Jul
30
2009

Where's the Passion?

All my eyes see
Pain and misery
All my heart wants
Is salvation for everyone
I searched the land for a willing man
and I found many here
One by one the hard times come
And they all up and left me.
Where’s the Passion?

This song by Big Tent Revival has been repeating itself in my mind all day. It is depressing: many are willing, but few stick it out to the end. I think the reason so few show perseverance is this: Passion is not, as many have misunderstood, warm fuzzy feelings. John Eldredge writes about this in Walking With God:

I’m not exactly feeling the love of God right now. My heart feels a little sad, with a touch of pain…We don’t believe the Scriptures because they don’t seem to align with what we’re feeling right now. We cannot base our convictions on whether or not we are feeling or experiencing the truth of what God says. It is an arrogant posture, to let our immediate state of being be the judge of whether Scripture is true for us.

This shook me up, considering how many times I’ve prayed, “God, I’m on fire for you! Why can’t I feel that fire, urging me not to doubt? I feel so empty right now.” The answer was right there: because I was relying on the feeling of the moment-the expectation that passion is a feeling.

Instead, passion has everything to do with perseverance. Passion and perseverance are rarely thought of as things that go hand-in-hand, because for some reason we have this idea that if we’re passionate about something, the hardships become “as a few days” like Jacob working for Rachel’s hand in marriage (Gen. 29:20). Passion is hard work, it’s not easy, and often we come up dry. Our plans fail, our efforts don’t succeed, and we find ourselves wondering, “Why am I doing this?”

So often God calls me to do things I don’t understand. Sometimes I’m told to tell others of His love when I’m not feeling that love in my own life. But obedience is necessary, even if I don’t feel like it.

And now a few words from the eyes of a demon, as told by C.S. Lewis on the subject of mere feelings (The Screwtape Letters

“He[God] will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation.

“But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand on its own legs-to carry out from will alone duties which have lost all relish. Do not be deceived, Wormwood.

“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

  • http://www.losingtheworld.com Evan Brammer | Losing The World

    My wife and I both hold to a similar biblical view of children as your parents do and so we’ve (of course) seen the TLC specials regarding your family. We’ve also subscribed to the jeubfamily blog for some time now. If memory serves me correct, I thought I saw a post about you just turning 17.

    As a teacher, I have to say that I am quite impressed with your writing ability. What you write is easy to follow and a pleasure to read. This is the best writing I’ve ever seen from someone your age.

    By the way, I couldn’t agree with this post more. Well done.

  • Sebastián

    Hi Cynthia!
    Totally agree with this post and that passion is about the strength and effort to do things and perseverance, but we always need a motivation. And now a day most people had lose it.

    I hope you understand my comment because my english is not good.

    A big hug from Argentina.
    Sebastián.

  • Monica

    Hey Cynthia,

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog, but I wanted to let you know I have a similar view of love and romantic relationships as you do of passion. Love is something you feel intensely, but it is also something you have to work hard to maintain. I’m impressed that you’ve come to a similar conclusion about passion at such a young age. It is something that took me years to understand intellectually, and I still struggle with it and have a hard time articulating it.

    ~Monica

  • Gabriela

    Thanks Cynthia, I needed that.

  • Leslie Schwager

    Cynthia, I am impressed with your writing ability. There is a level of maturity and skill that springs forth from your words. Currently, I am teaching rhetoric and writing at Evangelical Christian Academy and Collegium, respectively.