“Jesus felt…” Matthew 20:34
School is hard. But I loved those classes where you could do easy, even fun work, and get A’s. One such class was Art Class. Art was the best because your grade was largely based on effort and following instructions, not the quality of the artwork. Which meant a kid who couldn’t paint, draw, or cut in straight lines could still get a good grade, as long as they tried hard and followed the directions. Why couldn’t math class be that way? I followed instructions! I tried hard? A for effort, right?
I always liked painting projects in art class. I don’t know why; perhaps because painting is not something we do daily (unless… you’re a painter). You don’t take history notes with a paint brush or take the math final on a canvas. I think I liked it best though because you could create your colors by mixing the paints. You could pick the color, the shade, the hue, and much more just by blending things together. It felt freeing to know that I got to choose and form the colors that went into my project, and I could make colors that were not originally there.
In the next few years, you are going to undergo major emotional changes, and I liken those changes to a paint pallet (that oval shaped board painters hold that contains all their paints). When you were a child, you had just a few emotional colors to work with (happiness, anger, fear, sadness), but as you enter into your teenage years, a whole bunch of new colors get added. And you can mix them. Shade them darker or lighter. You’ll experience a greater variety and a greater intensity of emotions. You’ll feel emotions in situations that don’t make sense for that situation (you might feel sad when you know you should be happy or angry when something really isn’t wrong), and you need to know that is NORMAL! You’re not weird. You’re not losing your mind. You’re experiencing normal growth and change, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.
What also makes emotions tricky is they are often out of our control. We “feel” something and cannot shake it off. If we’re not careful, we’ll let our emotions drive our actions, words, and beliefs. This is where we have to learn how to have self-control and faith; faith that God is constant when our emotions are not. We have to learn that we can’t always control our emotions, but we can control how we respond.
We see all over the New Testament that Jesus felt things – happy, compassion, sorrow – and we’ve seen all week that Jesus was at one time a middle schooler. That means he went through the process of grappling with his expanding emotions, so he knows what it is like. He can be there for you in the midst of it, and the Bible is full of people who felt strong emotions but turned to God for peace. We’ll look at many, but today just “feel” good knowing that you have a Savior who loves you no matter when you’re feeling today.