Dominated By Dread Or Propelled By Desire?

“What the wicked dread will overtake them;

what the righteous desire will be granted.” (Proverbs 10:24, NIV)

“The nightmares of the wicked come true;

what the good people desire, they get.” (Proverbs 10:24, The Message)

I still remember how excited I would get on July 3 when I knew that the next day we would visit Aunt Ruth  and everyone would go to the river for playing with cousins, swimming, fishing and FOOD. Everyone should have the privilege, at least once in life, to sample Aunt Ruth’s campfire cooking.

In those days, my mother often struggled with depression and anger and one Fourth of July, she threatened to make us, kids stay home instead of going with daddy to Aunt Ruth’s. When you want to do something so bad, it’s like a knife in your 12-year old belly when you think you can’t do it.

Mama finally relented, and “a good time was had by all.”

Desire and dread are powerful forces that can pull us forward joyfully or cause our feet to drag in apprehension.

Job’s Fear

Job had a life that most dream of : beautiful family, riches, respect and position in the community, but something poisoned his enjoyment of his blessings.  In Job 3:25, we get a glimpse into Job’s mind. He had some mental suffering. “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”(NIV)   

He had a wonderful life,  partially soured by his dread that something might steal it away.

Dread tries to root out desire and hunker down in its place. Yes, it would be nice to have that or it would be wonderful if that happened. But, what if … and you never know … and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I might lose it all. What if I have a major illness or someone I love dies, or I don’t have enough money.

If you’re filled with dread you’ve lost something vital. Your desire is too weak.

Desire From God

The man who doesn’t desire isn’t as close to God as he should be. When you move close to His heart, you start to feel what He wants and you desire the same things.

I read a story about a barber who said that he sometimes knew what his client was thinking as he touched his hair. This was fiction (though you might think about this the next time your get your hair cut). It was like the clients thought rose up through his hair.

When you move close to God’s heart, He communicates what He feels and what He wants and you want that. Desire causes you to move, to go forward, to hope. Desire flavors monotone days with a taste of what’s coming. That taste pulls us fonwardward toward what we desire. There is a heavenly, “Come and get it!” in our heart.

One of the definition of dread is: “to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face…dread the future, dread telling him the truth, dread the thought of speaking in public.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary online)

Dread is wasted pain. If the thing you’re afraid of happens, you’ve already been living it. Did dread make you more apt to face it? And if it doesn’t happen, it already hurt you because you’ve been going over and over it in your mind! Every time you feel a bit of the pain that might happen if the thing you fear does happen.

You’ve already suffered whatever it was you were dreading several times over. Selah!

Seeing Catastrophe

Instead of rehearsing the possibility that something good is going to happen, dread rehearses what might go wrong.

Merriam Webster notes that some of the words that opposites of dread are: “anticipation, excitement, hope, hopefulness confidence, optimism, and sanguinity.”

But what if the bad stuff happens? Being let down is terrible. Yes, but it’s no worse than the misery of dreading constantly.

I went to the dentist the other day. The dentist said it was just a little procedure so I didn’t worry about it. It wasn’t pleasant and I was a bit irritated afterwards, but I lived. I’m glad I didn’t know what awaited me or I would have spent the  month before the appointment dreading it, which would have been as bad as the procedure.

Well, almost.

Treatment for dread (because it is a dread disease):

  1. Think through the voyage from where you are to where you desire to be. Look at the possibilities and gather facts to make a good choice. We’re not Alice in Wonderland, full of positive thoughts, happily tiptoeing into a minefield. Know what you want and think through the way there. Wisdom considers the pitfall and traps. But, at some point we have to quit figuring and start trusting or dreadful fear will eat us alive.
  2. Then, stop thinking about all the things that might go wrong. Begin to rehearse the joy that you will have when you get there. The voyage to the destination is often as exciting as arriving.
  3. Trust the Lord. Learn to know how He really is and you’ll trust Him even more. Get into His Word. Let your words, your songs, and your actions prove that you believe that person (you) who delights himself in the Lord will have the desires of his heart. (Psalm 37:4)
  4. Call on the Lord and he will give those things or people who try to destroy you something to dread, themselves.

“Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;

they never call on God.

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,

where there was nothing to dread.

God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;

you put them to shame, for God despised them.”

Ps. 53:4, 5), NIV


–>What is something you’ve been dreading lately?

–>How will you respond? Think about it. Now …

–>Think how it will be if things go as you hope. Praise God for a good outcome. Trust Him for the outcome and sing! Read His promises and say, “That’s for me.” Repeat those promises to yourself again and again.

Hmmm …

Someone noted that men often die shortly after retirement. We must have something that pulls us forward. We work towards something we want, and that thought gives us joy. That joy diffuses life into our being. We call that hope, or at least that’s the Biblical sense of hope.

People pout, I don’t have a reason to live. » Well, get one! If you don’t have a reason, plug into someone else’s and make theirs yours, too.

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