One of the problems we have with our understanding of God is the language we use. Words like “power” carry particular connotations for us based on our personal experience.
When we think of people who have power, we know that they are capable of abusing that power.
When we think about the power of nature, we often think of destructive power, as we see in tornadoes or earthquakes.
But when we talk about the power of God, we use the word in a different context.
God’s power is God’s ability to accomplish his will in the world. We need not fear the power of God, because God is not only all-powerful, he is all-good.
His power working through us can accomplish amazing things in the world, if we are just open to it. We must acknowledge that we are powerless by ourselves so that God’s power can work in and through us.
It is essentially St. Paul’s experience of which he writes in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. In praying for relief from challenges in his ministry, he heard our Lord tell him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
We need not be afraid that God’s power will overwhelm us. Rather we should be excited that God wants to fill us with his grace and power so that we may become instruments of his will in the world.
Father Bryan Lowe, Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, Anniston
‘No fear in love...’
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, concluded that the whole duty of man was to fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl.12:13). In the Proverbs, Solomon wrote that the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov. 9:10)
God created us for fellowship with Him, so I don’t believe that He wants us to be scared of Him. I grew up being somewhat scared of God, because the old people said that God was watching me, and He would get me if I did wrong. I don’t remember anyone telling me that God loved me, and that He wanted to live in my heart.
The evidence of God’s power and love is Christ. God wants to gather the lost, heal the sick, reconcile the sinner and care for the poor. Jesus demonstrated God’s will to transform us into people who are moved by love and not by fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment, and the person who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16)
We’re able to love because God who is love first loved us, and He doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but He gives us power, love and a sound mind.
Bob McClain, Living by Faith Ministry, Oxford