Raise your hand if you hate fear. Now, imagine I’m jumping up and down wildly waving both arms in the air. I dispise fear more than bats hide from sunlight. It’s my nemisis.
I used to live down the street from the fear monger’s poster child. Every day, when I walked to school I passed her house. This lady lived a life of total terror every day. Her home had those roll down shutters which advertiser sold to an intimidated public in the 1980’s.
Have you seen the metal doors in front of many businesses? They come down at the close of business to block intruders, then in the morning the business rolls up the door and puts out the “Open” sign. The lady in question, let’s call her Fearful Fanny, installed those same metal blockers on her home doors and windows. She sealed herself into her housee and never put out the “Open” sign.
As I passed her house daily, I kept telling myself, “I won’t live that way.”
Because of this mentality, I’ve challenged myself to do things which cause my stomach to churn. I do it, because I feel fear wrapping itself around my heart and refuse to make it my lifestyle. I’ve jumped off 20 foot cliffs into 10 foot pools of water. I’ve gone rock climbing and rappelling and learned to fly airplanes. Each of those choices involved not giving fear a foothold within my heart.
But, I must confess, there are certain things which I have found valuable to fear. In fact, the fear itself has added value to my life and made me a better person. Here they are, in reverse order:
4. Fear of Black widow spiders
I’ve live where these creepy crawlers roam freely. Their powerful and petite venom freaks me out. Because of my fear, I have stepped on them, sprayed them with poison, and hunted for them prior to relaxation. If I hadn’t realized their strength, I wouldn’t search for them before sitting on my highly populated lawn furniture. Unknowingly resting my arm could have cost me the arm or my life. This fear has kept me and others I know alive and well.
3. Fear of disease
For many people around the world disease is a real issue. I know someone who was bit by a tick and contracted Lyme Disease. It has affected her life on numerous levels. Because of this fear, researchers and doctors continually seek out new ideas for cures or helpful medecines. We also get vacinated, and the amount of people who contract the nasty bugs grows smaller.
2. Fear someone will harm our children
For a parent this one is huge. We have nightmares of someone harming our beloved babies. This fear is real and reasonable. Children do face harm in many situations. In home abuse, cars on the street, pedophiles, or other situations loom over our kids. We know people do want to hurt small children, and because they occasionally succeed our fear gets validated. Because of fear, parents keep open eyes on their children’s activities. We teach stranger danger and many other safety concepts which help them to be stronger and aware of genuine concerns which exist.
1. Fear of God
Each item listed above pales to the pure power of God. As the Creator of all the above items, He holds more ability to harm or help within His pinky nail than all the spiders on planet earth. Because of a healthy fear, we recognize the excitement of knowing Him personally and the result of ignoring Him. We tell our friends about Him and bring them to places where they can find Him. We courageously speak out when others may criticize, because we see the real possibility of separation from Him and want no one to live that way.
Rather than becoming captive to our fears like Fearful Fanny, we can understand them and use them to help us become better.
Many of the fears listed make sense to us, whether we feel them ourselves or not. But, the fear of God somehow gets lost in this important mix. As I mentioned, Fanny made me long to not give into the feeling of fear, but I wouldn’t be serving you if I hid from this topic.
I’ve written about the beauty of God’s love in three separate posts, 15 steps to improve your love life (start here), 15 steps to improve your love life (phase 2), and 15 steps to improve your love life (final thoughts). The Bible tells us “God is love”.
With this in mind, when it comes to recognizing the passion God has for His people, I’m a believer. But we miss out on vital blessings and guidance if we ignore the truth of this Bible verse:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Take time today to think about valid reasons to fear God. Then, thank Him for loving you and providing for you.