Fear is a dirty word in our culture. We believe that we should not have to live "in fear" whether it be in regard to potential terrorist threats or the threat of violence by our neighbors for being different. Children are to be reared in nurturing, loving environments where they do not fear their parents or their teachers or other authority figures.
This is all well and good, but I think somewhere we've lost a little bit of healthy fear. I think there is something good about fear, it can be a help even more than a hindrance in our lives. I'm not talking about the kind of fear that has you waking up at night in cold sweats, or panic stricken and imovable at the sight or mere thought of something. But I'm talking about a certain kind of respect - an aknowledgment that certain things are indeed bigger than you are.
I was reading my friend's blog today and he mentions about rafting, and how tricky stuff on the river keeps you respecting the river. I've guided before and part of the 'paddle talk' that I'd give before every new trip down the river was a reminder that we need to respect the river - it is powerful and if you don't, you could get injured or even die. Remembering that, keeps you from doing stupid things - it keeps you safe.
I was also reading today, Proverbs 1 (v 7 in particular)
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
My life is ultimately in the hands of my creator. And when it's over, I will have to give an account for it. Remembering that I'm but a breath away from having to do that, having to explain why I did my own thing instead of submitting to the LORD and doing x, y or z - it helps me at least. I need to be aware, constantly, that God is Awesome - and a little afraid of that. The kind of fear that moves you to action, not inaction. The kind of fear that keeps you away from the poison. The kind of fear that keeps you from doing something dumb. The kind of fear that makes you evaluate your actions and conform them to the One who is able to call them to account.
I don't know about you, but I need a healthy dose of fear...