Fear You Can Trust

Fear You Can Trust

What are you afraid of today?

There is only one type of fear that is good for you, only one you can trust. 

“You alone are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry? From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet.” Psalm 76:7-8

And this type of fear is good for you. What does “fearing” God mean?

To fear God is to respect and revere Him.” That’s our Sunday school 101 answer, isn’t it?

But that’s the easy answer. “Revere.” “Respect.” Those are worn out words. Almost meaningless in today’s adjective-slinging, vocab-bling-bling culture. Words as comfortable as last year’s slippers, with about as much dignity attached. Our familiar approach to “fearing God” is unhealthy.

Our failure to listen, trust, and sometimes even acknowledge God exposes the truth of the case. What’s needed is a heart-stopping, transforming fear of the reigning Creator King that leaves us breathless, broken — and prepared to see God.

For only a profound fear moves Him to graciously unveil the full nature of His divine character to us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.  I’m not talking about a manageable “fear” manifested in hushed tones and holy postures. I’m talking about face-down, jaw-hanging awe flowing onto the feet of a transcendent Being who is utterly unmanageable.

Perhaps you think I go too far, take it a bit too literally?

Consider the Apostle John’s encounter with God’s Son, Jesus, after His resurrection. In Revelation 1:12-18, John describes Jesus’ appearance.

“…[there] was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a double-edged sword. His face was like the sun in all its brilliance . . .”

John goes on to describe his reaction to seeing the risen God-Man:

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”

(Now remember this is the same John who was Jesus’ “beloved” disciple, who “leaned upon” Jesus’ breast in intimate fellowship.)

John continues,

“Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’ “

Let’s also keep in mind that John’s vision is the same “version” of Jesus presently interceding in heaven for us; the very One we too, will encounter face-to-face. Now, I don’t know about you, but the shattering portrait John paints is not the picture that comes to mind when I think of Jesus.

Perhaps it ought to be.

In Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis  illustrates the point succinctly in a conversation between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus when they’re talking about the great lion, Aslan, the story’s Christ-type. Mr. Tumnus: “…One day he (Aslan) will be here and the next he won’t. But you must not press him.  After all, he’s not a tame lion.” Lucy: “No… but he is good.”

God is not “tame,” but He is good. He levels us, then lifts us, in one stroke, one moment. This high view of God transcends our comfortable theology. It gives birth to holy fear before a God who alone rules our world. It sears our vision and subjugates our will on a visceral level.  And all the while, it positions us to lean in trustfully — even on His breast — to behold our mighty King and call Him “Friend.”

Inexplicable . . . unimaginable.


“You who fear him, trust in the Lord– he is their help and shield.” Psalm 115:12

Feature photo courtesy of Vincent Rice

Comments 12

    1. Aslan is such a great picture of Christ, isn’t he?

  1. Bethany, thank you for your wonderful description of the fear of the Lord, that which we too often ignore. I have been blessed to see it put into action by the wonderful, saintly believers here in Mali, those that depend daily on His strength and provisions and know His awesome power and seek Him daily.

    1. Thank you Carol for your kind words. 🙂 I can only imagine the panoramic views you must get of God’s mighty character–and heart–through His work in Mali. (Which is, in itself a profound manifestation of His unsearchable love for every individual…) Many, many, blessings to you and John!

  2. “God is not tame, but He is good.” Ahhh, you’ve seared my mind with thoughts that boot me out of my comfortable theological chair yet again, friend! Well put.

  3. “God is not tame, but He is good.” So needed to be “seared” by His majestic character, thus moved from my comfortable theology chair. As usual, you’ve challenged me to step up to higher ground with our God. Well put, good friend!

  4. You’re spot on. We need a healthy fear of the Most High God. Definitely lacking in our culture. On a more personal note, I’m praying that our inexplicable God, who allowed the misfortunes of today, will open doors tomorrow that are unimaginable. And that together, we will praise God for His goodness and provision in your life!

    1. Thanks, Karen. 🙂 It’s that high view of God that puts our struggles into the right perspective–God’s view of them–which cushions us from the hard edges of life. And not just that, it gives the life-giving perspective that this hard thing is moving us closer to His goal. 🙂

  5. Very interesting and enjoyed the wisdom! Thanks for the concepts God has given you to share……Blessings Jackie

    1. Thanks, Jackie! It was a bit of an eye-opener to me even as I wrote it. Isn’t that just like the Lord!

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