Running with Abandon

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.


  1. Love this analogy. Or is it a comparison? I'm not good knowing how to use those words...but I like this entry none-the-less.

  2. Thanks so much, Mary!


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