The fear of the Lord leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Prov 19:23
So what does it mean to have “fear of the Lord?” The phrase shows up more than 300 times in Scripture and it is usually not a negative, but a positive thing. For example in Genesis 42:18, Joseph wins his brothers' trust when he declares he is a God-fearing man. It was because the midwives feared God that they obeyed him instead of the authorities by sparing the Hebrew babies (Exodus 1:17). Pharaoh brought disaster on his nation because he did not fear God (Exodus 9:29:31).
And in the New Testament Jesus calls his followers to rightly fear God. "Do not be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). And the apostle Paul says to work toward complete holiness because we fear God (2 Corinthians 7:1).
So fearing God is not about dreading him as much as humbly acknowledging his power and authority over all. And that includes all my struggles from the past and anxiety about the future. Knowing God’s in the house should transform haphazard worship into genuine praise. It should make us think twice before caving into temptation, or daring to call our sins mere “mistakes.” There is a blessed peace in knowing Someone far greater than me is still in control.
Genelle Guzman found that out 16 years ago today. She was the last person pulled out alive from the World Trade Center. She had become a Christian just a few months before. And knowing God as her Lord and Savior really came in handy. On the day of the attack, Genelle was caught on the 64th floor of the North Tower. She somehow found the nearest stairs and started running down. She didn’t make it. The building collapsed on her.
Prayer was new to her, but Genelle just began to speak to God. She remembers asking, “Please God, show me that you’re here with me. Show me that you’re listening.” As she prayed, an unusual calm flooded her body and she fell asleep. Some 27 hours later, she heard voices. She screamed as loud as she could, “I’m here! HEY, I’M RIGHT HERE!"
Genelle wedged her hand through a crack in the wall, and felt someone grab it. She heard a voice say, "I’m Paul, Genelle, I’ve got you," and Genelle said, "OH GOD, THANK YOU.”
It took 20 long minutes to pull her out. BUT HERE’S THE FUN PART. As Genelle was taken to the hospital, she asked to see Paul to tell him thanks. No one knew of a rescue worker by that name. No one saw him or anyone holding her hand. To this day, Genelle believes God responded to her prayer with an angel – one who helped her somehow rest in the horrific darkness.