“How are you doing?” I asked a friend of mine.
“Not good,” she answered. “I am so depressed. Anxiety is eating away at me. My faith is on the rocks.”
These sentiments are likely familiar to you as well – you may have voiced them yourself or you may have heard them from people you know and love. The upheaval this year has brought into our lives has also caused an upheaval in our emotions. The range of those emotions is broad: anxiety, depression, anger, apathy, and fear can all play in.
These negative emotions are hard to handle ... and they become even harder when we assume that they act as a measuring stick for our faith. The thought goes like this: if I am feeling good, my faith is strong; if I am feeling bad, my faith is weak.
This is an absolute, total, complete lie – and it is a lie that Satan is using viciously right now to tear down Christ-followers. Here is the truth:
YOUR FEELINGS AND YOUR FAITH ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
You can feel lousy and still have faith that is strong as iron and solid as rock – just consider the psalms where David and others cry out from the depths of despair, anxiety, and fear. Their emotions were raw and harsh ... but their faith was firm. I encourage you to watch this video I made for more on this: https://vimeo.com/412060345.
Hebrews 11:1 gives us a beloved definition of faith: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There is nothing here about feelings. Nothing about our emotions. Faith is assurance in God and his Word despite how lousy we may feel. Faith is conviction that Jesus is Lord regardless of the tumult of our emotions.
It’s okay in the midst of this crisis for our emotions to be turbulent. I freely admit that mine are. But even when I experience a tidal wave of negative feelings, I don’t have to worry that my faith will be swept away – and neither do you. Our faith gives us a firm anchor in the storm: “this hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). Our feelings are one thing, and our faith is another.
And never forget – Jesus himself is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We are safe in him.