On Fear & Faithfulness
I never used to love the phrase “fear of the Lord.” I didn’t want to incorporate fear in my relationship with God. He is supposed to be my Father, my Savior, the lover of my soul. Fear didn’t make sense to me in those pictures of who He is.
Besides—there’s already so much in our world to be afraid of:
Sickness. Poverty. Violence.
Why would we be afraid of a God who is supposed to be for us?
But then, someone pointed out a key phrase in a Bible story that I had heard so many times before—I felt I could have told it to you forwards and backwards. I began to understand this fear in a new light.
In Mark chapter 4, when Jesus and the disciples are sailing across the Sea of Galilee and Jesus falls asleep in the boat, a storm starts to rage. The disciples are full of fear, and they wake Jesus in a panic. He rises, calms the storm with a single word, and He asks them directly why they were afraid. And it says then they were greatly afraid. They witnessed His display of power, and they realized just Whose presence they were in.
They had been scared of the storm, but they were in awe of the Man who calmed it. I always thought I understood what “awe” meant. But when I studied that word, I found that it includes a factor of fear; the Merriam-Webster Dictionary uses the word “terror” in its definition and description.
As Christians, we are called to fear the Lord. So how do we incorporate that into our lives? Do we cower motionless in a corner? No, I think it means that we are supposed to step past the fears that we face on a daily basis, no matter how big they seem to us at the time, to pursue a God whose preeminence forces us to change perspective.
No matter what it is that we’re facing: sickness, poverty, violence, or anything in-between, our God reigns supreme over all of our fears. We are supposed to fear Him first, and allow all other fears to pale in comparison. When we properly fear the Creator, we realize His true power over the created. Jesus came and conquered the grave in the ultimate show of authority. His resurrection should be a constant reminder of His supreme reign over this world and everything in it, even unto death.
Whether we’re facing a crippling diagnosis or walking into a war zone, we can know that our God is powerful. He is in charge. He can calm any storm.
I pray that as Christians we will begin to use our fear of Him to take more action in our lives; to step out in ever increasing faith and see how He meets us there. And that might not mean crossing the world to share our faith (although it might), it might mean crossing the street. To do the things He is calling us to do that which we are scared of, because at the end of the day, God is the only one deserving of true fear.
Kayla serves as a nurse with FAI Relief. You can hear more about her time in Syria here.