Daily Reflection
September 18th, 2001
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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First Timothy 3:1-13
Psalms 101:1-2, 2-3, 5, 6
Luke 7:11-17

"Fear seized them all and they began to praise God.  'A great prophet has risen among us,' they said; and 'God has visited his people.'"
          Luke 7:16
Here's a mother and a crowd of her friends and family mourning the death of her only son.  All of us have witnessed such scenes of grief.  It is heart rending, and something about a mother's loss of a child triggers a particularly piercing pain.
Jesus' gentle approach to this woman is touching.  Of course he would be moved by compassion for her.  Anyone would.  In similar circumstances, all of us have wished for the power to restore the life of a lost loved one.

In this story, Jesus does just that.  "Then Jesus gave him back to his mother."  It brings tears to my eyes.
So what is the reaction of the mourners?
Fear, then praise.  Seems odd.
Why fear in the presence of the power and glory of God?  It's written about elsewhere:  Moses' reaction to Yahweh.  The angel of the Lord tells Mary that she should not be afraid.  Shepherds near Bethlehem are struck with fear.

Maybe fear is natural in the face of God's awesome power.  But it still seems odd to me.

We spend our lives yearning for some assurance that we have a protector, an advocate, some sign that ultimately, there is security for us.  Then when we're suddenly face-to-face with the reality that, yes, we do have all of that, we're . . .  afraid?
It's almost as if someone or some thing has devised a scheme to prevent us from wholeheartedly embracing God's love for us.  How can we embrace a thing with our whole hearts if we find that thing fearful?

Fear has its uses.  It protects us from real dangers.  But it is an inappropriate tool if I'm trying to get closer to God.  Today I pray that God will help me put aside my inappropriate, silly fears.  I pray that I may instead focus on this mother's heart-bursting joy as she hears her once-lost son speak.
Go ahead.  Trust God.  Live in joy.

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