What is it in the human heart that attracts many to extreme sports? We all desire an awesome feeling of fear. Inside every single one of us is a desire to feel truly alive.
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest…
21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, (Heb 12:18-22)
Over the last few decades we have commercialized this deep desire in us all. Jumping out of airplanes, scuba diving, roller coaster riding, or name any other thrill seeking adventure is a pursuit of this elusive tremedous mystery we call “thrill.”
We seek the excitement of fear. Fear, we hope, will make us feel the risk and joy of feeling truly alive.
Rudolf Otto called it, “Mysterium tremendum et fascinans” or the fearful and fascinating mystery. The encounter with the beyond that is both terrifyingly awesome yet stunningly fascinating.
A very good way to describe this fascinating mystery is the word numinous. C.S. Lewis described it as a feeling utterly different than fear. Fear he said is the feeling we get when we are told that the adjacent room with the door ajar contains a tiger. Numinous is the feeling we get when we are told that there is ghost or spirit in the room next door.
Let’s recover the wonder of fear as we tremble before the majesty of divinity. It is this quivering that is not fearful, only awesome. True wonder inspired fear will make us feel truly alive. The encounter will be awesome indeed. We need Someone other than ourselves to breathe life into us. That is why Jesus breathed on his disciples saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”(John 20:22)