Seeing the whole picture
Merged within the word yirah are two human experiences that are linked in the Hebrew but separated in English. One is fear. But the biblical concept of Yirah has many different meanings. Two definitions are “awe” and ”reverence”, but other meanings still need to be tied in, in order to have a working definition of Yirah, such as ”fear”, ”wonder”, “appreciation”, “gratitude”, and “humility”. Yirah can even be better defined as “Wow! This universe is amazing!” Yirah is taking a step back and getting a sense of the whole picture. It is feeling grateful towards God for all the wonder of life from the changing colour of a leaf to the birth of a baby. Yirah suggests a general attitude that can be present in us all the time. It is present when we pray, but it can also be present when we appreciate all that is around us. We can experience Yirah when we take the time to notice the order and intricacy involved in any and all of God’s creation. The fact that we, as individuals, exist at all is amazing. Psalm 139:14 explains it well: ”I praise You, for I am awesomely, wondrously made; Your work is wonderful; I know it very well.” The universe is a vast place, and our understanding about it is minimal. Invite someone to take a closer look at Christ and his church.