I sat on the step unable to move. Perched on the edge of light, from the living room behind me, I peered into the darkness of the basement. I couldn’t go back because I was told to do a chore downstairs. But to risk the perils of descending into the dark…no way! What if I couldn’t find a light switch? What if someone grabbed me and I couldn’t even yell for help? Those images in my mind convinced me I might not come out alive.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It caused Jesus’ inner circle to blow up – in the face of fear not a single disciple was found. He had performed unthinkable miracles, loved them perfectly, and promised them the moon. But fear caused those closest to our savior to flee.
Fear either drives us or paralyzes us. Fear creates workaholics, food addicts, ladder climbers, gossipers, homelessness, fatherlessness, shame, blame, and the pursuit of fame. Fear is the enemy of faith, unless our fear is...
There has to come a time when we fear God more than man. Fear is the enemy of faith unless our fear is of God. But not just any fear of God will drive common fear from our lives. “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). Demons possess fear of God but they have never tasted the life-saving fear of a good, good Father.
The Hebrew verb yare can mean, “to fear, to respect, to reverence” and the Hebrew noun yirah “usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (Ex. 20:20). … This fear is produced by God’s Word (Ps. 119:38; Prov. 2:5) and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 1:7; 9:10)” (Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, 2003, pp. 470-471).
The Greek noun phobos is a “reverential fear” of God, “not a mere ‘fear’ of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness”).
I had a good father. Not a perfect father, but a dad who I didn’t want to disappoint because I knew he had my best in mind. And I knew that he loved me enough to discipline me when I was out of bounds – yes, out of bounds of what he believed was best for me.
My dad called out, “everything okay, Karl”? I must have muttered something incoherent. Dad met me on the step that night. He didn’t mock me. Dad took me by the hand and showed me that my fears were unfounded – my mind was swept clean of certain calamity. I grew a foot taller that night and I’ve walked into darkness now for 52 years.
You might have had a poor father figure or no father at all. That’s okay, God sees you on the step. He knows what’s driving you or paralyzing you. He longs for you to say, “Father, could you take me by the hand”? He’s a good, good father…that’s who he is. Call out to him and walk into the dark. It will be as light to you.