I’ve always struggled to understand the concept of “fearing God.” I’ve heard it described as another way to say “respecting God,” but I couldn’t shake the feeling that fear implies being scared. I actually enjoy the adrenaline rush of being afraid, which is why I like suspenseful movies so much.
But the thought of being fearful in a relationship never sat well with me.
This summer we took our daughter to the beach for the very first time. I wasn’t sure how she would react to the ocean. I had eagerly introduced her to the pool only to discover that she clings to me like her death is inevitable and very imminent.
So I wasn’t sure what direction the beach trip would go, but I hoped she would enjoy it as much as Billy and I do. Turns out the beach was, for Ella, the home she never knew.
She found her calling with a shovel in her hand and a bucket by her side. She repeated a newly learned and immediately favorite word: bird. She ran uninhibited… right into the surf.
And then I realized I also hoped she would fear the ocean a bit. Not in a scary, terrified way, but in a respectful, “I-understand-what-you-can-do” way.
And I wondered if that’s how we are to fear God. Sprinting towards Him with wild abandon, but never forgetting His power.
Thankfully for me, Ella would stomp out to about mid-thigh depth before always turning around, arm outstretched, eager to hold a hand. She loved the ocean and she appropriately feared the ocean.