Our Best Fear (1)

Our Best Fear (1)

“Is-is he a man?” asked Lucy. “Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the Great Lion.” “Ooh! said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”  “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” “I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.” “That’s right, Son of Adam,” said Mrs. Beaver…  (C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, c. 1950, pgs 75-76).

We all know our worst fears… heights, public speaking, snakes, darkness, failure, loneliness, and the list goes on. But what is our best fear? The best fear of believers down through history is not a thing at all, but a Person… God. Biblical fear certainly includes the knocking knees and shortage of breath of honest fearfulness before a righteous, almighty God. But there is more to the story.

Godly fear in scripture also includes the raised hands of adoration and the bare feet of awe; a shiver of joy and a sigh of contentment; a humbled spirit overcome with devotion; a respectful mind poised to listen; a heart filled with a mixture of reverence, relief and rapture. When our fear looks like this, it turns out to be the heart of worship and the beginning of wisdom. This is what the ancients called “holy dread,” and it serves to keep us honest and real as we know our place before an inscrutable God. In this state of fear, our tendency to domesticate the Almighty would be unthinkable. Stuart Olyott helpfully unpacks “the fear of the Lord” in his commentary on Ecclesiastes: “To fear God means having a reverent respect for Him, because of His greatness and glory. To this is added gratitude for His kindness and mercy, awe at His power, confidence in His wisdom, submission to His will, and delight in the experience of communing in Him. Besides all this, the person who fears God has a deep affection for Him, such as a child might have for a parent.”

No doubt about it. We can’t afford to forget this fear factor: Our Lord may be unsafe, but He is good with a capital G. God is our best fear.

“All nations whom You have made shall come and fall down before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name. For you are great and work wonders! You alone are God. Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me singleness of heart to fear Your name.” (Ps. 86:9-11)

One Reply to “Our Best Fear (1)”

  1. Good fear… It’s hard for people to think of but it seems like the one fear the Bible encourages. Everything else is “fear not.” Hard not to have some fear mixed in due to the infinite imbalance in our knowledge, power, etc.. He has over us.