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April 21, 2024

Dr. Paul Cannings

Life issues can often feel like a relentless beat down. So much so that getting past our emotions can seem like a mountain to climb. It may seem like a daunting task to overcome our emotions and find steps that lead to consistent results. We are constantly striving to pray, to genuinely worship the Lord, to have a desire to obey Him, to have a sense of intimacy with God, and to read the scriptures feeling uplifted. What’s truly remarkable is that even great men of God have experienced emotional turmoil that has impacted their relationship with God, making their struggles relatable to ours.


Elijah became overwhelmed by the constant attacks of Jezebel towards him, and her vicious attacks on the prophets of God. Based on Elijah’s response to God, it seemed from his vantage point that God was not doing enough to stop Jezebel while he was faithfully serving God. “And he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away’” (1 Kings 19:10-11; NASB). Elijah had evaluated all that was taking place before him. Even though Elijah was well-versed in scripture, he chose to be guided by his understanding of the circumstances and his fears (1 Kings 19:1-8). Interestingly, Obadiah, a man of God, trusted God, and even though he worked in the presence of this evil woman, Jezebel, he still served God faithfully (1 Kings 18:1-16). Our emotions can powerfully control our minds and soon become our God, even for a revered man of God.


Christ became very emotional in the Garden of Gethsemane, but He did two things we can learn from: He never stopped praying, and no matter how He felt, He remained committed to doing His Father’s will (Matthew 26:36-46). Emotions are extremely powerful, especially when we are scarred by our troubles. This is why the scriptures direct us to pray when anxious (Philippians 4:4-7), guide us to remain very committed to set our minds on what God is doing, not on all the bad things taking place around us (Philippians 4:8-9; James 1:17; 3:13-15; Proverbs 3:5-6), deny ourselves (Luke 14:26-29) and be committed to bear the cross we may need to carry; Christ promises us that His load is easier and His burden is lighter (Matthew 11:25-33). Christ did not say there is no cross to bear; there is a cross, but with the help of the Holy Spirit in us, the strength He provides us, as we mature through our trials (James 1:2-4), He blesses us so that we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).


God forgave Elijah but chose to pass the torch to Elisha (1 Kings 19:15-21). We must remain focused so that the Word of God guides us even when there is emotional turmoil in our lives (Hebrews 11-12:1-3).