umm … that was your cue

Like the classic cricket orchestra filling the void of a missed cue, the emptiness of my heart echoes with an eerie silence in moments it should resonate with the symphony of a well tuned emotive song.
I’ve never been one to be overly expressive. I don’t usually cry during movies. (In fact, I laughed when Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, lost his volleyball sounding board, Wilson, in Cast Away! Not exactly characteristic of the most sympathetic person in the world.) Still, when presented with the most captivating and thrilling reality known to the heart of man, the gospel, I expect it to evoke some kind of emotion!
It is frustrating and severely demoralizing to possess such a stoic heart sometimes. This past week, my lack of emotional reply led me to doubt the very veracity of my salvation . . . again. If I can’t return more than a casual nod when given the privilege to view the gospel at work, I immediately conclude that I have never been changed, and my spiritual life is a sham.
Here’s what’s happening: My head likes to fancy itself the director of my emotions. Sadly, my heart often refuses direction and performs its own version of the script, missing important cues, and appearing in the wrong places at the wrong time. Since my head isn’t receiving any positive feedback, it automatically assumes the heart wasn’t ever even given a copy of the “new” script, and gives up in despair.  
A sad, sad story, I know. I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it though.
What I’m coming to understand however, is that my heart isn’t missing the “new” copy of the script (that “new” copy being the implanted Word of God). It’s failing to rehearse its lines. I’m not preaching the gospel to myself. Emotions aren’t always neatly responsive in ways that make for a good play or beautiful music. Someone wrote about this in Psalm 42:
As a deer pants for the flowing streams,
So pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
For the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
How I would go with the throng
And lead them in procession to the house of God
With glad shouts and songs of praise,
A multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
And why are you in turmoil within me?  
Hope in God, for I shall again praise him,
My salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I remember you
From the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
From Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
At the roar of your waterfalls;
All your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
And at night his song is with me,
A prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
Because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me,
While they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
My salvation and my God.
First of all, this is proof that I am not crazy for talking to myself! I love how the writer addresses himself. He remembers that he used to have exultant emotions among God’s people. He used to lead them in worship. And now? Now he is cast down. His soul is not responding as it once did. His conclusion is vastly different from mine however. Instead of remaining in his despair, he looks to God, his salvation. He rehearses with his heart the truth. He instructs his heart in how to respond.
The next time I come up dry emotionally, I want to remember this Psalm. Emotions are wonderful and created by God, but in our fallen frame they can be so misleading. If I were to rewrite that last verse in the Psalm, it would go something like this:
Why aren’t you excited about the gospel?
Heart why don’t you express gratitude for what God has done for you?
Look to your Redeemer. I will sing my song of praise again.
He has saved me, and He is my God forever.

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