We can’t rely on our feelings. We can’t rely on physical happenings, no matter how comforting they may be, but we can rely on God’s word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). The words we find in it are His words for us. They reveal Him to us. We come to know Him through His Son, Immanuel, who is, “God with us (Matthew 1:23).” He came to show us who He is and to reveal His glory, His grace, His love, His power, His transforming power, His forgiveness, His healing, and most importantly, His salvation.
The Bible contains His words and many promises, all of which, if they haven’t yet been fulfilled, will come to pass in the course of (His) history; for He created the earth and all that is in it (Genesis 2:4-7): the universe, heaven and hell; the angels, archangels – even satan, which may seem strange, but without him there could be no evil. Without evil there would be no sin, no suffering, no crucifixion, no forgiveness and no need for reconciliation with God, and the expression of love from God would not have the depth it has through the suffering of Christ for His people (1 Peter 3:18). The price that was paid by Jesus as He hung on the cross was the greatest expression God’s love. It demonstrated His wonderful, sacrificial love for us. We cannot grasp the enormity of Jesus’ suffering, anguish, torment, ignominy and abandonment. The Man Jesus endured hell; He was forsaken (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46) by His Father and made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) – we who believe in Him, to set us free from the second death (Revelation 20:6) and everlasting hell.
As we ponder and meditate upon these things, our heart is full of gratitude and we give Him sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:15). His love brings us great joy (Galatians 5:22) and assurance for the future. As we suffer, we draw strength from Him, knowing He has suffered beyond our understanding; knowing that He is with us at all times; knowing that He feels our pain, anguish, and despair, just as the psalmist declared (Psalm 25).
In Old Testament times God visited His people on many occasions. His Angel went before them in a pillar of cloud whenever they wandered in the desert (Exodus 14:19; Numbers 9;15-17). They were afraid of His presence at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16), and they were awed when He came to Solomon’s temple at Jerusalem. There He made His presence felt by filling it with the cloud (2 Chronicles 5;13, 14; 7:2, 3) and with the glory of the Lord.
At the inauguration of the second temple, God did not fill it with cloud and with His glory (Ezra 6:15, 16). Jesus Himself entered Herod’s temple and twice cleansed it, reminding the authorities that the temple was God’s house of prayer, and it should be respected as such, instead of being used as a market place for dishonest gain (Matthew 21:12, 13; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:46; John 2:15).
After His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room (John 20:19-29), where he comforted them. Before ascending into heaven He promised that His Father would send them the Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), who would reside with each of them, and all believers. This same Holy Spirit indwells believers today. He empowers them, enabling them to overcome sin, to live holy lives, and to proclaim the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (John 7:37-39).
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that we could not rely on our feelings, i.e., our emotions. On the other hand, we can rely upon God’s Word, the Bible. However, there are times when we reflect and meditate upon God’s Word, and we ‘feel’ His presence. Inwardly we ‘experience’ His peace (John 14:27), and we rest in Him (Hebrews 4:1-13). We know His reality which is more real to us than things tangible. Our hearts ‘burn’ within us, just as did the hearts of the two disciples when they had an encounter with the risen Lord Jesus, while on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:32).