What you don’t know CAN hurt you.

I have just come through a serious respiratory illness that suddenly appeared without warning. After several months, I was getting worse and worse, and not only did my symptoms get so severe that I was struggling to breathe, my doctors could not even diagnose my problem. It seemed an unknown “enemy” was trying to kill me. (The nerve!!) They finally put me on a heavy steroid regimen to treat and reverse the symptoms … and it worked! In just a month, I was virtually symptom-free. I FELT great! No more coughing, no shortness of breath … no more problem! “I’m WELL!!!” … I thought.

The problem was that my apparent (lack of) symptoms didn’t tell the whole story. Though I FELT well, the doctor could see the TRUTH beyond my “feelings.”  He said “I’m glad you FEEL better! But, the fact is, you’re still sick.” Sure enough, though the steroids had “cured” the symptoms, tests showed that there was still serious inflammation in my lungs. What I FELT fooled me.

The point I’m making here is that feelings alone can relate a “false truth”.  If I went just by how I “FELT,” I would not see or understand the bigger picture:  the TRUTH.

We can make the same mistake with our spiritual health. We may know that we’ve obeyed the Scriptures and we ARE saved, but perhaps we don’t FEEL saved. Or, on the other hand, we suspect that we have sinned, but we don’t FEEL like we’ve done anything really “wrong.” We think, “Maybe what I did wasn’t really ‘sin.’ After all, I haven’t been struck by lightning! Surely God, in this case, understood the circumstances and gave me a pass!”

TRUTH: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (But …) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:9-10. KJV)

Or, perhaps, we have wish-prayed for a particular answer to our need, and we FEEL we have not yet seen what we’re looking for. We’ve asked—well, begged—God for a miracle, but we don’t FEEL that He has even heard us. We FEEL nothing. However, what we FEEL does not indicate what is TRUE.

There’s a much bigger picture to life than what we can see or perceive … or FEEL. Our life is eternal, and its extremity spreads far beyond the small half-acre that we can sense around us during our short time on earth. In fact, there’s far less seen that what is unseen, and there’s immeasurably more of what we DON’T know than of what we DO. Out beyond all that we can see or know … is GOD.

“I am the one who knows … says the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 29:23 NRSV)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5. ESV)

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”  (Psalm 147:5 NIV)

Prayer: Dear LORD, my faith in You is not dependent on my emotions, but on Your eternal faithfulness. There is nothing that I need that is beyond You. There is no disease or cure outside of Your knowledge. Regardless of what I feel, this I KNOW: that with You, nothing is impossible. Thank you. Amen.


Barbara Hilderbrand and husband, Derrald, live in Wausau, Wisconsin. They’ve served in various ministerial roles within the UPCI over the past fifty years – pastoring in Illinois, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Global Missions’ Europe/ME region. Barb also served in Ladies Ministries in Alaska and Wisconsin. They now eagerly await their next assignment and/or the NEXT stamp on their passports.

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