Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear

by Max Lucado
Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009

The title of Max Lucado’s latest book is a powerful one. “Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear.” One reads that and thinks, “Wow, that would be nice. It’s not possible, but it would be a great thing if it were only true.” After all, there is so much to fear. Every day the news media tells us of all of the threats to our very existence and way of life. Lucado acknowledges that fear. He understands that we are all very much afraid and does not make light of it or dismiss it. Rather, he encourages us to lean on the One who tells us not to fear. As Lucado tells us, “The Gospels list some 125 Christ-issued imperatives. Of these, 21 urge us to ‘not be afraid’ or ‘not fear’ or ‘have courage’ or ‘take heart’ or ‘be of good cheer.’ The second most common command, to love God and neighbor, appears on only eight occasions. If quantity is any indicator, Jesus takes our fears seriously. The one statement he made more than any other was this: don’t be afraid.”

Lucado explores the very real fears that we do have and offers God’s word to help allay those fears. He examines the fear of not being worth anything, the fear of disappointing God, of not having enough, of not protecting one’s children, of facing challenges, of violence, of death, and fearing that maybe our faith is all for nothing, that maybe there really isn’t a God at all. Through it all, Lucado does not sugarcoat the reality of life. Perhaps that is the most refreshing quality of this book. He does not promise that all will be well simply if we believe in Jesus. He knows that is not the case. True believers still encounter all the evil that the world has to offer. What Lucado does do is encourage readers to lean on God through it all, to give Him our fear and trust that God knows what He is doing. Lucado writes, “real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph. Yes, life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of my friends likes to say, ‘Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.’” He maintains that difficulties have a different purpose when viewed from an eternal perspective. “What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next.” He compares this world to life in our mother’s womb. A lot of things were going on there that no doubt made no sense to us and served no real purpose in utero. Yet, they existed for life in this world. The same will hold true for what we encounter now and life in the next. We have no need to fear. We are in good hands.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

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