The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. — Prov. 19:23
The “fear” Solomon referenced in this passage was not a matter of being afraid, but of reverence for the holiness and wonder of God. So, if we purpose to honor and respect God in His limitless, supernatural capacity, does that mean we will truly be untouched by trouble? What if we have tried that, but our lives still seem plagued?
Jesus addressed this situation most eloquently when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33.
Our reverence of God does not inoculate us from trouble. In fact, sometimes it is our calling in Christ that puts us face-to-face with trouble. Jesus is saying that in Him, there is a way through whatever tribulation we face, without sacrificing our peace.
That seems to be more easily said than done. Fear – being afraid – is usually a reflex response to encountering anything really difficult/threatening/stressful. Peace is the furthest thing from our reality. If the Lord would simply change the situation with a parting-the-Red-Sea miracle, the path would be unobstructed, dry, and safe. Then, there would be peace.
This kind of instant gratification where we dictate to God how we would like for Him to manage things that traumatize us, is actually not in our best interests. Instead, Jesus is desirous of growing us up in Him. Our dependence must be on the person of our Savior, not on the things He does – a big distinction that is so subtle for many of us, that we don’t make the distinction.
Focusing on Him leads us to the Truth of His character. But that process inevitably leads to some hard questions: Do I really trust the only One Who is completely trust-worthy? Do I understand He will NEVER leave me or forsake me, even when I feel utterly alone? Is He truly doing the most loving thing for me when it looks like my life is crumbling around me? Do I really believe I am so important to Him that He knows the number of hairs on my head, although it appears He is not listening to my prayers?
God is not troubled by our questions, and eagerly awaits the opportunity to show us the answers. When we seek Him in this way, we WILL find Him. The affirmation of His work in us comes unexpectedly, when we realize our hearts are peaceful and secure in Him in the midst of trouble.