Moments that Move

Bob Wiley (bobble head) is excited to see the end of the book.

One day last week, I was typing along, trying to wrap up the rough draft of Wil Clarey: The Mystery at the Mill, when I got to the end of a paragraph and tears threatened to spill from my eyes.

No, it wasn’t some emotional scene.

It just hit me, as the last few words hit the page, that it was the end of the book.

With my busy schedule, it has taken me over a year and a half to write it.

It was a momentous occasion!

I was brought up to stuff emotions inside.

“If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about”

was heard around my childhood home more than once.

Later in life, even my father realized how destructive that phrase was.

Now I’m a big softy.

My kids like watching emotional movies with me so they can see me cry. Of course, I use the “I’m just stuffed up” excuse every time but they know better.

The same thing happens to me at a powerful worship service – especially if we sing songs that hold nostalgic significance to me.

Brant Hansen writes about having experienced emotional envy. (Blessed are the Misfits c. 2017, Brant Hansen). Being on the autism spectrum, situations that would be emotional to others didn’t faze him. He makes the point that those experiences and the faith that goes with them are not dependent on emotion.

When I lived in Arizona, I attended a church where the worship leader got so emotional every week that it distracted me from the worship experience. After a couple of months there, I ended up going to a different church because of it.

Worship can be an emotional experience.

So, what am I trying to say?

Is emotion good or not?

Anyone who has experienced tears of joy should be able to tell you that emotion is good. I agree. But,

Emotion should never take the place of faith.

Faith will produce an emotional response in most people. But faith based on emotional experiences has an unstable foundation.

In preparing for this blog, I tried to think of experiences I’ve had that were emotional. There were many. But it wasn’t the emotional response, but the situation and the faith involved in it that were life changing.

I could go on and on about emotions. There are so many negative emotions that can make people feel trapped.

I’ve been there.

I can offer no easy escape, but I can say that positive emotions help.

So, next time that song has you in tears, that unexpected blessing brings tears of joy, or that leap of faith brings release from anxiety, savor the emotional experience without basing your life on it.

You may just find those flashes of joy help light the way to an emotionally and spiritually healthy life based on

truth and faith.

A Father’s Love

I once owned a diesel VW Rabbit. It was slow, but I could drive a thousand miles on a single fill-up.

Until that one day.

It started overheating. I added water. It kept overheating. I made it home, spewing white smoke behind me. Then I made it to the mechanic. The bill was staggering. You mechanics know why.

First, I added water when I should have added coolant. Worse, I added it when it was hot. I ignored the owner’s manual and the advice of experts and it cost me a new engine head instead of just a gasket. Lesson learned.

The designer of that engine knew what I needed to do.

How many times do I ignore the instructions of the Designer of my life?

Yes, I believe that Someone designed me.

I know that many reject that idea.

Some see God as a strict judge with a bunch of rules designed to control us. I can understand since that image has been perpetuated by religious people for centuries. If that was an accurate picture of God, I would probably reject that too.

But God is a Dad!

I have four kids. I’m far from perfect but my love for each of them is deep.

I’m not a very strict dad, but what rules I enforce, I do for their good. When my kids try to do things their own way, I feel for them. I know that they’ll have to deal with the consequences. Sometimes I have to intervene with some tough love. If I were to catch them intentionally hurting others, I would probably be angry at them.

How do you think God, who created the universe, would raise his children?

Wouldn’t He give His kids rules designed to help them grow into healthy adults that fit into this world?

When His kids wander away, don’t you think God’s heart breaks?

How would you feel if your kids denied that you even existed?

Jesus referred to God the Father as “Abba”. That means “Daddy”. That’s the kind of God I believe in. He loves us enough to provide commands designed for our good. He is fiercely protective of His kids. Try to harm them and you might experience the fierce side of His love.

No one obeys His commands perfectly. When you mess up, God made a way for you to be restored.

If you reject Him, He allows it. But that breaks His Daddy heart.

How do you see God?

Do you believe He exists?

Is He a strict judge?

Is He an egomaniac?

Or, like me, do you see a loving Daddy who wants the best for His kids?

If that’s true, how do we respond to that? Let’s talk about it.