The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NRSV
I suppose these are rhetorical questions. It is God who gives light. It is God who gives me salvation. Why should I be afraid of anyone else? No one else can give me either of these things. It is God who is the strength of my life - God protects, gives me courage, has showered me with gifts of the Spirit and holds my hand through every event in life. No one else on earth can do these things. So, I should not be afraid of anyone because they are truly powerless.
But the suggested answer is really: God. If God is my light and salvation, I should fear God. If God is the stronghold of my life, then I should be afraid of God.
As I have said before, I don't like those answers. I don't want to be afraid of God. I want God to be my friend. Is that too personal? Should God be personified in that way? I love the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis where God is walking in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. God wants to spend time with God's creation. Maybe God would tell them a story or would want to hear about their day. I like that view of God. But, of course, Adam and Eve do something wrong and God throws them out of the garden and into a life of stress and worry. God's punishment has changed their relationship from one of friendliness to one of fear. God is not a benevolent parent but now a strict disciplinarian. However, this isn't some schizophrenic God but the result of humanity's behavior. Is my behavior a barrier to a personal relationship with God? Hasn't Jesus changed all that? God hasn't stopped being my light, my salvation, my stronghold. But without Jesus, fear is really the only appropriate response.
God, thank you so much for Jesus! Without him, where would our relationship with You be? Thank you in his name! Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims