Sunday, March 12, 2017

Too Stupid to be Afraid

My dad has long said that I was "too stupid to be afraid."  I don't think this is an insult.  I suspect grudging admiration.  He is every bit as adventuresome as me.  And he doesn't really think I'm dumb.  It's just that a certain amount of fear is a smart response to a dangerous situation. 

Think about it.  

Giant cliff-don't do cartwheels.

Suspension bridge hanging stories above the river-don't lean too far over.

Interstate in the blizzard-don't "push" through and definitely don't speed. (I live in Wyoming; you can trust me on this.)

This is the category of fear-the smart kind-that fearing the Lord is in.  I know you've heard the phrase, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," right?"  Well this is that.  The Creator of the Universe, maker of gas giants and germs, both more complex than we can imagine, has His eye on you.  You should be very concerned that you please Him.  That's the Biblical definition of wisdom.  

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
(James 3:13-18)

Earthly, natural, demonic, jealous, selfishly ambitious, bitter, arrogant.  That's quite a list of descriptors.  This is the wisdom of the world.  

Here is the crux of the matter: if true wisdom fears God, what does the world's wisdom fear?  

It fears everyone who could stand in its way - other nations, other languages, other people.  

It fears death, dishonor, disgrace.  

It fears never having enough, never being enough.  

It fears everything except God.

We live in a terrified world. A world where the innocent are in grave danger if they are in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time.  A world where people grasp and scramble and step on whoever they have to.  A world where we fear the government, the conspiracy, the Muslims, the police-a world where we fear everything but God. 

In my hometown in the last couple of months the police force has hosted a couple of programs at the local inner-city high school.  First there was a demonstration where the students could experience a traffic stop from an officer's point of view and the second a dance-off. The police officers and the students are creating peace through truth, reasonableness, and gentleness.  This is the wisdom of God.  

When we left to go abroad, there were many people who were afraid.  They were afraid of the foreigners, the travel, the food, the illnesses, the water and the language. And we might have been afraid too, but we feared God more.  This isn't some great virtue in us.  It's just a more realistic picture.  If the God of the Universe, is sending you to another country, and you don't go, you might get swallowed by a great fish.  


Just like Rahab, the Hebrew Midwives, and the police officer I know in Knoxville, we can understand that Creator will always win.  Always.  No dictator, country, race, disease, famine, war, terrorist, refugee or any other created thing can stand against Him.  Wisdom is finding yourself on His side.


  1. Amen!
    Who is on the Lord's side? Who will serve the King?
    As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
    I'm in.

    1. Ruth,
      I so wanted to find a way to work Joshua into this post! He is the epitome of understanding that in God's hands we have nothing to fear.

  2. Your last sentence speak volumes-wisdom is finding yourself on His side. Amen! Fear seems to have overtaken us daily and we feed into it often because we are coerced by social media to fall into that trap. But fear of the Lord is where we should place it and letting go and knowing that God is God and will be there is what we need. Great post.

    1. Mary,
      Thanks for your kind comment! I see so many people terrified on a daily basis instead of living courageously in their Savior.

  3. I loved this as I write about fear often. I love your faith when you went abroad as you cast aside all those fears.

    1. I hopped over and read your post today about fear! I know exactly what you mean about trusting God to overcome our personal fears!

  4. I love how you explained what fear of God really is ... the "healthy fear" kind ... yet we need to concerned that we do fear Him appropriately. Beautiful, balanced perspective. Blessings on you today!

    1. Thanks Dianne! I think as a culture we are too afraid of things that have little eternal consequence and not nearly frightened enough of things that do!

  5. I often let fear lead to discouragement. And, recently, Isaiah 41:10 has kept coming into my life. I'm learning this very distinction - fear for good reasons versus trusting the Lord with where He leads me, thus not fearing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Nicki, I just opened my Bible and read those beautiful words. I know that God's word here was for our Savior, he was the servant God was encouraging to be fearless but I also know we follow Him in trusting a God fearlessly! Thanks for pointing us to scripture!