Updated: Jul 1, 2020
In the wake of our present danger, the COVID-19 virus, I find myself being reminded of what true "fear" means. What is its definition?
Recently I experienced our nation's fear first hand. While grocery shopping, a woman with 4 huge packages of toilet paper came rushing out of an empty aisle. I was shocked! We are afraid of running out of something; being deficient; having less than. I'm sure that woman thought she was preparing for the future, was avoiding pain, and was providing for her family. I get it! I do have to admit that although my first instinct was to giggle at the site of this toilet paper hoarding woman, within seconds my blood pressure went up and I began to binge-buy as well. It was the first time I had a visceral reaction to the stress of our world's crisis.
We've all read Matthew 6:25 and "know" God is our Provider. But do I really believe it? I know women who really do see God as their true provider. I know these women's stories: women who have left an abusive man, are attempting to provide for their children, and honestly don't know how the rent will be paid this month. These are the women who have told me, "God will provide! He always has!" Not only do they believe it in their minds, they have experienced the goodness of God in His provision time and time again, and their faith increases.
Years ago, when I had reached the pinnacle of my personal agony, I was desperately praying for God to send me just 1 helper. I was in a very painful marriage, was basically attempting to raise 4 children by myself, and was spiraling into depression. I needed 2 more hands to help me in my plight. It was then that I heard a voice say, "I am enough!" I knew instantly that it was my Father speaking to me. It was the first time I had heard Him speak in this way and although i was grateful that He'd heard me and was reaching out to me, I dug my heels in and argued with Him. "Yes, yes Lord you are enough, but I just need 2 more hands to help me." Although I still believe that God works through others on my behalf, I now see that God was addressing the heart of my situation. Who did I trust? Where was my supply? Where did my power come from?
I recently read Psalms 147:10-11. "His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love."
There's that word again: FEAR! Fear the Lord! For the majority of my life fearing the Lord never fit into my understanding of God. If I love someone how can I fear them? The 2 did not go together in my mind. But I've recently been introduced to the concept that fear is simply what I put my trust in. Hang with me here, I'll try to get out of this religious talk and get down to the deep meaning of this word. If I fear being hungry then I have given my power to hunger. Whatever I "fear" is where my power lies; it is my source.
I recently was in a counseling session and my counselor asked me why I felt the way I did about my child's situation. I answered b/c I was afraid of the possibilities. Did you catch that? I was fearful. And my fear guided my decision. My counselor quickly let me know that any decision made out of fear would have negative consequences. I had never considered this. In fact, most of the decisions I made about my children's well-being were made in fear: I was trying to avoid disaster or negativity. Now, did I avoid a disaster? Possibly! But, more importantly, the consequences of giving my power to anything other than God would indeed be felt by my children and have a lasting effect..
So what is healthy fear? What does it mean to fear God?
Fearing God is surrendering our power and entrusting Him with the power. When I fear God, I have relinquished my ability to change a situation/person and acknowledge/believe/trust that HE is in charge of the situation/person.
It's a condition of my heart. Will I choose to put my fear in (fill in the blank)? Or will I choose to put my fear in God? I choose God, my Father. He is the one who loves me. He is the one who wants what is best for me. He is the one who has all of the power, so much more than I have. Why would I put my fear anywhere else? I fear the Lord. I do not fear man. I do not fear our current condition. God is my Provider! The God of heaven and earth loves me. He is worthy! I surrender to Him and His magnificent power and unwavering love.