Book Review:: Fearless by Max Lucado

Imagine your life without fears.  It seems impossible with the threats gripping humans here on planet Earth—terrorist attacks, bullies, illness, accidents, and so on.  Fears are only as limited as one’s imagination and those with active imaginations can fear all day and all night.  Best-selling author Max Lucado’s book, Fearless (Thomas Nelson), seeks to put a rein on those fears by helping readers to focus on God.  Lucado says that fear corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness.

It all stems from something that helps protect us from harm—our fight or flight instinct.  As humans, we run away from danger as adrenaline courses through our bodies.  Lucado says that fear drove Eve to eat of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because she was afraid that God was holding out on her.  Her momentary doubt coupled with Adam’s led to the fall of man.  Since that day in the Garden, man has been grasping at that perceived loss of control.

Lucado lays a basic groundwork for dealing with immediate fears with eight steps that include making a worry list, praying over said list, and so on.  Then he details how to deal with specific fears—fear of not mattering, disappointing God, running out, not protecting children, overwhelming challenges, worst-case scenarios, violence, death, “coming winter,” and what’s next.  While these chapters offer a launching point, they fail to offer real meat to the discussion of fear.  Sure, the Bible verses and spiritual encouragement might help an anxious person, but Lucado’s explanations are oversimplifications of a very deep problem.  If only it was as easy as trust God, read some Scripture, pray, and you’ll be OK, if only.

Fearless frustrated me because despite digging at the root of fear (lack of trust in God and His promises), Lucado’s expositions were shallow and oversimplified.  Lucado is a pastor, skilled in the use of Scripture and story-telling, but he is not a counselor (though he may be called to counsel on occasion). While he dug into the depths of Scripture, he didn’t examine the psychological and somatic reactions of anxiety/fear.  Without medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy, some will put their trust in God and yet still feel adrenalin rushes that defy explanation.  These are not so easily explained away, which is why Fearless comes up short.

Amy’s Rating:: 3 out of 5 stars

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