2014-10-08 - Running the Race
I was on my way to an appointment the other day, and just as I approached a slight curve, a doe popped out in front of the car. For about 3-5 seconds, I was stricken with what must have appeared to be the look described as a "deer in the headlights" look. I immediately hit the brakes, and as the car slowed down, in my mind it felt more like slow motion, but yet all happened so quickly. If you've ever experienced this type of moment, you know that whether you know God or not, you may find yourself praying for your life to be saved, and shortly after that part is hope that the car isn't destroyed, if you do wreck. Fortunately I didn't hit the doe, and in a matter of seconds, the whole thing was over. Another part of those moments, I found myself looking more into the eyes of the deer, and I wasn't really sure why, then. It was almost a trans-like state of some sort, even after we both were safely continuing on our paths, and I still had that image of those eyes in my head.
The doe's eyes showed sheer determination, as if she had no doubt she would make it to the other side of the street. She also had fear in in her eyes, but the sort of instinctual fear that allowed her to continue on to safety, not thinking about failure or rejections as possibilities. To me, fear in this context is a form of respect, which is found in the definition of reverence according to dictionary.com. (a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration) It was an attitude of deep respect, in her eyes.
I began to think about how reverence for God can be made to sound like something that keeps us far from him, but since he made us for his pleasure (He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me: Psalm 18:19), and to be in relationship with him, then those ideas suggest being together and not far from each other. His plan was to make a way for us to be close to him, in spite of all that could keep it from happening.
"I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Genesis 9:15)
So if he wants a relationship with us, gives us instructions on how to do so, allows us to test him in those instructions (Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10), then he is asking for our respect. It isn't because he wants to control us or buy us, but because he loves us so deeply, that he wants the best for us. So knowing he has our back, and how he wants us to safely reach him again, reminds me again of that split second with the doe. And God's love ultimately drives out any fear of failure or rejection, so for those who love him the reward will be sweeter than just making it to the other side of a street. It will be an eternity in the arms of the one who made us.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.