There is a fear that will make you fearless. Many of God’s saints have gone through times that shook them with such terrible fright they felt paralyzed. These times usually involve getting a glimpse of the holiness of God. Like Isaiah, we tremble and come undone, but it is during those times we learn that Christ is everything. When we understand the wrath our sins deserve, these dark nights have a way of breaking all that encumbers the heart and turns its focus to the only one who can save us. These are the times of spiritual depression when we look and see our sinful hearts in all their depravity. It is here where the fear of God takes on a whole new meaning. When we go through a time like this, there is nothing that we will not surrender to God because we finally see how hopeless we are without His grace and mercy. It is in these times that we offer our boldest prayers. We are willing to cry, “Lord, take everything from me if I am not in your will; my reputation, my job, even my family if necessary. There is only one thing that will pull me from this pit, and that is to know I am right with you.” Spurgeon said, “If a man is in this position, you can lay the wealth of India at his feet, and he’ll say, ‘take it away, what use is that to me.’”
When a person goes through a time like this and comes out on the other side, it changes them, and many times, the Lord left everything intact, the reputation, the job, and the family, but at the same time, He has taken it from him. The fears that once tormented are gone because they now understand the greatest truth; without Christ, we have nothing, and with Him, we have everything. They also learn that they belong to Him, and even when it seems He is against them, He is for them. This newly found freedom emboldens the man to do and say things that he once could not because of his fears. It gives him the ability to take a stand for Christ no matter what the cost. We see this in John Bunyan spending years in prison without denying Christ or Luther standing before the powers of Rome, declaring, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” They had been through times where their sins tormented them, and during those times, they saw the worthlessness of everything compared to Christ. As a result, the fears of this world have lost their strength.
There is an excellent picture of this in the movie “The Four Feathers.” The main character is in a group of military friends who receive orders to go to battle. The main character is afraid, so he resigns. From this, four of his closest friends each give him a feather signifying that he is a coward. Seeing the result of his decision, he heads off to Saudi Arabia to find this group and redeem his cowardly act. The terrors he faces make going to war pale in comparison. During his ordeal, a man says to him, “why did you not go to war?” His reply is, “I was afraid.” The man who asked the question began to laugh out loud and says, “You?… Scared? I found you half dead in the middle of the desert by yourself.” To which he responds, “It’s a different kind of fear.”
It’s a different kind of fear to fear the Lord. Not the type of fear that will cause you to run away, but a fear that will cause you to run to Him and stand unmoved. In finding this fear, all other chains of fear begin to break. Praise God for causing our hearts to fear and, by grace, our fears relieve.
When I cling to earthly things
Within my heart, fear pulls the strings
Lord, all these things, take if you must
For in your love, I’ll place my trust.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27