From Connections: Never Fear, God Can Hear

The writer is the 15-year-old home-schooled daughter of Dixon and Linda Cartwright. She likes to read, write, draw, ride horses and design Web pages.

By Jamie Cartwright

BIG SANDY, Texas--Welcome to another installment of Jamie Trying to Understand the Bible at 2:30 in the Morning.

A friend told me the No. 1 fear of most people is giving a speech in front of a bunch of other people who are all looking straight at you and listening and waiting for you to mess up.

The second great fear of most people is death. So, as my friend put it, most people would rather be lying in their coffin than giving the eulogy.

I have always heard in my Christian life that you're supposed to fear God. Fear God? You don't fear God, do you? You fear spiders and car wrecks and weird noises at night and the neighbors' economy-sized dog, but not God! Surely not!

Well, actually, yeah, you do, but not in the same way that you'd be scared of a big, hairy, slobbering dog with about a million teeth with your name on them.

  • Fear of disappointment: If you love God, you strive to obey Him, and when you do something wrong you cringe and hide in the closet. Well, you know what I mean. When you know you've disappointed somebody, you generally get what could be called the bad feeling, the exact opposite of what we all strive for in the long run: to feel good about ourselves and the way we act.
Our conscience, although annoying at times, was put into us for a pretty good reason: to help us keep up that good feeling and not to scare our grandchildren when we tell them about the wild days of our youth.
  • Fear of punishment: Although God is always with us, sometimes He might withdraw a bit of His protection and teach us a lesson. Nobody likes to be taught lessons.
  • Fear of ourselves: I think this is, in the end, the greatest fear of all.

God is mercy and love and kindness. It's we who screw up and get in trouble. But we can pray to God and ask Him to help us out down here on earth, and, hey, He does. Isn't that cool? You can ask any old person, "Hey, man, will you protect me?"

But, no matter what answer you get ("Oh, well, I'm having lunch with Cindy, and I've got this interview at 3, but I can protect you at, oh, from 5 to 7. How does that sound?"), that person is as mortal as you and can never perform the small, everyday miracles we're usually not aware that are even happening that God can.

So we're still scared of things like unusually large insects and people who want to hurt us and Y2K and talking in front of a large crowd.

But we shouldn't be, because God is right there beside us, and the only thing to fear is if He leaves our side.

How can we know if He's left or not, though? Well, duh, that's why He gave us the Ten Commandments to follow and Jesus' sacrifice when we don't exactly follow them and said, "Hey, buddy, love Me, worship Me, follow these simple rules and, hey, I'm there."

In theory it's so easy it makes me want to scream. In reality, of course, life is tough, and fearing God is tougher. All you can do is try your best, then try a little harder.

If you don't, I'll sic my dog on you.

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