I know it is ‘No’. No Fear. The slogan is plastered everywhere, particularly on the rear window of large pickup trucks. It makes me wonder why the drivers of said trucks need a reminder and what fear it is they are driving against, but that’s another blog for another day.
Those who have heard my testimony are aware that fear was a decade-long enemy of mine. One I battled at a very young age, usually in the form of nightmares but sometimes also during the daylight. So I understand fear and its many nuances, the way it prowls and seduces and wearies one. Having spent my years learning to overcome fear and finding the courage to deal with it has given a clear awareness that fear has many faces. Unchecked fears grow so large even our imaginations cannot contain them.
One of the hardest things to do is face a fear. By experience we all know that when we face that thing that had us frightened we see it for what it is, not what our over-extended imagination made it out to be. Seldom does our enemy look the way we expected. It’s incredible how small he turns out to be.
Remember as a child being genuinely terrified of the Bogey Man under the bed? The more you thought about it the more sinister and ugly he became, until how he fit in that small space under the bed was anyone’s guess. What did it take for you to settle down? Either a parent switching on the light or your own self-talk courage built to the level where you leaned over and looked under the bed for yourself. By facing the fear the realization came that one thought, one noise, one belief caused your mind to create a scenario larger than life. How many of us even as adults continue to live on edge, always expecting the worst, looking for the Bogey Man under the bed?
What about real fears? There are plenty of those to go around: a child out too late at night or gone missing. The doctor’s report you dreaded (and dread is just a nice word for fear). The empty bankbook and full bill drawer. Do any of these go away by cowering under the blanket of fear? No, obviously, no. Each one needs to be faced, a plan of action created, the light turned on. It’s not easy to face fear but going on the offensive is our only hope of living in emotional freedom.
But there is another fear, a fear that leads to wisdom and a freedom of mind and soul that money cannot buy. The Fear of the Lord. We don’t hear much about this fear and I believe it is one reason the world is overrun with fear and dread of every other sort.
If you Google ‘the fear of the Lord’, Wickipedia will tell you : “Fear of the Lord” generally refers to a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission to a deity, while Fear of God suggests apprehension of Divine punishment.” Not bad, Wickipedia, not bad. Books and essays and sermons have been written on the fear of the Lord, so I’m not going to attempt to unpack all of what it can mean: that is far more than a blog is designed to do. My goal is to remind us to remember. To remember that not only is our God kind and good and for us, but He is holy and pure, majestic and powerful. He is Judge and He is above and beyond all our imaginations can conceive. Seldom does He look the way we expected Him to look. It’s incredible how magnificent and awe-inspiring He is.
The fear of the Lord is an attitude (a posture of the heart) which leads to an expectation. Just as our childhood fears of the Bogeyman and our adult fears of everything we hear on the news can immobilize us, the fear of the Lord, the awareness of His majesty, His presence with us brings hope, which is the expectation of good. The fear of the Lord is not the dread of an angry God waiting to punish us when we fail, rather a response of wonder and reverence in the awareness of His holiness. May He grant us an increase of Yes Fear – the fear, awe, reverence, worship and daily acknowledgement of Him with us. The Fear of the Lord.
This week, I invite you to join me in taking time each day to ponder and pursue a new awareness of the Fear of the Lord. Knowledge and wisdom will increase as we walk with Him on new levels. I can think of no more powerful way to Love Ourselves and Others To Life.