fighting, fear, and fathers

You might remember me talking about the bible study my sister and I are doing together right now. It's going great and I really love being able to share it with her (even though we're exactly 2,887 miles apart…ugh!). This past week, the focus was learning to fear the Lord. I've heard this phrase about a million times, but never really thought about it. I think I always equated fear of the Lord with the traditional idea of fear…of being afraid of something. But what my now-adult(ish) brain is finally getting, is that fear of the Lord is very different than the other fears I've known.

The truth is…I'm a 'fraidy cat. In a big way. Horror movies or books…nope. Scary Halloween costumes…nope. Haunted houses/mazes/etc…definitely not. However, I've come to understand that my serious aversion to manufactured/Hollywood fear is rooted in the fact that I have experienced true fear—the deep-in-your-heart fear that you never ever forget. 

To be brief, let me say that my dad was truly an amazing guy. And being a professional weightlifter, he was also a very big guy. And it was no secret, that he was also a very angry guy. Our family knows that his rage was the result of a lot of his own emotional issues and alcohol abuse, but to a scared little kid, well, I didn't really it back then. This isn't some pity-seeking diatribe about my childhood, but my point is that this is where my understanding of fear came from. And after we lost my dad, I then felt the true and ever-present fear of worrying about losing my mom. There is a lot more to the story, but the point is that it took me a long while to reconcile the idea of God as a father, because even though my dad was amazing in a lot of ways, he was also the person who first taught me what real fear was.

So now, as I'm doing this study and thinking about the importance of learning to fear the Lord, I feel like I'm fighting to separate the world's ideas of fear (both real and manufactured), verses fearing the Lord, which is about reverence and and awe recognizing His power. To me, the two ideas of fear couldn't be further from each other.

It's strange that after all these years of trying to avoid fear or avoid feeling the deep-seeded fears I've experienced in the past, that now I am actively seeking out fear, though a new kind of fear. But here's the point of all of this…part of last night's study was to reflect on the things that are given to us through fearing the Lord, what benefits we reap. This was astounding to me! because there is no benefit or blessing from fear on earth. You don't get anything for being afraid, other than a racing heart and paranoia. But fear with benefits…now we're talkin! So here are a few that really stood out to me and made me think about the beauty in reconciling the two kinds of fear:

  • Psalm 128: 1 "How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways." —happiness? I'm a fan of that!
  • Psalm 103: 11,13 "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him." "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him —GREAT love and compassion? Not turning that down!
  • Isaiah 33: 6 "There will be times of security for you—a storehouse of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.The fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.." —security that comes out of fear? Now there is something I certainly never felt from earthly fear.

I know this is probably my longest post to-date, but fear has been a big part of my life and it is so liberating to hand it over to God and to start to learn how to fear Him in a new way that brings life and blessings instead of the heartbreak and anxiety from the past. I mean, God redeems even the very nature of fear and makes it new, just by being. So cool!

1 comment:

  1. Hey sweet daughter! your post moved me to tears and thoughts about fear in my own life...those fears of mine are a waste of time but the fear that the Bible talks about strangely brings comfort to me instead of the heart grabbing palpitations...thanks for sharing your thoughts..i am blessed! I love you!


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