The Fear of God
I wrote in my previous story in this lovely blog of mine about the things I fear. What I didn't mention in the story is that I fear God as well. And to fear God isn't getting frightened of Him. (We can't see God anyway!) To fear God, as every reader of the Bible knows, is to shun evil.
Over the last four years since I became a true Christian (or, as a Jew would say, a godly man), I have come to fear God so much that I have shunned such evils as lying, cheating or taking advantage of others. Like there was a time two or three years ago when a supermarket cashier gave me excess change. I could easily have walked away with the excess change but because of my fear of God, I alerted the cashier and brought to her attention that she had given me excess change.
Then there was a time in 2017 when I found money hidden in one of the books my father had retrieved from our farmhand's room. (The farmhand had taken the books from our old wooden house and we suspected he was planning to sell them without our knowledge.) When I found the money in the book, I could have chosen to pocket it and keep it a secret. But because I feared God, I let my father know there was money in that particular book. I can't recall if I advised my father to find out whether the money belonged to the farmhand and give it to him if it was his but I tend to think that I did so.
And then there was a time this year when I received Ksh. 1,350 on my phone which had been sent to me by mistake via MPESA. The woman who had sent the money immediately called me and requested me to send back the money. (I could discern she wasn't a con-woman.) Because I feared God, I returned the money to her, of course after charging her a reasonable amount of money for using my time and energy.
Those are examples of how I have shunned evil because I fear God. And why do I fear God? Because I have this belief that if I shun evil, God will reward me with His blessings, keep me from danger and bestow me with favours. For as the Book of Ecclesiastes says, "To the man who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness."
I beseech you to also develop the fear of God as you go about your daily life. And for you to fear God, you must believe that He exists. One way that can lead you to believe in the existence of God is to observe nature and meditate on its wonders because as someone put it, nature is the living visible garment of God. Another way that can deepen your faith in the existence of God is to study the Bible and relate its messages to what you observe in life.
When I talk of studying the Bible as a way of deepening faith in God, I am reminded of an experience I had one time in the '90s when I was a boy. That time, I heard about the Biblical story of Samuel who had a voice calling him. Samuel thought it was a man named Eli calling him. But when he went to him, he learnt it wasn't Eli.
Samuel again heard a voice calling him and thought it was Eli. But when he went to him as he did the first time, it turned out it wasn't Eli talking to him. Eli then realized it must have been God calling Samuel, so he told Samuel if he heard a voice calling him again, he lets God speak. And sure, it was God who had been calling Samuel because when he heard a voice calling him again, Samuel replied, "Speak [God], for your servant is listening." God then spoke to Samuel.
That Biblical story had a strong impression on me when I first heard in the '90s. So strong was the impression that when I heard a voice calling me in my room at home on several occasions, thinking it was Uncle Ndonga calling me, I would believe it was God wanting to speak to me after Uncle Ndonga informed me it wasn't him who had been calling me.
My dear reader, that's how studying the Bible can deepen your faith in God. Believing in God will lead you to fear Him. And once you begin to fear God, all other fears (such as the fear of failure and of loss of loved ones) will diminish because you will have this assurance that God is in control. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on the fear of God, you might also enjoy another story I wrote about two months ago on "Growing Our Faith in God". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Things I Fear
In his book Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill lists six fears that keep people from succeeding in life: the fears of death, of ill-health, of poverty, of failure, of criticism and of loss of loved ones. I don't know about you but for me, I have suffered from two of those fears. There are times I have feared that my ageing parents might not live to see me walk down the aisle with my princess charming as it is my dream. There are also times I have feared being criticized.
When I talk of me fearing criticism, I particularly have in mind one experience I had in December 2015 when I wrote a series of stories about the challenges I was going through and shared the stories with people on Facebook and via email. A few of the people criticized me for boring them with my problems. Despite the criticism, I went ahead to pen another story of how I was striving to make use of my years but wasting my days yet it is the days that make the years. After I shared that story with people on Facebook and via email, I was seized by fear that some people would again criticize me harshly for belabouring the point of the problems I was facing. As a result of that fear, I kept away from Facebook and email for several days after I shared the story.
About a week later, I felt bold enough to check my email and Facebook accounts. And alas! I didn't come across any criticism in my notification messages. Instead, what I found were words of wise counsel and encouragement from friends and acquaintances. Like there was a lass named Agatha Wanjiru who had sent me Robin Sharma's The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari; she encouraged me to read it, which I did. And wow! I enjoyed the book so much that I felt like highlighting sentences in almost every page of the book.
Then there was David Mwakima, a friend of mine then at Harvard College, who had emailed me a well thought-out piece of advice on how I could make my days productive. He advised me to plan on what I would do the following day before retiring to bed at night.
Judging by those positive comments from friends and acquaintances, it seems my fear of criticism was unfounded. That leads me to believe my fear of loss of loved ones is also baseless.
Besides those two fears, I have also suffered from the following fears that Napoleon Hill didn't list in his book:
- Fear of darkness: I used to have this fear when I was a boy. Like one evening in the '90s as I was walking home, I broke into a run when it got dark before I reached home. I ran as fast as my little feet could carry me for fear of what could happen to me in the dark. These days, I am no longer afraid of darkness.
- Fear of depth: I realized I had this fear in 2014 when I was afraid of staring at the bottom of our borehole; a fear that some men I hired to cover the borehole didn't seem to possess.
- Fear of snakes: I have always feared snakes since I was a boy. Like there was a time in the '90s when I wailed loudly after I saw something that resembled a snake on a road leading to our home. My eldest brother Joe Kagigite came to my rescue by telling me the object wasn't a snake.
- Fear of heights: This is another fear I have always had since I was a boy. I vividly recall one time in the '90s when I got real scared of going down a staircase of a certain building in Nairobi where my father had an office. Although I can now use the staircase without feeling afraid, I still possess the fear of heights. Sometimes when I imagine myself stuck high up in a skyscraper, I feel a sensation running through my legs.
- Fear of getting sandwiched in between cars: I have developed this fear in recent years. During my daily walks to my hometown of Kiserian, I sometimes am afraid of walking past parked vehicles for fear that I might get crushed in between the parked vehicle and an oncoming car.
- Fear of being pressed to urinate while walking or travelling: This is another fear I have developed in recent years. The fear has led me to relieve myself before boarding a matatu. By the way, I only pee in toilets and latrines, not on fences or by the roadside.
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