And now, for the promised “part two” of Friday’s blog post, finishing the idea of how we can balance obeying the command to not be afraid with that of needing to fear God. If you didn’t read “part one,” you can find it here:
C.S. Lewis weaves an incredible word picture of fearing God into his Chronicles of Narnia series. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the four Pevensies are introduced to Aslan, the Narnian image of Jesus Christ. Early in the book, before they meet him, there is a discussion about Aslan that is thrilling to me.
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Susan, Lucy, and their brothers Edmund and Peter have found themselves in a world very different from their own. A world where winter is forever, a witch oppresses the people, and Aslan has seemed absent for generations. Fear is ever-present as they deal with the dangers all around them. But, they come face to face with a decision. Do they fight the fearful themselves, or do they heed the rumors that Aslan has returned and seek him out for help? Both seem terrifying, but which more than the other?
I love Peter’s response to the Beavers’ description of Aslan.
“I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.”
God is terrifying. He is bigger than we could ever imagine. Nothing is beyond His power or authority. He is jealous. And He is the judge of all. His hugeness is overwhelming. Just one read through some of the stories in Scripture shows us that He is not “safe.” But, who else would we fall on? Who else holds everything in His hands? Who else can cause even the source of my greatest fears to tremble and fall? Only Almighty God. Even if I do feel terrified at the thought of Him sometimes, I, like Peter, long for His presence.
At the end of the last chapter of What Women Fear, I wrote these words to, in a way, culminate my thoughts from the book and topic.
We don’t know how to trust in a mighty, fearful God until we are pressed by smaller fears that force us to Him. Where would we be without fears?
If life were fear-free, we would never turn to God. He is too terrifying. We would never fully obey Him. Obedience is too frightening. But, when the fearful things of this world arise and hound us, we find that the only thing we can do that is to turn to the One who has more authority and power than any of the other things we fear. And in His arms we find both the perfect refuge from our fears and the healthy fear needed to obey Almighty God, whatever the cost.