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But the wicked are filled with terror, because God is with those who do what is right. Psalm 14:5 (NCV)

The reality of God’s existence is a refuge for some and a source of fear for others.

To those who believe in the God of the universe, the God of Jacob and Genesis, the God who sent Jesus Christ to earth to be the savior of all mankind, he is the foundation of our faith.

For those who believe in other gods, Jehovah God brings fear, frustration and anger. Albert Barnes writes in ‘Barnes notes on the Bible’, “People cannot, by an effort of will, get rid of the evidence that there is a God. In the face of all their attempts to convince themselves of this, the demonstration of his existence will press upon them, and will often fill their minds with terror.”

Jesus himself warns us that we would be hated by the world because the world hates him, and if the world hates Jesus it hates the Father God of the universe. What was the first emotion felt by Adam and Eve after they sinned? When God came looking for them to take his normal evening walk in the garden with his friends they were hiding. Why? “We hid because we were naked and afraid.”

Unhealthy fear of God is expressed in many ways. Some go to any effort at all to disprove his existence.

Others show fear though anger at God. He didn’t do what I wanted. He didn’t meet my wants. Therefore he must not exist and if he does exist, he isn’t interested in me or is angry with me.

Still others become frustrated in their walk with God. They live the way they want. They follow their own passions, their own desires and when the natural consequences of their decisions produce the expected outcome they are shocked. Where is God now? They ask. If he loves me why does this happen?

Referring back to the earlier quote from Barnes’ may help us to understand a little bit more about our enemy. Our ultimate enemy of course is Satan, but he works in the minds of his children (those who refuse to believe) to instill fear in a variety of ways in order to pull them farther from the God who desperately wants a love relationship with them.

What does this mean to us as Christ followers? Perhaps it is easier for us to realize that those attacks on us that seem to put us on the defensive are really the attacks of people who feel trapped. Cornered by the sub-conscious realization that God does exist, they have two options. Fight or give in.

Our responsibility as children of God isn’t to fight back, but to love and accept them into the kingdom. Show them the forgiveness available through grace. Realize their attacks are really an indication of the realization that we are right about our belief in a sovereign God and a gracious redeemer.

PRAYER: Father, I confess to you that I get angry when I see people around me mocking your name and living in ways that don’t please you. I get judgmental and critical of their ways. Help me to see what you see, a bunch of scared people seeking relief from their fears in the wrong way. Help me show them that you are the solution to the fear and frustration in their lives, not the cause of it. In the name of Jesus, my Lord I pray, Amen.

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June 2023
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