Delight--The Antidote for Dread


"Are you in a hurry?" my daughter asked.

It probably always showed. When I had a certain type of responsibility to fulfill, some unsettledness stirred up within me and any stillness I had known within was trampled by it.

Around that particular time we had spent a lot of time discussing "What Would Jesus Do?" Therefore, I naturally brought the question into my contemplation of why I was like this. "Jesus certainly didnít approach responsibility the way I do," I acknowledged. Then, probably for the first time, it occurred to me that I shouldnít have to live the rest of my life this way, that He probably had something better for me.

Over the next several days God proceeded to take hold of the end of this thread and unravel for me what had been going on in my soul. One of His first moves was to send a friend. As she prayed with me she said she sensed that something like a leech was attached to my soul. Later as I read Romans 7, I was reminded of her words. Verse 17 says, "As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me." And verse 20 says, "Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." But what particular sin was it? What was the leechís name?

My friend and I happened to be on a long car trip together after that and we had plenty of time to delve deeper into this. Eventually, through our conversation, I realized that the sin--the leech--was dread. It was a dread-bug! (I like for everything to have an appropriate and memorable name.)

A memory the Spirit had brought back to me during this time was of myself in seventh grade tossing a ball with my friend Debbie in her yard and kind of chanting over and over to myself "I hate responsibility." What prompted this chant, and the reason I know it was seventh grade, was that I was on the student council for part of that year and I was given some responsibility to fulfill. I donít remember what it was exactly, maybe being in charge of decorating the school lobby for Christmas. When I thought about this memory I wondered if at the point of being given that responsibility--because I didnít know I could turn to God for help and, instead, thought I had to rely on myself--I had made a place for the "dread-bug" to enter my life. I had to admit that, although I hadnít refused to take on responsibilities since that time, those types of things always carried with them a dread factor for me.

Another thread of truth--this time one that Jesus was weaving into my life around that time--was that He wanted me to delight in Him. He had indicated to me that when I felt my delight in Him waning, I should take heed because that was an indication that the evil one was coming to "steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10). Considering His warning I guess it is not surprising that a time came that my delight in Him did wane. Instead of waking in the night and smiling in my heart at the thought of Him, I would start thinking about the day, things to do, people, conversations...

One evening, on the way to my daughterís winter choir concert, I realized a song was in my mind.

"Oh, itís so nice to be with You,

I love all the things You say and do;

And itís so nice to hear You say

Youíre gonna be with me all the way.

Jesus, I got the notion,

Youíre causiní commotion in my soul."

As I sang this to Jesus, all my delight in Him came flooding back! Pondering what had happened I began to realize that my singing of "recycled" love songs to Him was a major way He had shown me to delight in Him.

Here was where the Holy Spirit caught the two threads--the delight thread and the dread thread--and tied them together for me. When my childhood, with the natural delight and carefree-ness of it, was drawing to a close, I didnít know that Jesus had another kind of delight--a delight in Him--to accompany me the rest of my lifetime. It was at this crucial juncture of child to adult when Satan, the anti-Christ, planted within me the anti-delight, which is dread. But there was, and is, an antidote to Satanís dread, and that is Jesusí delight! At that very stage in my life when Satan was putting the chant "I hate responsibility" into my mind, Jesus was giving me this "talent" for remembering song lyrics. I had always wondered whatever use this talent was to anyone! Now I knew. Jesus was giving it to me to use to delight in Him. He had seen to it that all along I had had within me the antidote for dread.

The follow-up to revelation is always discipline. It became my responsibility to combat dread with delight. What a delightful duty!