I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. When I look back on my 76 years of living, all I can see is one failure after another. Who am I to be given such mercy?
When I was a child, I was afraid of God. On one hand, I was told that God was my heavenly Father and that He loved me as an earthly father loves his children – only more. To a four year old little girl, that made no sense. I knew my dad loved me, but he never once expressed that love verbally. I felt I had to be a good girl and tow the line in order to gain his favor. If I didn’t, I would receive punishment.
I felt the same way about my heavenly Dad. I felt I must follow the commandments to the letter, to never make mistakes, to learn all I could about heaven and how to get there. I felt God was my judge and I was terrified, because there was no way I’d ever get it right.
I was taught in a Christian high school. I heard the words of my teachers, but they weren’t sinking in. At least I didn’t think they were. When I started my own family and understood a little bit about parenting, it began to become clearer to me. Life experiences are like that. We can learn a ton from them.
As a child, I thought of God as a stern judge who saw only my dark side. I couldn’t help but feel unworthy. Like many Christians, I felt something was missing. There had to be something I could do to make amends for my sins. Time and lots of prayers finally brought the truth of the Gospel to my heart. Yet, without that Law, I would have had no need for a Savior.
So fear, in my case, had a negative connotation. Fear also means to stand in awe of someone or something – to honor and show respect. We can never do what is necessary to become right with God – only God can make that happen – and He did, when He became flesh and blood and suffered the weight and shame of our sins.
God is not only the creator of the universe, but its Savior. We’re told to fear and love God which sounds like a contradiction. God tells us in Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Today and every day, may we stand before You, Holy God, with reverential awe. You loved this world so much that you sent your own Son, Jesus, to take on our sin so we could gain your forgiveness. Through your resurrection, we know that we will overcome death as well. This is amazing grace. When You look at us, You see Your Son and the work that He did for all the world. The price has been paid. This the best news. Amen!