Yet we hand it over with such ease… sometimes even begging something to claim it from us.
In movies, music, books… “horror” that appears safe in the confines of media, triggering our adrenaline flow. “Scare me!” we cry.
And then fiction becomes reality… the news broadcasts that our fears live in shadows, in alleys, peering in through your windows… waiting to steal your possessions, your money, your loved ones.
And we get security systems, dogs, video cameras, bars, and locks… creating a false sense of control over the darkness that is just waiting to take advantage of us… give us a thrill of fear beyond the boundary of literature and cinematic amusement.
And we hand it over.
Our ability to fear.
And it begins to debilitate us.
We begin to make decisions based on fear. Which streets to drive down. To cross the street when he walks by. To carry weapons. To live with weapons. So that when our turn comes, and the horror lifts from the pages, steps out of the screen, into our lives… we have a fighting chance.
Some people stop going outside altogether. Or flying in airplanes. Or driving in vehicles. They stop eating, start exercising, and take every possible supplement and vaccine to keep the cancer at bay, the heart-attack statistic further from us, or the next “in” disease from staking a claim on us.
As if we have it all under control.
Yet we are the controlled.
Only One is worthy of my fear. Has the right to cause me to be afraid.
His name is Yahweh. The God who Is. The God over all.
Who separated an entire body of water before the very eyes of two nations… split them, so the water made walls and dry land could be passed on.
Who caused the sun to stop moving and prolonged the day.
Who brought dead people back to life… the decaying man restored to health.
Who brought form from the formless, gave it life, and loved it.
Who enshrouded His very essence with flesh, came and lived among us, talked with us, healed us… died for us.
And didn’t stay dead.
To be the eyes and ears of any present for these signs and wonders.
To look out over a plagued Egypt… every body of water: rivers, lakes, ponds, wells, cisterns… puddles. Water turned to blood. To see large hail stones fall on and destroy the flocks, herds, structures of the Egyptians… and yet not hit one single of mine or any other Israelite.
To stand back and say, “Whoa. Truly this is the one true God… and He could smite me so fast…” and yet He doesn’t.
Because the fear He deserves is not the same we cry for in a horror film. We don’t tremble before Him, ever unknowing of our position, afraid His hammer will fall and we will be found out.
I would like to suggest that the Church become a place of terror again; a place where God continually has to tell us, “Fear not”; a place where our relationship with God is not a simple belief or a doctrine or theology, it is God’s burning presence in our lives. I am suggesting that the tame God of relevance be replaced by the God whose very presence shatters our egos into dust, burns our sin into ashes, and strips us naked to reveal the real person within. The Church needs to become a gloriously dangerous place where nothing is safe in God’s presence except us. Nothing–including our plans, our agendas, our priorities, our politics, our money, our security, our comfort, our possessions, our needs.
Our world is… longing to see people whose God is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender… and ours; a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, ‘I love you.’
This is what makes my heart tremble and cry out… “Can it be? That You would love me?”
The only One worthy of my fear. Worthy of my reverence and respect for His authority, His sovereignty, His power… His self-control and restraint. His deeply pursuant love.
Because “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.,” and as I come to realize the perfect love my God has for me… there is nothing left to fear (1 John 4:18).
I will not be made afraid by anything else.
Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.
The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.