Not long ago I confronted my fear of God. While fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, being afraid of God and His anger hinders our ability to receive that wisdom. Plus, God loves His children and is a good Father. He wants us to receive His love, something we can’t do when we’re afraid of Him.
I so want the same kind of faith that Paul had, the kind that allowed him to rejoice in God’s blessings even as a cold, hungry prisoner of Rome waiting to be executed. Paul’s faith was the kind that pleased God. I don’t have that kind of faith, though and several months ago I was in the midst of very trying circumstances, failing the “test of faith” once again. For several weeks I wouldn’t talk to God except to yell or cry at Him. Finally, after beating myself up about sinning and then pouting about my circumstances, I did something I’ve never done; I went to God, trembling and shaking, and told Him just how scared of Him I was at that moment, but that I desperately needed to know He loved me and even though my pain was of my own making, I really needed to experience His comfort.
Oh my word! I don’t recall ever feeling so much love from my Father in Heaven. Yes, He’s comforted me when I’ve been hurt, but this had an element of excitement about it. He was so happy to finally get to love on me when I was so low! I was a little shocked, and yet so delighted.
The writer of Hebrews wrote that you can’t please God without faith. I assumed that if God wasn’t pleased He must be angry, and an angry dad is frightening, especially an All Powerful One. So whenever I screwed up I would expect severe punishment and looks of disappointment from my Heavenly Father. Now I’m beginning to understand that His greatest desire when I screw up is to comfort me. The consequences will still come, but I won’t have to face them alone, which means they won’t feel quite so horrible.
I haven’t learned this perfectly and figure it’s going to take the rest of my life on this earth to fully grasp it. Thankfully, my Heavenly Father is patient beyond measure, amazing in all He does. Knowing that He desperately wants to comfort me in the midst of my sin has brought a new measure of peace and freedom to my everyday life, too. Since I’m not terrified of screwing up and making God angry, I’m not incessantly “watching my Ps and Qs” anymore. My Father, the Maker and Lord of the whole universe, is sitting on His glorious throne as my Comforter and Helper, not as my judge and executioner. How amazing is that?