How God Speaks Through Our Emotions
In my work, I frequently transport people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Many of them are homeless. I’d like to say that I have a heart full of compassion and love for them, but if I said that, I would be lying. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of natural affection for these people. I’ve been on the receiving end of my share of violence and abuse from some of my former patients who were struggling with addiction. Yet God in his wisdom gave me a calling to minister healing to these folks. One of the most frequent ways He communicates to me about an addicted person He wants me to pray with is through my emotions.
I’ve sat in the back of the ambulance a thousand times writing my report as I transported an intoxicated, verbally abusive person to the hospital. I generally try to remain as uninvolved with them as I can. The more detached I remain, the less likelihood there is of an altercation. But I’ve been surprised at how often I’ve felt a deep ache in my soul over the condition of one of these people. There I am, minding my own business, writing my report, when a wave of broken-heartedness comes over me. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening when I felt these emotions. I’m sure I shrugged them off a number of times and didn’t respond the way I should have. But gradually, I began seeing a pattern in these emotions and one day, when I was feeling the deep broken-heartedness over a drunk I’d just met, I asked if I could pray for him. He smiled and said, “I’d love that.”
One of the most reliable ways of knowing you’re sensing something from God is knowing it didn’t come from you. I suspect the problem some of us have is that we aren’t sure which emotions are ours, and which are external to us. We’ve been trained to think that every emotion we feel is one of our own emotions. But emotions are tricky things. Demons can make us feel certain emotions, and so can angels. And God often conveys to us His emotions when He wants to communicate something to us. Even though these emotions seem to be ours, because they feel the same as the rest of our emotions—there are subtle clues that point to an external origin for some of them.
I think we probably give ourselves more credit for having compassion and love for others than we rightly deserve. It feels good to give ourselves a pat on the back when we show unusual kindness to a stranger. It’s human nature to think we’re the one responsible for “paying it forward.” But I suspect that in many cases, what’s happening is that God is communicating the way He feels toward that stranger through our emotions. After we sense His heart for them, we’re moved to do the right thing—something other than what we would normally do. We take the credit for our good deed, but in many cases, God was behind it all. Most of us feel God’s emotions for the people around us more often than we realize, but we’re simply not aware of where the emotions are coming from.
This is an excerpt from my book Hearing God’s Voice Made Simple. Click on the link or on the image below to learn more.