“In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and he leaves his children a support. The commandment of the Lord is a fountain of life; and it causes men to turn aside from the snare of death.” (Prov 14: 26-27, Septuagint-translation)
“Fear” is a life-giving, God-given gift, essential for survival. It is an evolved capacity in the human being, so science tells us. But like other God-given gifts and drives, which I inherently have as a human being, fear becomes harmful to me when it is divorced from God; when it is not “of God” and takes on a life of its own. Inherent, human fear in a life not God-focused is crippling, existential anxiety in the face of the many uncertainties and ambivalences that are part-and-parcel of any human life.
“In the fear of the Lord,” I am reminded as I begin the fifth week of Lent, “is strong confidence.” I “fear” losing my connection with Him and focus on Him, the Source of love, wisdom, and forgiveness of my sins, and this “fear of the Lord” liberates me from merely-human fears, of financial insecurity, of human opinion, of loneliness, and so on. “I walk the line” He sets out before me today, in the situations, work, and relationships I am given in my particular vocation, or “commandment of the Lord.” So let me do the next right thing today, according to His call, – that is, according to my immediate responsibilities. Let my vocation be what it is meant to be today, “a fountain of life,” which causes me “to turn aside from the snare of death.”