Discovering the fear of the Lord

I’ve noticed a change in myself recently.

Now with the benefit of hindsight I know it’s been there for some time.

Here’s what triggered my awareness. I’d bought an item and it turned out to be faulty…

My closest friends, aware of the situation, became angry, outraged. They wanted justice.

But I wasn’t angry at all, which amused me greatly, because while they vented their anger with colourful expletives and advice l was already occupying a very different heart and head space.

And the more they protested about this injustice the more I was taken by an inner awareness, their voices fading into little more than babbling sounds in the background…

Then it hit me. I haven’t been angry about injustice for a long time. In fact, even though I tried, I couldn’t remember when I was last angered by injustice.

But it wasn’t the absence of anger or outrage that was catching my awareness… it was an awareness that my reaction to injustice had become fear for the perpetrator. It’s no exaggeration to say that I shiver as it passes through me.

And the more my friends are outraged the more I fall silent… my whole being contemplating the price that will have to be paid…

I wondered when that started to happen?

I wondered how it happened?

I wondered even more about how I’d known this for some time but hadn’t brought it to awareness, how I could know something and yet not really know it?

And just to make this very point… even as I asked the questions I was aware of the answer.

Is this what the saints call the fear of the Lord, I pondered to myself, amazed. So this is what it means… after all the years I’m beginning to grasp it… possibly!

Recent occasions float into memory… occasions when I’ve been willing a person to do the right thing; “don’t take it… don’t overcharge… don’t pull the fast stroke… please don’t, please don’t… not for my sake but for your sake!”

It’s fear… it’s awe… in the face of knowing something of the cost, the price that Love will have to pay for each and every injustice.

Having pondered this new awareness I find myself considering if this is what sustained the martyrs when confronted with their murderers? Had they become so aware of God’s justice that they’d lost all concern for themselves and were concerned only with what their murderers were doing to themselves and to Heaven?