PASTOR'S PEN: A terrifyingly amazing experience

I was watching a video of a bow hunter kneeling down in the brush with his bow fully drawn. He had his sights set on a huge bull moose. It was close by, but behind several trees and kept closing in on the hunter. There were several points I would have been tempted to run or climb a tree, but the hunter remained steady with his arrow focused on the target. Toward the end, the moose turned showing a perfect view of his side. The hunter let loose and the arrow went into the moose and it ran off, certainly to be tracked down and somehow dragged out. After all of this, the camera zoomed onto the hand of the hunter. It was trembling and his voice was shaky. This terrifyingly amazing experience had left this man in awe of what had just happened.

You have probably had an experience that simply took your breath away. Perhaps, like that hunter, it was a scary experience, but one that was also amazing at the same time. I think this will be the experience when we see Christ face to face. It will be a fearful, yet awe-inspiring experience. We will fear, knowing that we are sinners standing before a holy God much like Isaiah when he called out, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips ... For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Or take, for example, the disciples who saw Jesus at the transfiguration and heard the voice of God from a cloud. We’re told "…they fell facedown to the ground, terrified."

Yet in both instances there was a comforting voice. In Isaiah’s case his lips were touched with a live coal from the altar and he was told, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." The disciples, as they lay in fear, were touched by Jesus Himself and told, "Get up. Don’t be afraid." There was fear, yet they would each end their encounter with a sense of amazement.

As we think of this experience, note a few things. First, only those who personally know Christ will be able to have their fear removed. Those who do not know Christ will spend eternity in fear, separated from God. (Acts 4:12, Revelation 20:15)

Secondly, if you do know Christ, then knowing He will turn your fear to amazement at His forgiveness should cause you to act. 1 John 3:3 says "Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, just as He is pure." If you recognize how fearful it will be to stand before God as a sinner and how amazing his forgiveness will be, then you ought to live differently.

Live as one who has had a terrifyingly amazing experience. Live in purity.

*Above accounts found in Isaiah 6:1-7 & Matthew 17:1-8