Emotions are often my best friends and my dirty rotten enemies, all within the same day.
I struggle with ups and downs, sideways movements, and hostage-like situations with glad, sad, mad, and just plain blah.
I was also once congratulated by a nurse during childbirth for my “amazing sense of self-control.” Probably my favorite compliment to date…ever.
So, which person am I? A happy one? A frustrated one? A self-controlled one?
I’m encouraged to know that it doesn’t work like that. I’m not defined by my output, my responses, or my reactions on any given day. If I’m honest, that’s one of my greatest fears — that people will see me, my family will see me, as the woman who lost it while cooking dinner, the woman who exudes joy but cries quietly in the bathroom when she gets a moment, the angry mom from last Tuesday.
Fear and failure are hulking realities in our lives. They cast a shadow on our days and our emotions often top the list of where we think we don’t measure up.
2 Timothy 1:7 is often quoted to aid our Christian walk-
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
When I hear this, my first thoughts are
“Get it under control, Heidi.”
Any time you share this as a meme or share across the table with a friend struggling with emotions, I would venture a bet that this is the message they hear,
“Get it under control.”
But God gives verses in context and that context is always the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Even our emotions are best understood in this context.
So let’s see today what power and message the resurrection has for all those emotions.
Read Mark 16:1-6 to discover more:
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.
“Do not be alarmed.”
This assumes obvious and vagrant emotions on the part of the women showing up at the tomb – shock, surprise, maybe fear, a mixture.
The Greek word for alarmed in Mark 16:6 is ekthambeisthe, from the root ekthambeó. It’s more closely related to awe and wonder than fear alone. Finding Jesus gone was a shock for these women. Finding an angel, a messenger of God in all his glory, still more shocking. I love that the Helps Word Studies at biblehub.com refers to the Greek text translation as being “out of one’s senses” because of what they saw, what they experienced, the shock of the reality of God’s intervention.
The parallel in Matthew 28:5-10 does directly reference fear though.
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
The Greek here is phobeisthe from phobeó — withdraw in fear, flee, avoid —but also includes reverence. The words are different and have a different emphasis from the writers. But I think it’s safe to say that what the women experienced at the resurrection was a mixture of emotions
in reference to who they were based on what God can do, who God is.
When we recognize ourselves in relation to God, the power of God, God’s control, God’s perfection, when that’s what we hear on its own with no resurrection context in 2 Timothy 1:7, we will feel completely an utterly
Lost in a world of emotions and their hold on our spirits.
But the context of the resurrection overarching all we know and experience of God changes everything.
He does not define us by moments, by responses, by the angry mom on Tuesday versus the joyful woman in worship.
Jesus’ death and resurrection tells us that He sees us as significant.
His response does not change based on what we feel at the moment — shock, awe, sadness, joy, wonder, anger, fear.
The message of the angel to the women was not just “do not,” but also see who He is –
“He has risen; he is not here.”
Do not be alarmed, do not be afraid, there is no need. I think we read it wrong and out of context. God always reaches out, never pushes away, when Jesus stands as the intermediary. He sees our fear, our frustration, our astonishment and says, “Don’t separate yourself from me. Come in for a closer look.”
The resurrection invites us in for a closer look.
Read 2 Timothy 1:6-7, again-
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The knowledge of the resurrection, resurrection reality in our lives, fans into flame the gift — Christ in our hearts, the Spirit firing up in our souls.
It’s a gift. When we feel overwhelmed, out of our senses with emotions, we can go in for a closer look at God in His Word, be encouraged, be refreshed, and begin to sort it all out in a safe space at His feet.
Prepare to be astonished, amazed, a little afraid, but always significant, no matter the emotion — in His resurrection. What hope do you hear in Jesus reaching out to you in the midst of emotions? What promise does the resurrection hold no matter your state of mind?