Have you ever seen the rip-offs of the inspirational wall-hangings? Here’s one that I ran across recently on fear. If you can’t read it, it says, “Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea!
I went for a jog last night. I went almost three miles in about 40 minutes, not exactly all-star material, but I worked up a good sweat, and for most of you reading this — just imagine carrying a 50 pound backpack for your 3 mile jog. So I was coming home, less than half a block away and Delma was dropping Josh off after Xstream. So I yelled out, “Hey little man, whatcha doing?” He just kept walking, didn’t even respond. I yelled out again, “Hey, can’t you even say hi?” He just kept walking — a little faster. I got up to the door and it was locked. Not only would my son, not say hi to me, he locked me out. So I started ringing the doorbell, knocking on the door. Finally he came and opened the door — a sheepish grin on his face. When I asked him why he didn’t say hi and why he locked the door, he said, “Dad I thought you were some strange guy, when you started yelling at me, I got scared. I couldn’t get in the house quick enough. My legs were shaking.”
My first thought was, “C-mon, why in the world would you be scared of that?” But then I started thinking back to my days on the farm. Dad would ask me to go check on the pigs that were giving birth — seems like it was always late at night. When I would come back from the barn to the house. I would start walking normal — but by the time I got to the house, I was running as fast as I could, not daring to look back, certain that some night-time monster was right on my heels. I was afraid and I didn’t even have a stranger yelling at me.
Fear does funny things to us. That’s why we struggle a little bit with verses in the Bible that call us to fear God. In fact one writer says that the “fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” So we like to tone down the word — because we also know that God is our father. So we say that when it talks about fear in the Bible, it doesn’t really mean scared, it means respect or awe. I think it means respect, awe and so scared that my knees are knocking!
But when we see God for all that He is — awesome, holy, loving, fearsome, father, Jesus — then I think that fear of God gives me courage for life. I heard someone put it this way once — “If you fear God, you will fear nothing else. But if you don’t fear God you will be afraid of everything else.”
What or whom do you fear?