Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: Fearless

"Imagine your life without fear." That's the tag line from the latest book by author and pastor Max Lucado. In Fearless, Lucado draws you in with that invitation and delivers a very thoughtful book and doing just that.

In 15 chapters, the author discusses fearful subjects from "Fear of Not Mattering" (in a very Dr Seussical manner) to "Fear of Overwhelming Challenges." He covers fears like Violence, Worst Case Scenarios, and Not Protecting My Kids. Lucado also covers some spiritual fears such as Disappointing God, What Comes After This Life, What if God is Not Real.

In each chapter, Lucado draws on Scripture as well as his own life experiences to unpack the fears and to show how God has provided for us. The author, being the good pastor that he is, brings Biblical truth from everyday situations and people and complements it with verses and stories from the Bible. In discussing "Fear of Worst Case Scenarios", the author ties in an illustration of two young girls jumping into the pool to their Dad with Jesus in the garden at Gesthemane and on the cross at Golgotha with words from Yann Martel's bestselling book "Life of Pi."
[The] sister jumps. Not with foolish abandon, but with belief in the goodness of a father's heart and trust in a father's arms. Such was the choice of Jesus. He did more than speak about fear. He faced it.
The decisive acts of the gospel drama are played out on two stages - Gesthemane's garden and Golgatha's cross. Friday's cross witnessed the severest suffering. Thursday's garden staged the profoundest fear.

Lucado goes on to point out that in Mark's gospel, he used the word for horror meaning "used of a man who is rendered helpless, disoriented, who is agitated and anguished by the threat of some approaching event." That is to say, Jesus knew fear and faced it down as we all should - by giving ourselves over to God's will "with belief in the goodness of a father's heart and trust in a father's arms."

We should go to our Heavenly Father in prayer, as Jesus did, and turn over the fears to Him. Here Lucado borrow's from Martel's character Pi in saying that we should address our fears specifically when praying. As Pi fights his fears he realizes that he can "shine the light of words upon" his fears and remove much of the power it has over him. Doing this in prayer stands the fears in front of God where they lose all power.

All in all, I think this book is a good read. The author digs into some pretty heady areas of life and doesn't back down. What I come away with, however, is that it takes more than a book like this to really help people with their fears. Where this book helped me the most was in pointing out that my fears grow and strengthen when they are left alone. When no one else knows about them. The advice to take my fears to God is good advice but it can seem very hollow coming from a book written by someone I don't know.

Only when I take this advice and bring it into my community of faith along with bringing the fears to God, does it become very real to me. By sharing my fears, and my faith, with others and by seeing how God has worked in their lives, I can get my feet planted on the solid rock of God again. And I can even start helping others with their fears from that position as well.

Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to tell you that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in return for publishing my review.


Jeff Brame said...

Well written insight bro! Thanks for the words I needed to hear today!

Bubba said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. Glad the post was inspiring for you.

The book has a lot of inspirational parts to it but in the end, it's just a book. I believe it takes sharing life with others to get past the very real fears we all have.

Have a great day, brother!

Anonymous said...

Wow all I can say is that you are a great writer! Where can I contact you if I want to hire you?