The fear of the Lord leads to wisdom. The fear of the Lord leads to knowledge. It leads to understanding. It leads to life. There are many things the Bible says as to where the fear of the Lord will lead you. But what it doesn’t directly say is fear of the Lord will lead you to a relationship with the Lord. Too many people actually have a fear of a relationship with the Lord instead of a fear of the Lord.
As we continue on our month of fear, we wanted to touch on a relationship with God. Just like any relationship, there is an unknown that is involved in the development of the relationship. With another person, be it a friendship or something more, there is the unknown of how the person will treat you, react to you, and respond to you. Will they be trustworthy? Will they trust you? Will they “get” you? Will you understand them? Many people fear getting to know someone so much that they burn bridges even before they are built. Others desire that relationship so much that they lose themselves in trying to be what they think the other person wants.
When Jenna and I first met, I was young and just desired a surface relationship. I didn’t want to get to connected, vulnerable, or attached. It wasn’t that my goal was to keep it on a surface level. If you asked me back then, I wouldn’t have been able to vocalize that in any way, but I had a fear of many things when it came to relationships. I wasn’t done with my “single” life and I feared that I would “lose out” on those precious years. I could barely manage my own life back then, let alone a family. I was good to just be closed off and surface with anyone, especially Jenna who I was about to have a child with.
It is easy to burn bridges when you don’t put in the time to build them. And I would only allow some rope here and there instead of wood and metal to connect. When it came down to it, I desired to have a concrete bridge to someone. One that couldn’t be burned no matter what. I wanted that deep connection. But fear didn’t allow me to even entertain the thought of building one, let alone start construction.
There is One who has a bridge ready to drop in place, like those military bridges they use to cross rivers wherever they need to at almost any moment. He was just waiting for me to accept it. Yes, the same fears would come in as with any relationship. Am I ready for this? Isn’t there something else I would rather do than be “tied down” by this relationship? Am I good enough to keep this relationship?
Those questions were easy to answer. Was I ready? Yes and no. Yes, I was ready to receive that bridge I had desired for so long. The kind that I couldn’t burn. But no, I wasn’t ready. Well, I couldn’t get myself to be ready. It wasn’t like I could pack up and know at a certain moment that I was ready. I had to jump in, unprepared and just go.
Wasn’t there something else I would rather do? Of course! My flesh had been well-fed. I wasn’t quite like Solomon when he stated, “whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them” Ecc 2:10. But I hadn’t brought my flesh under control. In the choice to have a relationship with God, I had to get my desire for Him and His word to be to me like deer panting for water. I had to work on disciplining my body so that my spirit would grow stronger. I had to feed my spirit and not my flesh.
There is One who has a bridge ready to drop in place
And finally, was I good enough? No. I wasn’t. I was an enemy to God. I was a sinner. I wasn’t worthy of a rope, let alone an eternal bridge. But that didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. God’s love for me was greater and is greater than anything I ever did or could do. His love is what built the bridge. A bridge that, as I reflect on my life, was always there. I was so focused on myself, my needs, my desires and what I thought I wanted in a bridge, that I never noticed that what I truly needed was there all along.
When you compare human relationships to what you think will be one with God, you will miss a big part. God’s love is so great, that He has already built the bridge. He has already extended the invitation. He has already “put himself out there.” He has made Himself vulnerable, wanting you to accept Him back, knowing that you could reject Him. But, He builds the bridge anyway so that you won’t fear a relationship with Him.
“God, I give you my whole life. I am sorry for all I have done and I want you to be my God. Please help me with all of the messes I have made. I want to trust you with my life.”
But what comes next is the part that can sometimes make or break us in our walk of faith as a believer in Jesus. Saying the words and doing the actions can be two very different things. Sometimes when we try to trust we fail and then we can become fearful of trusting in the future.
It can sometimes, but not always, be easy to trust in God’s forgiveness, trust that he loves you, trust that He has a plan for you, but often those things can come into question as time and life continue on. Maybe there is something you have been praying for over a long period of time and it has not yet been answered. Maybe your prayer has finally been answered, but it was not the answer you were asking for. It could be that you find as you get older either in life, or in your walk with Christ that new things are coming up that you did not struggling with before. Those sins didn’t seem to have been there, or at least, they had not yet been shown to you. By now you should “know better”. By now, those seemingly simple things should be areas of your flesh that you have mastered, but clearly, you have not. The idea of God forgiving you again, or anew, may start to weigh on you and then the enemy has to come in to lie to you and tell you that these new struggles can’t or won’t be forgiven because “you should know better.” Fear takes it’s place in our mind and can force out the truths that we are certain of.
“Does God really love me? I mean, I know He loves other people. I know He forgives others for everything that they have ever done…but me? I’m different. This is different.” The enemy continues on whispering those thoughts of doubt into your mind. It’s those things that we know to be untrue all of a sudden seem as though they possibly could be true.
Now your trust in God is struggling. You can be afraid to trust because you want to try and make things be just the way you want them to be. Life can be so fast paced and it’s easy to get caught up with the regular routine of things and the never-ending passage of time. Life just goes. Areas where you may have had deep faith and trust in the past now seem mundane and routine and you don’t really look at it as if there was a daily choice to trust God in His word and at His word.
Trusting in God is definitely something to regularly ask for in prayer. Like the man from the Bible in the Gospel of Mark 9:24. He had faith for His son to be able to ask Jesus to heal him, but followed up his request by saying, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” We can take that same perspective when it comes to trusting God. “God, I trust you, and I have trusted you with my life, my family, my job, but I have this “thing” going on and, Lord, please help me to trust when I feel like I can’t!”
Does God really love me?
Areas of fear can arise as your kids are getting older and the real questions of life are coming up. It’s one thing to watch your kids become toddlers, go of to school, try skateboarding and ride their bike. It’s a whole new perspective as you have to watch your child or children make life choices on their own, learn for themselves the difficulties of the world, experience real sorrow and discover terrible choices that they may have made. I know for me, as a parent, I want to help my kids with whatever they need, but often I just can’t do it. I’m too far away. I don’t have the money to fix the problem. Often, I can’t help their hurting heart. And I MUST trust God with and for them even if I am afraid. My heart can still ache for them, but choosing to look to Christ allows me to draw closer to Him and to show my kids to do the same as we both watch God’s plans unfold.
A last thought…what if you have prayed for something that would be a really great thing for you? What if that thing; job, friendship, family reconciliation, ministry opportunity, physical healing, would actually be a good thing, but the Lord doesn’t answer in your time frame? Is He wrong? Did He mess up? The answer of course is, “NO!”
Our trust in God is challenged regularly. Monthly, weekly, daily. Sometimes it can seem like we just keep getting hit with a new challenge when it comes to trusting Him. As our walk with the Lord continues, it is important to keep in mind that we have to choose to trust God with every step. If the Bible is telling us all that we are incomplete until the return of Jesus (Philippians 1:6), then we must know that we will struggle.
However, each struggle will make you stronger. Each time you are faced with doubt and not trusting, and you choose to wrestle through and trust anyway, you get stronger. Stronger in faith and stronger in that trust. The fear faints off into the distance.
God’s word is such a powerful gift to us. The smallest verse on a difficult day can give you the strength to choose trust over fear. So fear not and allow trust in Jesus Christ to be your guide.