The Right Kind of Fear

Imagine the mountainside rising in front of you. Each step is a struggle. The trail leads up, but it’s your slipping feet holding you. The only other security is a chain-links connected to some poles in the rock. Even then, the chain sways back and forth as you grab on to it. You walk further up. Each step gets you closer to the top, your goal. You’re scared. You walk further up. Side-step for security. Hold on. You’re afraid, but somehow you make it to the top.

A few years ago, during Spring Break in 2015, I went to Zion National Park and hiked up to Angel’s Landing. More accurately, it was a climb. I came with my father, but his fear of heights caused him to stop partway and let me go on further. I was persistent on making in it to the top. You’d think I’d be afraid. I was scared out of my mind. Somehow, I made it.

My dad and I on the way down from the mountain.

Nowadays, I think about how we demonize fear. “Fear is a Liar” by Josh Wilson is one musical example. Fear stops us. Fear tells us we are not enough. Fear tells us we can’t do it because it’s too hard. The irony is that living in fear becomes comfortable. We get comfortable where we are because fear tells we can’t do more. That other people could do it better. That we could go too far. Fear limits everything.

The opposite of fearful is fearless. Yes, I’m talking about old school country Taylor Swift, which was much more fearless than her current pop style. I have a shirt that says Fearless with a bible verse, 2 Timothy 1:7 that I got for my 23rd birthday. (Yes, this verse was in my graduation blog, but stay with me here.) The translation used on the shirt is different than what I’m used to.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid , but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7

Wait. I don’t think we need to be fearless. There’s a different kind of “fear” I need to talk about, and it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit: Fear of the Lord. To be honest, I can’t be purely fearless. Rather, I trust in the Lord. Fear of the Lord isn’t necessarily being afraid, but being in wonder and awe of God. It’s a bit of astonishment and respect.

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch grow out its roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might , the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord”- Isaiah 11:1-3

We can talk about how God tells us to “Be Not Afraid” and how that phrase or some variation is repeated multiple times throughout the scriptures. There’s a point behind all of that. We need to place our trust in God, despite our fear. We struggle. We carry a cross all of our life. When we see God, we are not called to be afraid and coward in fear of his awesome power, but rather to answer his call to be in wonder. We revere him and we don’t want to leave.

When I can truly in awe of the power and majesty of God, it’s like a mountaintop. The views blow your mind in awe. It’s so beautiful and you can do nothing but praise Him who created it all and bought you there. We have these moments to remind us that God is with us. God is with me. God loves me.I may struggle, but as long as I believe he is “my light and my salvation…of whom shall I be afraid? “

This is the view from atop Angel’s Landing.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge, of whom shall be afraid?”- Psalm 27:1

Love,

The Nerd of May

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