As she curled her early adolescent body into a ball on the couch, Maria’s sadness blanketed her like a shroud. “I hate feeling this way,” she groaned. “I feel like crying, but I don’t know why. Why did God give us emotions, anyway!” She wasn’t asking a question. Instead, she was asking for comfort and relief.
“I never liked feeling that way, myself,” Nannygranne assured her, “but I sure remember it. I remember the feelings were so strong, but I didn’t understand why and I couldn’t seem to turn them off. And I didn’t know what started them, really.”
“Yeah. That’s how I feel. I hate feeling this way!” she repeated.
“Well, Sweetie, I guess it’s part of growing up. When we were little, we knew we were sad when we had to leave a friend’s house. We knew we were angry when that friend punched us, and we knew that we were happy when we got a quarter for the ice cream man on Saturday mornings.” Nannygranne leaned back against the couch, settling into thoughtful quietness with Maria.
After a few minutes, she patted the girl and announced, “Well, I’m not going to take this lying down. I’m going to get ice-cream. Come on. Let’s blow this joint!”
Maria slowly got up, grudgingly slipped on her flip-flops, and followed Nannygranne out the door. Anything was better than this.
Pulling into the drive-in space, they chose their treats and settled back to wait. Maria reached for the radio and turned to a Christian music station she knew Nannygranne enjoyed. The silence seemed unbearable.
“Good idea, Maria,” Nannygranne said. “I learned a long time ago that God could use good music to speak to our hearts when we can’t hear anything else. He loves music, you know.”
“How do you know?” Maria asked.
“He wants us to worship Him with singing. It ranks right up there with praying, preaching, and communion. In fact, they sang a song right after the first Lord’s Supper.”1
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Maria was lost in thought when the ice-cream arrived. “Thank you, Nannygranne. You really know how to make me feel better.”
“Well, then, that was easy.” Nannygranne spooned her favorite hot fudge sundae as she continued. “You know, you asked a pretty deep question earlier when you asked, ‘Why did God give us emotions?’”
“Why did He?”
“Had you ever thought that when God made us in His Image that He made us emotional beings like Him?” Nannygranne continued enjoying her ice-cream, not making eye contact with Maria, hoping she’d ask herself the question rather than give what she thought might be an expected answer.
“Not really. I don’t think God knows what PMS is like, or what it feels like to be ashamed of yourself. And He sure never had to cry.” Maria’s cloudy expression showed that her mood hovered close despite Nannygranne’s efforts.
“Oh, I disagree, Sweet Girl. In fact, I’m sure God did cry2, and I know Jesus felt a huge weight of shame for our guilt one time3. And if God made us like Him, then laughter must be from Him, too.” 4
“God cried? Jesus felt guilt?” Maria now turned to face Nannygranne. Then she gave a little snort of disdain and continued. “I don’t believe that. You’ll have to prove that to me before I’ll believe that.”
“You’re on,” the woman answered, smiling. “As soon as we get home, let’s turn on some good music, get down the Bible, turn up the lights and let me show you a thing or two, Missy!” Then tossing her empty ice-cream cup in the plastic bag serving as her wastebasket, Nannygranne started the car. “Let’s order pizza tonight for supper. We’re not going to want to cook tonight.”
Maria smiled and nodded. “Pizza sounds good. And if you can’t prove what you said, you owe me another ice-cream tomorrow!”
“It’s a deal!” Nannyganne agreed. Then giving Maria a high-five, she turned up the radio. Just then, Lauren Daigle began singing, “You Say.”5
1 Heb 4:15; Matt 26:30; Mk 14:26
2 Wept: John 11:35; Sobbed: Luke 19:41; Loud cries and tears: Heb 5:7
3Matt 27:46; II Cor 5:21, “…He became sin for us…”; Heb 9:28;
4 Psa 65:12-13, Psa 126:2; Isa 55:12
5 “You Say” by Lauren Daigle https://youtu.be/oZvKJl1kK8g
“You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don’t belong, oh, You say I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh, I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
“Emotions result from assessments made about the past, present, and future—and Christianity grounds its believers in a specific past, present, and future. Through the act of baptism, we are incorporated into the story of God healing a fractured world. We are adopted into the household of faith, meaning that Israel’s story has become our story. Thus, we no longer see the past, present, and future the same way as the world. We no longer need to embrace a narrative that says only the fittest will survive. We no longer need to see our happiness as tied to what gadgets and goods we possess. We no longer need to live in denial of the immense suffering and death that pervades human existence. We no longer need to look to the future with utter uncertainty, for we know that our story ends with fellowship with God and all the saints.” – Matthew Richard Schlimm, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary