Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fear and Faith

For those of you who have followed Zion Beckons with regularity over the last year you will recall several testimonies of faith in the presence of God in my daily life. He has, as He has promised, been there for me in restoration of health and critical direction for my life. I recognize His divine intervention and freely acknowledge it. In fact I am extremely eager to share these events with anyone who cares to take the time to listen. When God becomes a personal friend and benefactor and one has the evidence at hand how can one not share?

Does this mean I have a special relationship? No, there is nothing extra special about me. And that is precisely why our relationship is so remarkable. It may be that I truly believe that not only “God is” but that He will fulfill His promises and offer the gifts He has outlined in the scriptures. When sought in absolute faith He responds.

I vividly recall a day I spent in Phoenix, AZ in 1977. A man, steeped in sin, confusion, fear and at wits end; I finally called upon God to intervene and set me straight. I had parked on East Van Buren and walked aimlessly for the better part of the day trying to sort through the events of the last few months. In a short six months I had managed to destroy decades of marriage, alienate my children, lose my job, and generally rid myself of all the vestiges of civilized behavior. I had no goals or prospects and I was desperately trying to sort things out for myself. Shortly before dark I stood on a street corner in downtown Phoenix and prayed aloud to my God for relief. I acknowledged my separation from Him, stated my clear understanding that He could help and vowed to do that which would be pleasing to Him.

The next five minutes were the most transformative of my life. My depression suddenly dissipated. My appetite returned—I hadn’t eaten in a couple of days. I took notice of my surroundings and realized I was about three miles from where I had parked. I now understand that He had entered my life and we commenced the struggle together to make me whole. I would like to tell you that it happened overnight. Together we fought for my sanity over the next three years. Every crisis I have faced since I have recalled that golden experience in Phoenix to reinforce my faith. In the interim, He has given me relief from alcoholism, found me a loving wife, and healed a broken body more than once. He has given me vital direction in life choices and through discernment has allowed to see the truth and the falsehood in matters both sacred and secular.

In a library of testimony why do I single out this particular event? The reason should be clear. I had found the depths but for the first time, had the wholehearted belief that God could and would help me if I asked. In my clouded mind I had managed to maintain the belief in His ability to provide relief. I have since learned that constant contact with God is much easier and probably more pleasing to Him than asking Him for help as a last resort. It is difficult to relate the despair which so quickly evaporated on that street corner.

The title of this entry is Fear and Faith. Where is the fear? Now that faith has brought the richness of life and demonstrated the benefit of the protection of the Almighty it has also brought understanding of failure to please Him. Do I fear Him? Yes!

It is not that I fear that He will do me harm intentionally. My fear serves as a constant reminder that I must serve Him and do my level best to do His will. A quick trip to Strong’s Concordance will verify the importance of fear. Fear and various formulations of the word make up four and a half columns of scriptural references. That amounts to nearly 644 entries. I gather from that preponderance of usage that God places a high priority on the necessity of fear. Faith and related words have about 400 references. I have clearly seen His strength and power operative in my personal life. Given that level of demonstrable might could I sanely ignore that the same power could be utilized to show his displeasure.

We have all read in the bible of the calamities which have befallen those who choose to place themselves athwart the intention of God. If we decide to join those folks should we expect any less? If through personal testimony and that of others we see the supernatural ability of the Almighty and add to our knowledge of Him and still persist in separating ourselves from him then fear would be an appropriate response.

One of the pitfalls of being human is maintaining concentration on being in harmony with God at all times. Surrounded by the world we live in, the presence of evil is everywhere and easily available. When we reject the temptations of the flesh the tendency might be to experience a moment of pride for our righteousness. Righteousness should be normal and not a singular happening worth isolating for praise. I sincerely believe that to understand God requires faith in the extreme and constant fear; fear of the loss of His guiding hand and the protection only He can provide on a daily basis.

Were it not for that moment in Phoenix and the recognition of the fear of God I would not have been able to raise “mine Ebenezer” three years later. Lacking fear, my testimony of faith would be valueless.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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