The Fear of God

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last and Living one.

— Revelation 1:17-18

When a man’s evil is burned away, that is when the man yields his self and returns to his lord and God; and that is when that which, before, he was aware of only as burning, he will feel as love, comfort, strength—an eternal, ever-growing life in him. If then any child of the Father finds that he is afraid before him, that the thought of God is a discomfort to him, or even a terror, let him make haste—let him not linger to put on any garment, but rush at once in his nakedness, a true child, for shelter from his own evil and God’s terror, into the salvation of the Father’s arms.

When John saw the glory of the Son of Man, he fell at his feet as one dead. Why was he overcome with terror? Why was he, who had borne witness to his resurrection and suffered for his sake, afraid? The glory that he saw, the head and hair pouring from it such a radiance of light that they were white as wool, was but the radiant splendor of the Father, which should have taken from him all fear. “He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last, and the living one.” Fear cannot stand before strength; the one and only safety in the universe is the perfect nearness of the Living One! Oh, the joy, to be told, by Power itself, that the cure for trembling is the presence of Power. He told his servant Paul that strength is made perfect in weakness; here he instructs his servant John that the thing to be afraid of is weakness, not strength.