“Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” – Psalm 2:11
“Rejoice with trembling”? Doesn’t that seem like sort of an oxymoron? I mean think about it, how can you rejoice (def. “To feel joyful; be delighted”) with trembling (def. “To feel fear or anxiety”)? Actually, it’s pretty simple.
Ever ridden a roller coaster? There you are, strapped into an itty bitty seat somewhere in the middle of a couple of tons of metal, being hurled around from one unnatural angle to another at speeds that God surely never intended man to experience. You are literally mere inches away from disaster at any given moment, from a restraint giving way and launching you into empty space, from a wheel or track getting dislodged and slamming the whole pile into the ground, or at the very least from throwing up all over your nice new jacket. And yet, in the midst of all this potential for calamity, you are thrilled. You are having a blast. In fact, you are so excited that all you can probably say is “woooooo!”
But maybe this isn’t you at all. No, maybe you, in fact, are one of the many people that have a genuine fear of roller coasters, a terror that prevents you and others like you from riding them at all. It’s the fear of the unknown, of the dangerous, of the lack of control. It’s the fear that something could go wrong and you would be trapped and damaged and hurt and maybe even killed, and it keeps you out of the line and off of the ride.
So how to we relate this to God? Simple. God Himself is awesome. He is holy and other-worldly and great and powerful. The Bible speaks of His vengeance on the wicked, of the “great and terrible day of the Lord”, and of His perfect justice by which all must account for their deeds. Sort of like the roller coaster, He is unpredictable, far stronger than we, and capable of unimaginable danger. But here’s the thing, sort of like the roller coaster, we have been given something that not only keeps us safe from harm, but draws us closer to the danger and lets us feel the exhilarating rush of a life and a love way beyond the petty things we think we can control. We have a protector. We have a Savior.
Those who love roller coasters can tell you that they can rejoice at the same time as feeling the trembling of danger and excitement, because they know and trust the safety of the restraints. Similarly, when we come and voluntarily give ourselves to Jesus, letting Him be the Lord of our lives, we can rejoice in the awesome power and might and justice of God Almighty, still having a trembling respect for Him, because we know and trust the One who holds us in His hand and will never let us go. Through Jesus, we can draw close to God and live in the exhilarating flow of a life and a love way beyond the petty things we think we can control.
So, what are you waiting for? Strap in. Come to Jesus. Find a life of fear and joy that blows everything else away.