an unexpected morning
I awoke on my kitchen floor, shaking with cold and shock, blood trickling from my mouth.
Touching my lip, I found it swollen and terribly tender under my fingers. I took a few breaths in the darkness, hearing the refrigerator’s hum behind me, and tried to recall what had happened. In a flood it came to me: the strange, crippling back pain that had kept me up all night; the desperate clamber out of bed to stretch and seek relief; the slow shuffle to the kitchen for a glass of water.
Did I pass out?
With this rhetorical revelation came a rush of fearful questions and hot tears. Mind and body overwhelmed, my heart quietly cried, God, where are you? What’s happening? Please give me peace.
I lay there as my mind raced and my body bled, waiting for an overwhelming feeling of peace to cover me. But as the fridge hummed on and the tiniest hints of dawn peeked through the blinds, all I felt was growing panic. Surely I had broken bones, knocked out teeth, disfigured my face—or worse.
In a delayed reflex, my mind groped for Scripture. I mumbled through my swollen lips, “God is [my] refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). I repeated those words over and over. No transcendent feelings enveloped me, but eventually my husband’s strong arms did.
In the days that followed—marked by stitches, X-rays, tests—my emotions ran wild. I felt frustration, fear, uncertainty, sadness, shame, and relief in uneven waves. I prayed when I could, in crowded waiting rooms and on cold exam tables, and called to mind more of the Bible passages I had long ago tucked into my memory. When I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry, I preached the gospel to myself—the devastating effects of sin and brokenness, the beautiful redemption that is ours by grace through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the promised restoration awaiting us at Christ’s return. Sisters and brothers in Christ came alongside me to encourage and pray. Even so, it was a long time before I felt the tangible peace and wellbeing I had sought the morning of my accident.
truth trumps feelings
But God’s presence was not dependent on my feelings. And His goodness and mercy were no less real when I was having stitches re-done or drinking all my food through a straw than when I could speak normally again or walk without pain. My assurance came not from my emotional state, or from an outcome, but from the character of God revealed in His living Word.
Even when I felt alone, I never was—not for a moment (Matthew 28:20).
Even when I felt afraid, I could rest in the power, love, and self-control of the Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7).
Even when I felt pain and uncertainty, I could have confidence that God works all things for the ultimate good of His children (Romans 8:28).
Even when my thoughts veered toward hopelessness or self-pity, I could set them instead on “things above” (Colossians 3:2).
And even when I eventually felt well again, I could only attribute it to the Sovereign One who both gives and takes away for His glory and my good (Job 1:21, 2:10).
Feelings are important—we don’t ignore them or stuff them away—but they are limited. They are deeply affected by sin and by the depraved human bodies that house them. Not even our thoughts are infallible. If we allow every thought and feeling to control us and determine what is true, our foundation of truth will constantly be shifting. Training our minds to treasure and retain the unchanging Truth of Scripture is imperative, so our minds can then inform our emotions. We “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), which is a Spirit-enabled act of obedience. If we invest the time and discipline to memorize and meditate on the Truth of God’s Word, we will have an arsenal ready when our minds veer into doubt or our feelings run amok.
But this is far more than just having a token scripture tucked away for every situation we expect to face. This is more than answering feelings of anxiety with “do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6) or feelings of discouragement with “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). It is knowing, trusting, and resting in the person and character of the God who authored those words. It is feasting on the entirety of Scripture—even the confusing passages—so every morsel is sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103). But it begins with picking up your fork to take the first bite of that feast, and then the next, to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
If you are looking for a tool to help you arm yourself with truth, our new Truth Trumps Feelings verse cards offer a beautiful and practical way to memorize Scripture while digging a little deeper into each passage’s context and meaning. We pray these verse cards will equip you with powerful gospel truth to help you stand firm, despite fickle feelings, in every circumstance.