Actor. Gable landed a job with a stock company gaining valuable training from the woman who would become his wife and lead him to Hollywood and a career which spanned three decades with appearances in 92 movies including "Gone With the Wind," one of the most popular film of all times. Gable won an Academy Award in 1934 for his role in "It Happened One Night." His third marriage to actress Carole Lombard ended with her tragic death at 33 in a plane crash in 1942. Distraught, he withdrew from his career and though well over the draft age, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps becoming an aerial gunner during World War II flying in five bombing missions over Germany and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. Discharged with the rank of Major, he returned to Hollywood and resumed film making. Two weeks after completing his last movie, "The Misfits," He suffered chest pains and was transported to Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles where he was diagnosed as having suffered a coronary thrombosis. On the ninth day of his confinement he passed away.
In the play Julius Caesar William Shakespeare muses, "You are not wood, you are not stones, but men." For some reason, emotions are simply expectations we have of one another. Even amidst brief exchanges with strangers, we would be caught off guard by a totally callous individual; we would find an emotionless person somewhat disturbing. The world was appalled and infuriated when Timothy McVeigh described with stone cold expression the actions he took to carry out his plans to destroy the Oklahoma City Federal building. We seem to wholeheartedly sense that a human who can sever their emotions like that is behaving in a way that is something less than human.
Quite simply, we are emotional beings. It is equally evident that we are personal beings—lives created to know and be known. Perhaps this reality hints at something much deeper; there is a reason we were made to feel.
In understanding the human capacity for emotion, Ravi Zacharias often suggests we look first at the presence and purpose of feeling in physiological realms. If you burn your finger or break your arm, you will immediately notice swelling and redness. Yet, beyond the blisters or bruises, there is a sensitivity about the damaged spot that remains. We are more gentle with an arm that has been hurt, and for good reason. The sensitivity of a burned or wounded arm essentially tells us, "Protect this area. Protect it, because if the damage continues, you will wound it in an even greater way." Physiologically, that there is reason behind our ability feel is unmistakable.
Many hold the false impression that leprosy causes the stricken individual to lose limbs and damage body parts. In actuality, the disease itself does not cause what happens to the body. Leprosy causes insensitivity. Lepers lose fingers and limbs because without the sensitivity of pain to guide them, tissues become damaged beyond repair.
What, then, happens when our emotions have lost their sensitivity? One only has to look around to see this happening. Insensitivity disfigures reality.
Our feelings and emotions have inarguably been set within us to guide us. It is altogether reasonable that they have been set within us by a personal God who longs for our emotions to direct us toward Him. In the Scriptures, God has presented the thoughts and hearts of men and women in history to remind us that our emotions are indicators of a deeper reality, indicators that rouse us to know Him, to remain sensitive to his presence. Listen to the words of King David and hear the emotion in his voice:
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:1-3).
David’s emotions were real, and he followed them to the very throne of truth, where they were given context, hope, and meaning. “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon-from Mount Mizar. For deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (42:5-7). David is remembered as a man after God's own heart. May you and I be remembered likewise. Jill Carattini
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