Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Unexpected Side of Fear

A couple of days ago, I think it was this past Monday to be precise, Dylan and I heard a short inspirational, radio blurb in our favorite Christian station that caught our attention. I can’t remember exactly the complete content of the message, but the gist was that we are to find the blessing in each situation, no matter what. “Find the awesome” the voice on the radio said…at which both Dylan and I nodded in assent.

As I researched the word awesome, I realized that this adjective is utilized almost exclusively as an attribute of God. One interesting thing is that the word’s meaning is mostly associated with the reaction that God’s presence has in the individual who comes into it. It speaks of people’s expression of what they feel inside as a result of witnessing any of God’s astonishing works. Another very interesting thing is that the word translates into English words in Hebrew and in Greek that mean fear.

Well…for a person like me whose heart and mind are filled with fear, this is a twist. Every time I think of my struggle with fear I don’t associate the paralyzing feeling with God. To me, fear is something bad that I need to master so it doesn’t conquer me. Fear is the enemy’s tool to beat me into submission. Fear is what keeps God’s peace out of my reach.

The fear derived from experiencing God’s presence, however, is not the fear that I feel when I’m facing a scary diagnosis. This fear is being in awe of God. It is the reverence and submission that we experience when coming into direct contact with the Magnificent Radiance and Absolut Power of the Great I AM. It is the trembling of our flesh and the quaking of our soul at the realization of the reality of the Most High in our lives. It is the gratitude that overflows our heart when we understand how God uses all things for good. It is when we understand how He uses even our deepest and darkest fears to draw us closer to Him.

No matter what, there is always something to be grateful about. There is a blessing behind each situation. There is awesomeness to be found at every step we take. And the reason is because God IS behind every situation. He IS with us everywhere and always. Therefore, so is His awesomeness…and the right reaction from our part is to be in awe…in reverence…trembling as we witness His Majesty among us.

I do see now why awesome is closely linked to fear…it is impossible to witness God’s hand at work and not be shaken up inside.

Dylan and I have been remembering the words of the preacher on the radio, and as best as we can, we have been trying to find the awesome in every turn of the day. It was the perfect message for us to hear since we both tend to be rather seekers of the negative. But it was also very revealing. It revealed an unexpected side of fear. The message led me to dig into the word a bit more and realize that fear is not the enemy. Fear is sometimes the appropriate response when faced with the inexpressible character of our Great God. Fear is the respect that His actions deserve. Fear is what teaches us about our limitations. Fear teaches us humility. Fear leads us to His exaltation.

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