I’ve been a Christian for many decades now. Just a fact, no brag. Any bragging to be done, needs to be done about God. I almost walked away after college, but God pursued me. So, I turned back. Praise God! I’ve been focused on reading the Bible to get to know God more. I’ve been concentrating on writing a children’s book. It makes me look for God in the day to day. I see my book’s animal characters for real on occasion. I want to include faith in the story.
Lately, I’ve wondered if I’ve lost some of my fear of God because of songs about believers being a friend of Jesus, God the Son; or a friend of God, possibly referring to the Trinity. The Trinity is a mystery, God is One: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
So, I asked God to help me to revere Him like I used to, when I was younger. In case I was becoming too comfortable in my relationship with Him. Earlier this September, I began to read the book of Jeremiah. I feel as if the Bible is coming more alive to me. I can’t explain it. Anyway, as I read about the terrible turning from God by the Israeli people way back in the day, following the pagan gods from their neighbors, I felt dread rise up in me.
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.)
The prophet, Jeremiah, called from his youth to be a voice for God to the people of Israel, heard God say that He planned Jeremiah’s life before He placed him in his mother’s womb. God warned him that it is not an easy thing to be a prophet to people who don’t want to hear, but that God would always be with him.
One of the things that the kings and priests and people of Judah did, that infuriated God: they threw their children into fire to appease a false god. I went to a Pregnancy Care Center fundraising event this year. The speaker told us America has killed 68 million babies, with the highest percentage of them being of African American heritage. God hates abortion. God hates divorce. God hates homosexuality. God doesn’t abhor the persons performing the sins, but the actions that invite further degeneration of morals and behaviors.
If you read the book of Jeremiah, it is filled with warnings and people ignoring the prophet. “Then the Lord said to me,” from the lips of this Seer from God caused reactions: mocking from other knowledgeable religious types, beatings from people in authority, being thrown in jail without much food and in terrible conditions, and occasionally, being sought out to hear what else God had to say, with a reward for Jeremiah’s faithfulness.
Throughout all of the book of Jeremiah, after describing God’s wrath and what he intended to do to the king and the false prophets and the religious leaders who led people astray: famine, pestilences, and death by the sword; God would say, “Turn from your evil ways and I will forgive you and take you back as my children.”
When God says He’s going to do something, He does it. 68 million beautiful babies, formed in their mother’s wombs never saw the light of day. God had a plan and a purpose for each and every one of those little boys and girls. Before they drew their first breath, they experienced a painful death and their mothers suffered afterwards. Read the reports. Women suffer from depression, breast cancer, and guilt. Probably more ill effects on their person and on their relationships. Blatant sin hurts a nation. So, not only have I rediscovered my fear of God, but I fear for my country.
What keeps me from anxiety and depression? The many times God told Jeremiah to tell the people to turn to God, to repent of their wicked ways, to humble themselves and then God would heal their land. I notice that what I’m contemplating, I focus on.
As I read of the Babylonians conquering the countries all around the Middle East and including Israel, I pray for America. Sometimes, I pray for Canada because I have cousins that live there. Both Canada and America used to be God-fearing nations with a Christian-Judea heritage. The countries prospered; families thrived. I remember those days.
Then, in the early 1960’s, prayer got removed from the public schools, and society’s values began to shift. As a young girl, I watched and listened to the rising tide of anger and violence and rebellion in my own neighborhood.
I’m glad I found God in my teen years. Or, rather, He found me and somehow got through to me that this is the way to walk and live, with Jesus as my anchor, my Savior and yes, my friend. Proverbs tells me the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Fear is a respect for God and a reminder of His just punishment on earth, and for eternity if we reject Him.
I hope you’ll wake up to what you are focusing on. Is God evident at all in your life? I check myself at times when I get busy with gardening and family and entertainment and cares of this life. It takes discipline, but when I turn from reading a book or watching television or scrolling online, and open my Bible and connect with God, I am a much happier person. Even when I’m reading about dying to self or being loving and kind when I don’t feel like it, I feel better inside. When my focus is on God and others and less on me, I sense a fulfillment that makes life worthwhile.
May God bless you and encourage you in these troubling times.