What Do You Feel God Feeling?

Posted on by Curt Thompson

I often ask my patients this question. Not, “What do you think God is thinking?” or “What do you think God is feeling?” Rather, “What do you feel God feeling?” They will occasionally give me a puzzled look, as if to ask in return, “What exactly are you talking about?” It is not easy for us to get our imaginations around sensing what God is sensing, what he is feeling. Which isn’t really all that surprising. Many of us don’t really have that much experience being asked this question, and few of us have practiced over the years actually feeling what God is feeling. But sensing God’s emotional tenor is an important element in following Jesus. For indeed, the biblical narrative seems to indicate that Jesus felt his father’s presence and love quite sensitively, as did the psalmists who wrote so much out which Jesus learned to pray. To follow Jesus is to do what he did. Scripture is replete with references with God’s deep affection and commitment to us. But our experience as humans in our particular histories often crowds out any images of God’s love and affection. I’m more prone to be quite aware of his disappointment and impatience than I am of his pleasure. Luke’s Gospel records that at his baptism, Jesus heard his Father tell him of his love and affection. I would suggest that God is telling us each the same. All the time. My problem is that there is a cacophony of other voices telling me something very different. So here is something to try. Imagine that you are in one of your favorite places in the world, someplace beautiful, safe, and secure. Now imagine that after seeing yourself in this place for several moments, you sense God join you and say to you, “You are my daughter, and I am so pleased you are on the earth.” Or, “You are my son, and I could not be happier that you are mine.” Imagine what it would be like to live each measurable moment of time in the deep, present awareness that God feels that toward you. Imagine what would happen to our fear, our shame, our guilt. Visualize how we would treat our friends, children, even our enemies. I encourage you to give this exercise a try (but don’t stop till you’ve been at it for several weeks). I think you’ll like how it feels. I’m sure God will.

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3 Responses to What Do You Feel God Feeling?

  1. Robyn says:

    So interesting and resounds truth for me. so much of my Christian faith has been trying to prove my love and faith to Him by thinking the right thoughts, or doing the right behaviors. I can definitely say I am often overwhelmed with left-brain analysis and over-evaluation ABOUT God and what I know about Him. I feel and know His love often when I am writing a letter or poem of praise to Him…it is a long arduous process, at times, to REST and Be STILL and KNOW He is God.
    The integration of the disengaged parts of us…mind and body is what I believe Jesus came to give us – the mid of Christ and birth into His Body.

  2. LarryB says:

    This is aonther great point. We have been schooled in Old Testament ways and we need to spend more ttime contemplating, praying and meditating on the fact we are His children, He loves us and we bring Him joy.

  3. Pam says:

    Although I have been a Christian for many years, and am well-versed in theology, a disconnect I could not bridge kept me from feeling satisfied in God. Eventually, I came to realize that intimacy and feeling connected to others requires emotional transparency — both on my part and the other person’s. So, I’ve been applying this idea to my relationship with God, asking “What does God feel?” as I read the Bible and consider nature, current events, or my own needs. I believe His feelings go beyond “love” or “anger” to include states such as confidence, joy, playfulness, or anything else humans might feel. Considering God’s feelings leads to feeling connected in a deeply satisfying way; for example, I find a great deal of peace in reflecting on how confident God must feel, as I tend to be a fearful person in many situations. I suppose myself to be on safe theological ground here, since we are made in the image of God, but obviously one must be careful that our musings are guided by what the Bible tells us of God’s character, plan, etc. Thank you, Curt, for your statement on God’s feelings, and I would love to hear anything else you have to share on this topic.

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