1966 was a banner year. Yes, it was the year we lost Walt Disney but it was also the year we gained me. My glorious entrance as a sixth generation Texan fell upon the 66th year of the twentieth century but there was probably some other news too.
We learned a lot in ‘66. We learned we had the right to remain silent as the Miranda Law was passed. We learned to fill out forms when Medicare kicked in. Frank Sinatra informed us he did it his way and won the Grammy. We learned women’s lib would go way too far when The Sound of Music got the Oscar.
Speaking of movies, one of the worlds cinematic wonders of achievement was released in that same year. You will remember it well and the impact it made on your life. It was called,” The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” starring Don Knotts.
Ok, maybe it didn’t do much for you, and no, it was not a biography on Bo Pilgrim’s Christian journey. But I loved it and looked for the elusive rerun in those pre-VCR dark ages.
I was somewhat of a chicken myself. Scared of the dark, my great grandfather had told me of a creature he called raw head and bloody bones that lived out there somewhere. I could hear him on my heels every time I ran down to my Papa’s house. The other big scare I had was really two things. One of which was heights. I loved to climb trees but after getting just a few feet up I would become paralyzed and start screaming for my rescue. “Help!” I would cry in my five year old hillbilly accent. “I’m a long ways from down!”
The other really big scare I had was not of spooks or the discontented souls of dead Confederate soldiers - I was scared of God. Totally terrified that one day I would run around a corner and see God face-to-face. I kinda felt like He was always watching me and I figured I would be in big trouble if He ever caught up with me.
While I never got over my terrible fear of heights I did get over my fear of God.
Today I look for him in every situation I am involved in. His presence is the highlight of my mornings and the fuel of my day. I no longer hope He doesn’t show up. I pray He does and I am not satisfied with his omnipresence, I am looking for His manifest presence. As a Christian, I believe one of these days I will see him eye-to-eye and face-to-face. After he picks me up from off the floor, I’ve get the biggest bear hug imaginable coming to me.
I think God is the most wonderful person in the universe. Conquering my fear of Him and overcoming the lie that He is out to get me is the one of the most revolutionary achievements of my life.
Now I know the Good Book talks about the fear of the Lord being healthy. The book of Proverbs says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but it’s not talking about being terrified of relationship. The Biblical expression here really means proper alignment. In other words, to love what God loves and to hate what God hates - literally to get with His program.
You tap into the fear of the Lord because you are blown away at His majesty and nature.
Graham Cooke says His majesty is how He rules and his nature is how He acts. To me, it’s a lot like a magnified version of how you look at Niagara Falls or Grand Canyon, only this one actually made the universe and wants to personally speak with you, and actually sit down and eat with you.
As C.S. Lewis describes it, the Biblical term fear of the Lord means to be “…filled with awe, in which you "feel wonder and a certain shrinking". In Johnson County terms he means it’s a right perspective of how awesome God is.
So may we all get a healthy dose of God’s greatness and in so doing see how small our issues, burdens and needs really are. When was the last time you’ve been slack-jawed or tapped into the fear of the Lord? As the ranch hand on the Wolf Brand Chili commercials used to say…’Well neighbor, that’s too long.’
“Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace...” A.W. Pink
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