I stumbled in the dark one night toward the bathroom. Suddenly, a manly figure loomed before me in the shadows. I gasped, preparing for a blood-curdling scream.
Zoom in on my face at that moment: eyes wide, pupils dilated, nostrils flared, brows lifted, and mouth in a perfect, terrified “O.” Adrenaline has opened up every orifice in my head for one simple purpose–to help me take in as much information as possible about the perceived threat in front of me.
It turned out to be my husband. I hadn’t seen him get out of bed at the same time as I did.
The fear response makes us hyper-perceptive for survival reasons. If my wide eyes saw the glint of a knife I’d know to run. If I felt a hand close around my arm, I’d fight. Fight or flight can keep us alive; I thank God for it.
But what about when we have that fight or flight reaction to God? After all, He’s quite powerful. And it’s clear in His Word that He’s not very happy about sin. Isn’t fear of God rational on one level? We’re told the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
It isn’t the end of wisdom, though.
That initial rush of adrenaline humans feel when encountering a holy, sin-hating God makes us hyper-perceptive. Our wide-open eyes search for signs of anger. Our ears listen for words of condemnation. We wonder if we will live through the encounter. Fear of God arrests our attention. It focuses us on Him for perhaps the first time in our lives. And what do we find as we focus? Love. We learn that the one we fear may take our lives, actually laid His life down so that we could live forever with Him. And that perfect, self-giving love displaces fear.
Think of how, in perhaps small ways, God has shown up in your life. How has God revealed His love to you? Perhaps a close relationship, a memorable experience, or a moment in nature. Speak out loud three ways in which you have felt God love you.
Let us pray. Dear God, we are beginning to see Your love. Help us see more. Give us wide-open eyes to Your great sacrifice, and to all the small ways You tell us how much you love us. In the name of the Jesus Who gave all, Amen.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19