Finally, I felt it. The Fear of God. Conceptually I knew what it meant — true, holy, deep reverence. It’s not a fear of being judged or punished, but more like the fear that one has of a raging storm at sea. I have had glimpses of it in my walk of faith, but the world had pounded it out of me for so many years that only now do I begin to understand what I thought I knew all along.
When I left the USA for Argentina I claimed it was for God, and it was for the most part. But some of it was for me. It was an escape, it was a chance to grow unchallenged, it was an “out” of sorts. Yes, I believe I was being obedient to God’s will, but there was quite a bit of self-interest mixed in. In a pool of clear spring water, a drop of blood spreads and stains quickly.
When someone would commend me on something I did for God, I always felt a surge of emotion — joy and happiness mixed, sadly, with pride. On the surface it might not sound bad to feel good about positive accomplishments, but who gets the credit? At best I would feel thankful. Still, that need to repress a self-appreciating smile was always an ever spreading drop of blood in the clear water.
Last week I dedicated myself to fasting and prayer. My walk has led me to this place where direction seems unclear. Faced with mounting challenges I turned toward the Lord for answers. Last year, I was guided to finish writing a pseudo-memoir, thinking that this was part of a solution for my struggling economy, but as usual, God had better plans. Yes, my book had blessed me and others in ways I could never have imagined… but how would I feed my family?
So on the final day of my fast, the signs seemed scarce. Yes, I immersed myself in God’s Word which encouraged me, but on an earthly level where the stomach growls and bills accumulate, I waited and watched. Then I got a phone call.
A local NGO that I had come to know about years ago called me and was interested in offering me paid work. At the last moment, in the nick of time, it seemed like a solution appeared perfectly as a blessing. But still no fear of God. Yes profound gratitude… but deep reverence? His plans always dig deeper.
So, to spread the blessing, I shared this “miraculous” news with my prayer group . As I spoke though, something changed in me, something clicked. My spiritual mentor went on to say that this potential job was a reward for what I had given in service to Jesus. And what did I feel? Did I have to suppress a smile? No. Not this time. If anything I felt a vacuum. A quietness I had never felt before. It was a strange reaction to a compliment that would normally have stirred my emotions. This time though there was no false humility, no lip service to gratefulness. Finally the fear of God dwelt inside of me.
It was the sensation of the complete absence of pride.
I examined my heart and it was an incredible experience… and the end result was profound peace.
Later, I found out the job deal might not materialize. In other circumstances after a week of intense seeking, this would have wounded me, and my pride, greatly. Now I took it in stride. I know there will be future circumstances where this fear fades, but in this case, my fasting and prayer produced a tremendous fruit — perhaps never to be seen or accounted for, but nevertheless, eternal.
The experience of the fear of God — fine fruit for the soul.
And a single drop of HIS blood cleansed me.
Bible verses on the fear of the Lord:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33