Healthy fear

A moose, a bolt of lightning, and God walk into a bar…

Well not really, but what do all three have in common? Well I’m glad you asked, for I am happy to tell you.

It is a good thing to have a healthy fear in some situations. Some fear is a healthy, normal and necessary emotional response. Healthy fear has been a critical component to keeping humans alive. Through healthy fear, we learn that certain behaviors, places, and things can be bad for us. It protects us from dangerous situations.

I have recently heard of several situations where some folks in Colorado did not have it, and they have regretted it.

We have approx 3000 moose in the state and some people see one and decide they have to touch it. Especially the little moose calves, even with the mama moose nearby. The best ones are folks who try to get a selfie of them petting the “cute little moose.” An adult moose can stand over 6 feet tall and weigh between 1080 to 1543 pounds. Their antlers can span over 6 feet. When harassed or startled by people or in the presence of a dog, a moose may charge. Like any wild animal, moose are unpredictable. They are most likely to attack if annoyed or harassed, or if approached too closely. A moose that has been harassed may vent its anger on anyone in the vicinity, and they often do not make distinctions between their tormentors and innocent passers-by. Moose are very limber animals with highly flexible joints and sharp, pointed hooves, and are capable of kicking with both front and back legs. Unlike other large, hooved mammals, such as horses, moose can kick in all directions including sideways. Therefore, there is no safe side from which to approach. However, moose often give warning signs prior to attacking, displaying their aggression by means of body language. Maintained eye contact is usually the first sign of aggression, while laid-back ears or a lowered head is a definite sign of agitation. If the hairs on the back of the moose’s neck and shoulders (hackles) stand up, a charge is usually imminent.

Colorado gets zapped by 500,000 lightning strikes every year. Colorado has seen 584 lightning casualties (fatalities and injuries) during the 39-year period from 1980 to 2019, with 99 deaths and 485 injuries.

“Think about the incredible power released by the forty million lightning bolts that strike the United States each year. In a fraction of a second, each lightning flash discharges one hundred million volts of electricity and thirteen thousand million horsepower, at a temperature five times hotter that the surface of the sun! Yet a single utterance from the lips of the Lord is far more potent that all the lightning in the eighteen hundred thunderstorms taking place at any given moment around the planet. “The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.” (Ps. 29:7 and ends with in v 11,) “the LORD gives strength and blesses me with peace.” (God’s Outrageous Claims by Lee Strobel)

Which leaves the Best One left in the joke above, God. That is the One we really need to have a healthy fear of. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 112. I was recently overwhelmed by the goodness of God, and knew I needed to dig deeper into the first verse, by looking up what it really means to fear God, in a healthy way.

“I Praise You Lord! For when I fear, revere, respect, honor, and trust in You I am blessed beyond expression. Yes, I am happy because I delight in doing Your commands.” (Ps. 112:1 [TLB]) (My expansion the word ‘fear’ in this verse.)

Fear- When the Bible refers to the “fear of the Lord,” it means having a deep respect, reverence and awe for God’s power and authority. Rather than causing someone to be afraid of God, a proper “fear of the Lord” leads one to love Him. (

Revere-To regard with deepest respect and awe; venerate; reverence; hold in great honor or high esteem.

Respect- To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem or admire

Honor- High respect, as that shown for special merit; recognition or esteem

Trust- Firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; confidence or reliance.

“He makes the laws of rain and a path for the lightning. He knows where wisdom is and declares it to all who will listen. And this is what he says to all mankind: ‘Look, to fear the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.” (Job 28:26-28 [TLB])

“My heart trembles at this. Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice. It rolls across the heavens and his lightning flashes out in every direction. Afterwards comes the roaring of the thunder—the tremendous voice of his majesty. His voice is glorious in the thunder. We cannot comprehend the greatness of his power.” (Job 37:1-5 [TLB])

“The lightning bolts are directed by his hand, and do whatever he commands throughout the earth.” (Job 37:12 [TLB])

“Do you know how God controls all nature, and causes lightning to flash forth from the clouds? Do you understand the balancing of the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill?” (Job 37:15-16 [TLB])

“How can men be wise? The only way to begin is by reverence for God. For growth in wisdom comes from obeying his laws.” (Ps 111:10 [TLB])

“For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom. Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding.” (Prov. 9:10 [TLB])

“How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord!” (Prov. 1:7 [TLB])

“A healthy fear of God will hold us in awe and do much to deter us from sin.” Charles R. Swindoll

“Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord—on all who obey him! Their reward shall be prosperity and happiness.” (Ps. 128:1-2 [TLB])

“He fulfills the desires of those who reverence and trust him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.” (Ps. 145:19 [TLB])

“But his joy is in those who reverence him, those who expect him to be loving and kind.” (Ps. 147:11 [TLB])

“Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best. He shall live within God’s circle of blessing.” (Ps 25:12-13a [TLB])

I want to live in the circle of God’s blessing. I want Him to teach me how to choose the best. I’ll bet you do too. Now I know that “survival of the fittest” originated with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, but in this case I feel it applies. If you have healthy fear, you will not want to walk your dog by a moose and take a selfie. If you have healthy fear, you have sense enough to come indoors when a lightning storm appears. If you have healthy fear, you live each day having a deep respect, reverence and awe for God’s power and authority.

The best summary comes from Solomon. The intro to the book of Ecclesiastes [TLB] states, “This difficult book displays the dark philosophy of one who sought to find peace apart from God, but in the end realized that only futility is to be found there. The only possible solution to life’s puzzle concludes the book: ‘Fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the entire duty of man.’ (12:13)”

For when we have healthy fear, we are the fittest, we will survive, and live in the circle of God’s blessing. Because after the lightning, the LORD gives strength and blesses me with peace. And I think that is the best ending to the joke I started this post with. Don’t you?

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19 thoughts on “Healthy fear

  1. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” (Philippians 2:12b) for “…It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) I agree with everything you say, although I think it will take some old fashioned Stephen King scary fear of God to bring some things back on the right track. Even then, just in the days of Noah… I do appreciate your words. Blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And I appreciate your words and agree some good old fashioned Stephen King scary is needed. Some of his movies still linger back in my mind. Glad I’m writing this in the daylight…And I guess that’s why we’re the light, shining into those dark and scary corners!


  2. Interesting reading, specially about the moose’s. As I grow up in very north of Scandinavian, moose’s was almost a part of the daily life. And I know for sure how scary they are. But on my last revisiting we went to the world first moose farm where they kept them since birth and you could pet term as well. I will write about it in my blog very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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