It’s been an incredible joy to have Micah home with our family for the past two months. After finishing his gap year of emotional, spiritual, physical, mental and relational growth with Pais Australia, Micah returned home to South Africa to rest and regroup for a bit. The past two months have served as a time to reflect upon his life in southern Africa, too. John and I have encouraged Micah to think about and consider the blessings of living 14 years of his life here. Why? Because now, we are setting our sights on a new direction for Micah. He will be launching into university life in the United States in January.
John and I would love for Micah to experience a positive, fulfilling, and joyous time in the United States during this life-impacting season. We would be quick to tell you that we’d love Micah to have a future that is free of trouble, free of pain, and free of distress as well.
Is that possible?
There is a verse in Scripture, Proverbs 19:23 that holds this kind of promise. Let me share some different Bible translations of this verse to flesh out its full meaning. I wonder which one you will like the most?
The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
New International Version
The fear of the LORD leads to life, So, that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
New American Standard Bible
Showing respect to the LORD brings true life–if you do it, you can relax without fear of danger.
Contemporary English Version
Fear of the LORD leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.
New Living Translation
Fear-of-God is life itself,
a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises.
What’s the promise then?
If we demonstrate wise, Jesus-following living, this life-choice should lead to obvious-so-the-world-may-see blessing, soul- satisfaction, peace, and contentment.
If our Micah Man follows Jesus and leans upon him for his every need, Micah’s life will go well at university. And his mother shall have no reason to worry or fear.
Am I correct?
Yet, what if Micah does fear his God, and does his best to abide by the principles of godly living and something still goes wrong?
What happens if a health challenge arises and delays Micah from fulfilling his college aspirations?
What if all of Micah’s care, consideration, and hard work lead to not much of anything?
What if an accident or mishap, not of Micah’s making, occurs?
What happens if anxiety and worry choke-hold Micah’s mind and thoughts?
What about sin? Micah’s own decision to rely upon himself or someone else’s selfish choices could bring Micah trouble.
You know what?
All of us, on this big, bright, and beautiful earth have no guarantee that everything will go well for us in life – even if Scripture seems to promise it.
But what does the Scripture promise?
We see that the fear of the Lord is a reverential, obedient life of love and service which leads to soul satisfaction. It is a covenantal promise that when we seek our Lord for every aspect of our lives, the evil, misery, pain, injury, worry, and calamity we may experience on earth, will not and cannot separate us from the love God has for us – not now and not ever.
We can rest in His love – even when the difficult times come.
Indeed, there are important principles embedded in Proverbs 19:23 that will help Micah and our family to lean into and rest upon our God as this new season of life begins for us all.
Such a life of peace and contentment finds its strength and conviction with loving God – first and foremost. We can make declarations based upon this promise:
We seek to grow in intimacy in our relationship with Jesus, with God, the Father and the Holy Spirit.
We obey our God. We trust Him. We follow His leading.
We listen, learn and apply His truths from Scripture.
We are teachable.
We are humble.
We are respectful, honorable and kind.
We are honest.
We use our words with restraint.
We seek to be a voice of calm and reason.
We are even-tempered.
We choose knowledge and discretion over foolishness and impulsivity.
We are people of integrity – our word is our word and our actions back those words up.
We will make mistakes. And when we do, we admit our error in judgement and ask for forgiveness.
We learn from our mistakes and celebrate the lessons offered to us.
We seek wisdom.
We fear, honor and revere our God.
As we do our best to live into these God-given principles of life, fully-dependent upon our God in the process, Micah and our family will not be worn out. We will not be shattered by, we will not be consumed with, and we will not be broken to pieces when trouble comes.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
The pain and hardships of this world hurt. Their harmful strikes may cut deep. Our wounds may require significant time to heal. But even so, their misery and distress can not really touch us in light of eternity and the Kingdom to come! Our decision to live out a holy, reverential Jesus-centered life on this earth leads to a good, good, good, eternal life of favor and blessing.
And that is what we focus our hearts, our minds, and our eyes upon as we embrace this truth for Micah as he transitions to the United States and university life:
Fear of the LORD leads to life for Micah Man, bringing security and protection from harm.
This is a big deal, a big prayer, and a big hope for us as we launch Micah to university and our family returns to South Africa without him.
We will trust our God with our son.