm.

Then I saw it−clear as day. Their trials are between God and them. Only they can work them out. I had a boundary issue. Yes, I must touch and understand their hurt, but not take the pain upon myself and carry it around all day. I should keep myself as healthy as possible so I can help. My job is to pray and encourage.

So today I’m drinking the whole glass of God’s loving provision by exercising my faith in God’s sovereignty, and focusing on His wonderful workings in my loved one’s lives.


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