What does the person who has everything fear most?
“What I feared has overtaken me,” says Job, “what I dreaded has come upon me” (3:25 tr. Jewish Publication Society). As a man who has everything, what does Job fear most? Is it the loss of his businesses? his employees? his health? or his children? He may well have worried himself about those potential disasters. He earlier seeks his children’s sanctification through regular sacrifices on their behalf, lest they entertain a thought to curse God. That, he fears, could bring ruin. We can understand Job’s fear.
In Chapter three, Job identifies “trouble” and “turmoil” (3:10, 26 NIV) to explain why he curses his life and wants to die. In v. 10, “trouble” means miserable conditions, Job’s word for his losses of businesses, employees, health, and children. Watching the movie Angela’s Ashes, I was impressed with scene after scene of drenching rain, puddles, mud, and more rain. It seemed to me that to live in Ireland I would subject myself to miserable conditions. In v. 26, immediately following Job’s expression of fear, the word translated “turmoil” describes “chaos.” “No peace, no quietness, no rest,” he says. In a peaceful pastoral scene where the oxen plowed and donkeys grazed, in the first of four succesive disasters, attackers stole his animals and killed his employees (1:5). It turns out that Job’s big fear was chaos: uncontrollable disaster, destruction, and death.
Job speaks for us all. What do you fear most? The loss of your job, health insurance, and home? In today’s economy, such fears are realistic. My worst fear is that our expenses outrun our retirement income. What do you fear most?