Many years ago, I went to visit an Aunt and Uncle in Tennessee. During the daytime hours, my sister and I stayed at the grandparents’ house and played with the neighborhood kids. On one occasion, we were playing hide-and-go-seek and I frantically ran into the kitchen and asked grandmother to help me find a place to hid. I remember she opened up the cabinets under the sink, took the contents out and told me to get in there. Moments later the kitchen was filled with the voices of those seeking to find me. They never did, because I was safely hid.
God is much the same. The Psalmist learned that when he faced trouble, the Lord would hide him in his secret place. The trouble may be present, but he was hid safely from the harm that the problem could cause. God wants to do the same for you and me. He wants us to run to him and seek refuge from the harm that we face. He will protect us, but at the same time reveal himself to us as we hide in the tabernacle of his care.
Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Trials and troubles are inevitable, but what we have is a God who will care for us as we seek refuge in him.
Faith and fear: they are not always on opposite ends of the spectrum. Sometimes they work together and in cases involving our relationship with God, they are essential. God looks for individuals who fear and trust him.
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! (Psalms 31:19)
There is a difference between being terrified by God and fearing him. As believers, God does not want us to be terrified of him. Through scripture, he conveys himself as a loving father. A loving father and someone of whom people should be terrified are contrastive characters. In other words, you will never see a loving father who has children who are terrified of him. God does not want us to be terrified of him, but he does want us to fear him. There is a big difference.
I may fear a police officer, but I am not terrified of him. I may fear a judge, but he does not terrify me. I fear fire, but I am not terrified by it. The difference is that fear causes negative emotions based on what it has the power to do if I fail to respect it. Being terrified occurs when a person without cause expects an impending doom to come upon them. God does not want us living under an expected doom, but he does want us to emotionally respond to his leading in our lives.
When we trust in God, we run to him as a refuge from the struggles and troubles of life. This pleases him because he wants to be our refuge, strength and deliver. Each time we run to him, we exercise faith in him and his ability to meet our needs. This pleases God.
When we fear and trust God, he responds to it. He promises to respond to us in goodness, which is to give us what is the very best for our lives. He wants this for everyone, but reserves it only for those who fear and trust him. This is something each of us can do and because of it, we can expect great things from God.