This morning as I stumbled to the bathroom after getting up, I heard the TV on upstairs. Ever have something completely out of the normal order of things happen, and suddenly you start speculating on what’s caused it? Well, having the TV on at 0630 is so unusual around here that I began wondering if the US was at war with Iraq. That’s actually a logical jump… let me ’splain.
The only thing my groggy mind could think of that would cause someone to turn on the TV so early in the morning was news so important that it demanded up to the minute information. Perhaps Dad had brought in the paper, and discovered something so disturbing that he wanted to know more about it. The only thing I could think of was either a declaration of war on Iraq, or another terrorist attack. The mind does weird things in the morning, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, I’ve learned to not react to my first impressions of events, particularly within the first fifteen minutes of consciousness, so I went ahead and took my shower, figuring that either it was something very normal, or it was something another thirty minutes would keep just fine. It got me to thinking, though, about how easy it is to start worrying about things outside of my control.
After I made it out of the shower (in a significantly more cognizant state), I went upstairs and discovered that my sister had simply come down with a fever and some associated ailments, and she and my mom were up there passing the time. I was pretty glad I took my shower rather than running screaming from the house, and so were the people at work (even though they didn’t know it).
It’s absolutely amazing how the Lord prepares me to read His word, because following all of this, I came across Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” The Lord shows me my tendency to fear the unknown and worry about it, and then He gives me the answer to the problem.
Upon closer inspection, this verse seems something of a paradox: fear resulting in confidence. Wasn’t fear my problem in the first place? So what is the fear of the Lord? I don’t know if I have a comprehensive definition, but the one that I’ve heard that seems to fit best with the Scriptures is, “A constant awareness of the presence of God.” This “fear of the Lord” is reverence, an awe-inspiring awareness of God that affects and overshadows everything, from mundane actions to the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
To a son (or daughter) of God, this awareness is something we ought to strive to cultivate in ourselves. What could be more important than knowing that our heavenly Father, with whom we have a personal relationship, is constantly with us?
And here we arrive at the root of why fear can be equivalent to strong confidence. If I know that God is with me constantly, that He is watching and guiding and directing and keeping me, what have I to worry about? The only other fear that remains when I have the fear of God is that I may grieve Him through my actions. But even this is lost in knowing Him, because we find that it is He that keeps us from stumbling.
Have I attained to the fear of the Lord? No, there are still so many times every day that I lose an awareness of His presence. But He continues to increase my ability to know Him, and I find my spiritual eyes snapping back in to focus on Him throughout the day.
Do you have a place of refuge? How often do you wander from it every day?