I watch very little television. But I do like “The Voice.” It is fascinating to me to watch the contestants’ journeys of artistic growth. A few seasons ago, I was very impressed by a young woman named Christina Grimmie. She was very talented, creative, and spirited. Last week, I stared at my computer in utter shock and sorrow as I read that Christina was dead. She had been shot and killed by a deranged fan while joyfully signing autographs after a concert. She was 22.
Two days later, our nation reeled at the horrific news of a mass shooting at a dance club — the worst in U.S. history. We then read reports of a freak accident at a resort at Disney World: a toddler had been grabbed by an alligator — in front of his family. He was found later, drowned.
These horrific events occurred in one city, in a span of a few days. If ever there were a week that signified how scary, how unpredictable, and how evil the world can be, it was last week. If ever there were a time to fear the horrors of this world, it is now.
I am so grateful to God for leading me to the Fearless study this summer. The teaching is so applicable to living life in a world that often times makes no sense.
This week, in the Fearless study, we have looked at what it means to fear the Lord. In theological terms, fear of the Lord means reverential awe and worship. Yes, God is our loving Father who longs to be in relationship with His children. But He is also God, our Creator, omniscient and omnipresent, holy, sovereign and perfect – deserving of our worship and reverence at all times.
We are accustomed to the word “fear” meaning terror, dread, or feeling afraid. However, the Bible tells us that fear – reverential awe — of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10, 1:7; Psa. 111:10). It is what allows us to praise God (Psa. 22:23). It helps us develop a perspective of who we are and Who God is. God is God and we are not.
As I meditated this week on our fear-filled world and biblical fear, these thoughts ran through my mind:
The world is evil.
The world is chaos.
Our world can dissolve into tragedy and devastation in the blink of an eye.
God is love (1 John 4:8).
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty (Psa. 29:4). God’s hand cannot be stayed (Dan. 4:35) nor can His will be thwarted (Job 42:2).
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27 NIV).
All of these statements are true. How do we reconcile them? We must remember we have a very real enemy in this world, an enemy who is evil, who prowls like a lion to devour us (1 Pet. 5:8). And though I know in this world I will have trouble, trials, and pain, and witness senseless tragedy, as Paul says: “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12).
I don’t understand why the world is the way it is. Thank God I don’t have to! God is God and I am not. He has given us the truth of His Word so that we can rest in His promises. If God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Let us place our trust in the Lord and fear – revere and worship – Him, not fear – be afraid of – the evil one of this world. Eternity stretches out before us, and we know to Whom all victory and glory will be ascribed!
Growing in Grace