Everything I fear and dread . . .”

Everything I fear and dread comes true.  I have no peace, no rest,and my troubles never end.” (Job 3:25-26)

It’s a full-blown winter morning where I live as I write this.  The ground is covered with about an inch of snow with more predicted for later today.  The temperature is around 31 degrees with a wind-chill that makes it feel more like 23 degrees.  Ouch!  The weather prognosticators had been predicting this for days but it wasn’t until late Monday afternoon when I took this picture that I began to feel the reality of their educated guesses begin to sink into my bones.  As the dark clouds began to stretch across the beautiful blue sky like a heavy blanket of doom, I began to dread the storm their presence foretold. 

Dread can be a powerful emotion directing and choreographing much of the dance of our lives if we allow it.  Like many emotions, dread can control not just how we feel (drowning the possibility of feeling and sharing other emotions) but can also control how we think.  I guess a little dread was a good thing because it motivated me to make a trip to the grocery store before the storm was predicted to start.  When dread takes over our feeling and thinking life becomes a pretty depressing experience.  Dread was the predominant emotion for Job when he said, “Everything I fear and dread comes true.” 

Negative, powerful emotions like dread change our thinking by causing us to make sweeping generalizations that we then begin to accept as our reality.  Look at the words I’ve underlined in the quote from Job: Everything I fear and dread comes true.  I have no peace, no rest, and my troubles never end.”  When emotions like dread take control they seem to allow these sort of “all-or-nothing” words to slip into our vocabulary and control our thinking.  The next thing we know, we begin to think and live like they’re really true.  Ever caught yourself saying these sort of things?  More than once I’ve caught myself in these sort of situations, but now I’ve learned to be on the watch and challenge myself when I hear them come out of my mouth.  When I catch myself and challenge that sort of thinking, I’m reminded that God’s hope, not dread has the final say in my life so I change my words in order that Job’s quote coming from my mouth would sound something more like this: “Sometimes what I fear and dread comes true.  Sometimes it can feel like I don’t have peace, rest, and that my troubles will never end — but they will.” 

The book of of Job in the Bible is a complicated story that seems to explore the nature of pain and suffering in the context of our relationship with God.  It raises important questions about the nature of suffering, the origins of suffering, and God’s relationship with us in the presence of suffering.  Like I said, it’s complicated, but for the purposes of this brief endeavor allow me to simply say that the book ends with God’s hope ruling the day.  Job and God wrestle through the suffering, but God’s hope prevails and God’s relationship with Job is sustaining and enduring.  I pray that when suffering is impending or present I will seek God’s hope over dread as the prevailing force in my life.  How about you?

Hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving!

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.


Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on November 27, 2013.

One Response to “Dread”

  1. Thank you, Gary. Needed that one today!

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