Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor. – Psalm 128:1-2a (NIV)
I have been reading quite a bit about “fearless women.” When women step forward, at great personal risk, to share stories that are critical to the nation’s self-awareness, they are often described as “fearless.”
I wonder about this.
The “personal risk” I mention might include seeking—with or without receiving it—witness protection. It could mean running, begging, for the funds needed to increase security protocols for themselves or their families. It could mean losing friends and family who do not understand the reasoning behind their brave stances.
What could drive this courage?
I cannot speak to their motivations, though I applaud them.
Perhaps the question we should ask isn’t: How are they not afraid?
Perhaps we should ask: Who do they fear the most?
God has spoken. God has commanded. And we are mandated to fear God before anyone else. The fear of God is meant to pivot, immediately, to the love of God. To the reception of the mercy of God. To the gratitude for the intervention of God. To trusting God’s ultimate power over any human’s temporal power—whatever pain that temporal power could wield.
My suggestion to all of us who wonder about this world-changing courage? To all of us who view these fearless women as some form of superhuman superhero unbothered by the things that might terrify the rest of us?
You don’t need to live fearlessly. Being afraid could save your life.
Instead? Focus on the fruits. For the One far more powerful than any of them blesses the fruits of your living love.
Blessed are the fruits of your love, O God. Prosper them over our fears. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.