Do you have any unusual fears? I’m not talking about normal stuff like snakes or mice, or even heights or spiders. I’m talking about something that scares you senseless that is just not your everyday fear. I have one. It’s forgetting people’s names that I actually know. When I know I am going to have to introduce someone fear washes over my whole body — it’s immediate head-to-toe panic. Oh my gosh. I’m going to forget their name. Oh my gosh. What is it? WHAT IS IT??!!
I did this a few years ago to someone who I was pretty darn close to. We were in a Bible study together and prayed together and went on retreats together. It’s not like I could ever forget her name, at least not until I had occasion to introduce her to someone else. It was mortifying when she was forced to help me. And what’s really weird is that I am actually pretty gifted with names. I know everyone’s name. Right up until I need to prove it.
This random little clip of four-year-old Nate is exactly how I feel. Does he not look inexplicably petrified? I did this again last Saturday night. I must have looked a lot like Nate, blanking out on a name I totally knew. So embarrassing.
Our fears can be ridiculous and overblown and completely irrational, but the pop culture idea of having no fear is equally irrational. Seriously, no fear? Because I’m thinking it’s a real good idea to have a robust fear of heroin and roughly ten million other life destroying choices. Fear of harming key relationships should also motivate us to set firm boundaries, and be zealously protective. Some fears are undeniably good.
In fact, the Bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This is so far out of our comfort zone that we may be prone to limit its application. We wonder if this “fear” is just reverence for God’s holiness? Maybe it’s just standing in awe of His power which includes the power to speak the universe into existence. But I think the posture of needing to understand “fear of the Lord” in terms that we find appetizing is one of pride. Part of it connotes an attitude of “I’m so loving and kind and enlightened that I can only know, seek, love and serve a God who casts out all fear.” And the Bible indeed promises that perfect love casts out fear. But guess what? There’s a problem: we live in a fallen world and we possess fallen little minds. We don’t yet know perfect love. Perhaps we are just in the beginning of wisdom, where fear of the Lord is a stepping stone. What does it say about us if we won’t fear the Lord? If we refuse to use that particular stone step? On what basis could we possibly skip past it?
I don’t believe there is one. I hope you’ll skip along with the stones the Sovereign Lord puts in front of you with the confidence that He knows best and that His Word is truth.
That’s my plan.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105 KJV).