“Don’t you fear God?”
I was taken aback by this forward statement. I was in 7th grade and the school day had just ended. A casual acquaintance was sitting next to me and we were discussing what we might do in life. It began with a seemingly innocent inquiry.
“Are you going to be a dentist like your dad?”
I wasn’t sure. I respected what my father did but did not have a desire to pursue this occupation.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Will you get married?” He persisted. Why was he asking these questions, I wondered.
“Probably. I don’t know.” I had never had a girlfriend up till that time in my life. Frankly, I didn’t give girls much thought.
“What do you mean ‘probably’?”
I didn’t know what I meant so I carelessly blurted out, “I mean, yeah sure. Or maybe I would just live with a girl and then if it works out, we can get married.”
That did it.
“You would live with a girl first before you get married?”
“I don’t know!” I stammered. “It seems like a good idea.” I really didn’t know what I was talking about.
“That’s not what the Bible says!”
I looked at him with incredulity then realized he was dead serious. “The Bible?”
“Yes. The Bible is God’s Word.”
“Ok….” I didn’t want to tell him that I didn’t believe in God.
“Don’t you fear God?”
I was being sucked into a conversation that I had no reference point or experience to answer.
“You mean, like if I disobey Him, He will send thunder and lightning down on me?”
“I don’t hear of that happening to anyone.”
“But He has done it and He can do anything. You have to fear God and obey Him!”
I needed to exit this awkward conversation.
“Sure thing. I gotta go.” I quickly got up and left.
I never gave that conversation much thought for the rest of middle and high school. My heart was hardened and in spite of attending an Episcopalian private school with weekly chapel services, I turned my back on God. But that one phrase, “Don’t you fear God?” did resonate in my soul.
A few years later in college, through God’s grace and mercy, He changed my heart and I realized that He did exist and had a definite plan for my life. And as I learned about Him by reading the Bible, I did understand, believed, and...feared God.
And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
Jonah 1:9 (ESV)
Like Jonah, my heart was far from obeying God’s Will. While I was not swallowed by a great fish, it took a series of humiliating life changing experiences for me to realize my utter depravity and need for God. And when I did, I understood I must love and fear God and not ignore His Word or deny His existence. God is love and God is holy. Therefore only He is worthy to judge and act upon us if we reject Him.
Don’t you fear God? It was that question that this well-meaning friend posed to me so many years ago. And thanks be to Him that I can now answer and say, “Yes, I fear God and love Him.”
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.