. . . for man shall not see me and live—Exodus 33:20
We’re made for fear. We’re made to live with fear, not without it, as we’d like. It’s just, as so often happens, we get preoccupied with things we can see and hear and touch. But these aren’t what we’re supposed to fear—not people, nor circumstances. About such things, our King, Jesus Christ says, “do not fear” (Luke 12:4-5, 22-24). No, we’re meant to fear a fearsome God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).
But what does it mean to fear God? Well, mostly it means keeping our thinking straight. It means seeing God, in all his power, in proper relation and proportion to the people and problems in this world. Though we sometimes act as if he were, God isn’t smaller than financial hardship, difficult work situations, difficulties with children. He’s not equal to them. He’s so much bigger, so much more powerful, even comparing doesn’t make sense. He’s alpha and omega. He’s the beginning and the end of everything.
What’s astonishing is this fearsome God, for some reason, chooses to love each of us with a fierce love—a love that’s good and will never relent. So, to him, we mustn’t respond as we’ve been conditioned to respond to fear—control, minimize, avoid, numb. We must respond by recognizing, every day, every moment, that he’s the most important, most powerful force in our lives, and that we’re his favoured sons.
Okay, so what do we do?
Name your biggest fears. Write them down. Look at them. Imagine them as God sees them. How frightening are they now? The truth is, things we can see, hear, touch are never our ultimate threats, not when God’s around—and he always is. Our ultimate threat is choosing to live as if these things are bigger than he.