“True nobility is exempt from fear.” ~William Shakespeare
I stumbled across this quote a couple days ago. I almost blew right past it, but it managed to catch a thread on the edge of my heart before it disappeared.
There was a quiet stirring inside me – a whispering, “Do you know that you are noble – far more so than any king or princess? Do you believe you are exempt from fear?”
I love this translation of 1 Peter 2:9-10 from J.B. Phillips:
“But you are God’s “chosen generation”, his “royal priesthood”, his “holy nation”, his “peculiar people”—all the old titles of God’s people now belong to you. It is for you now to demonstrate the goodness of him who has called you out of darkness into his amazing light. In the past you were not “a people” at all: now you are the people of God. In the past you had no experience of his mercy, but now it is intimately yours.”
I heard J.P. Moreland say something at a conference years ago, and it has stuck with my fickle heart like superglue: “Belief is anything you hold to be true more than 50% of the time.” THANK YOU, Dr. Moreland, for the immense grace of those words. They have saved me from despair on many occasions.
For I DO hold to be true (a little over 50% of the time) that I am a daughter to God. He has shown me, especially in the past couple of years, that he is intricately involved in particular moments, in my almost magical experience of His creation, in His unique provision for my complicated self. I have even captured a handful of these “moments” with my camera. Here is one from a morning when I felt a spiritual compulsion (as close as I get to a voice from heaven) to stay out of my warm bed because something was waiting just for me – a moment in space and time to which I would be the only human witness.
What was Shakespeare was thinking when he wrote the word “exempt”? It reminded me of today’s ultra-rich – the multi billionaires, the handful of humans who live in a world without borders, without rules, the “untouchables”. From a physical sense, they have little to fear compared to the rest of us. Maybe that’s Shakespeare’s reasoning – the “haves” need not wonder if there will always be a next meal, whereas the “have nots” spend each day enslaved to ensuring it.
EXEMPT – to free from an obligation or liability to which others are subject
And God is telling me that my status has permanently, eternally shifted from the “have nots” to the “haves” column. I cannot do a single terrible thing to move into my old column. When Paul tells us “be anxious for nothing” in Philippians, it is because he knows God has given us an EXEMPTION from fear.
I can still refuse to live out the truth of my new identity, scrounging through life for the love, security and approval that already belongs to me. How crazy is it for me to live that way? It’s as if someone payed off my mortgage, but I still send the check to the bank every month. Only a very disturbed, sad person would do that.
I will try to act more like a princess and remember that God’s peace that surpasses all understanding (also Philippians) is available to me every moment. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop sending that spiritual mortgage check.