Fearing God. Woah. Touchy subject. But we’ll get through it…on three conditions.
- This is not a finger pointing session. Know I’m talking about myself as well.
- Read all of what I’m saying. Not just between your own lines.
- If you have questions, simply ask. We’ll figure them out together.
Alright, let’s dive in.
My God is not a Care Bear. Love-a-Lot? Nope, not Him. Woah, wait. What about…”Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8 ESV
I didn’t say God doesn’t love. Oh, He does. More than we could ever fathom. But Love-a-Lot has one purpose. And it’s to love and be loved. No one would ever have reason to fear such a plush example of love. My God is a bit more complex. Powerful I should say.
My God created the universe. My God speaks like this:
Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? ~ Job 38:1-7 NLT
Whew. Definitely not Love-a-Lot. I bet Love-a-Lot doesn’t have the ability to get angry. I didn’t watch much Care Bears but I imagine Love-a-Lot as someone who is all about keeping peace and definitely doesn’t go around making demands and telling people they sound ignorant. Luckily, my God also speaks like this:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10 ESV
What the heck? Is He bipolar? No, no He is not. He is love, remember? He loves you and He wants the best for you.
Often times people describe the subject of fearing God as reverence. And yes, that’s part of it. The same way you fear fire or sharks because, well, they can be terrifying. But if we respect them, we enjoy them. Reasons why you would get out of the water if you saw a shark, but you wouldn’t run. You would watch in awe. God is kind of like that.
If we could wrap our minds around how utterly amazing God is, we would want nothing more than to be closer to Him. Fearing God gives life. I know, kind of goes against every perception of fear. Luckily He left us His truths…
The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. ~ Proverbs 19:23 NIV
Think about it. If I fear God. If I admit to myself and the world that the only force strong enough to make or break my life is God, then I find freedom from any other fear I previously had. Fear of social situations? Ha, but God. Fear of spiders? But God. Fear of death? Eh, but God. He takes the cake every time. The best part?
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. ~ Proverbs 9:10 NIV
When you begin to understand and accept the fear of God you truly start to understand and fall in love with the Holy One. You begin to yearn for the moments where God corrects and leads you in His direction. It’s all about humbling ourselves just as Job did. After trying over and over to argue who God was, God finally showed up to speak for Himself. Did Job turn around, rolling his eyes and mumble, “ha, this guy”? Nope. Instead, Job listened to every word God was saying. And He said a lot.
Then Job replied to the LORD:
“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” ~ Job 42:1-6
I picture Job shrinking smaller and smaller as God tore into Him with every syllable. And I can only imagine the disappointment he felt in that moment. Like a child being reprimanded for spreading lies about their parent. We know Job loved God. I mean just look at his response. He humbled himself to the dust and ash. He knew better. So what happened? He got caught up. That’s what. And we know all about that don’t we? Well I do anyway.
It’s hard for me to read Job chapters 38-41. I can feel God uttering those very words to me. You see, a couple of years ago I believed in God. But wow the box I had Him in. He was my little Care Bear. Soft. Plush. The One who only came into conversation at funerals and the One I cried to on the darkest days. Nothing wrong with either of those by the way. But because I limited God to those few occurrences, my life was a whirlwind.
God fearing? Ha. Try FOMO. Fear of missing out. Fear of missing the party. Fear of being alone. Fear of not having anyone.
I still struggle with fearing God. It’s a daily action. And some days the world consumes all my energy to fear. Quick story…
I recently traveled to Alaska. AMAZING trip. But the first day held the greatest panic attack I’ve ever had. Like I never want to feel that way again unless it’s because I’m standing before God Himself. So I was confiding in a friend when I said,”…it gives me anxiety.” And immediately I heard a voice in my head, “you don’t have to accept everything you’re given.” HOLY SMOKES. Talk about an epiphany. How true. Muttering those words to my friend was like signing the dotted line for the UPS man to drop the package of fear and anxiety at my heart’s door.
So yeah, some days I put my fear where it doesn’t belong. If I would clutch the fear of God with both hands I would have no way of accepting the anxieties being given to me. And thus further explaining Proverbs 19:23. Freedom in God-fear.
My life has changed radically the past year. No more alcohol. No more…a lot of stuff. And WAY less anger. People comment all the time, “it’s just ____”, insert sin. But those are the same people who think, “it’s just God”. And here’s the thing, my God is WAY too powerful and big to ever be put in the same sentence as the word “just”.
And one other thing. I kept wondering how enemies and demons could keep infiltrating my life. What the heck, God? Aren’t You supposed to protect me? Welp. If I don’t see Him as intimidating, why would He show up to the fight? If I don’t have faith in His might what’s the use? That would be like bringing a pillow to a knife fight, right? Reason 7,777,777 to fear God. So your enemies do, too.
I encourage you to sit down and ponder who you think God is. Do you really think the Great I Am can be defined as just your Care Bear? Or should we allow Him to be our judge more often? Because I for one need to follow Job’s lead…
God I have no idea what I’m talking about. Yes, I know You love me. But I don’t get to decide when You can and cannot correct me. Father, lead me. And rebuke me when I go off the rail. You’re more awesome than I could ever fathom. I kneel before You. Humbled not only by Your love, but also by Your might.
From Her Fortress.