Fear is the one frontier we vigorously explore; its boundaries will never be discovered. Toxic panic runs rampant.
"We fear being sued, finishing last, going broke; we fear the mole on the back, the new kid on the block, the sound of the clock as it ticks us closer to the grave," writes Max Lucado in his latest book Fearless.
Whether rational or irrational, we live in a world and a time in history that startles and alarms us. Author and pastor, Max Lucado writes to remind us that this is neither necessary nor productive. He doesn't chide or ridicule; Lucado pastors the reader.
You may think you're fearless. But, no doubt, Lucado will name some of your personal fears in his book. Fear of one thing or another creeps into every conversation we have. Fear is easy to talk about, but confusing to overcome. Lucado points out that Jesus took human fear seriously and made it a priority to teach his disciples about fear. Christ's language throughout the gospels is seasoned with phrases like "don't be afraid" and "take courage." He often told followers, "I tell you not to worry," "do not fear," and "don't let your hearts be troubled." Lucado points out that Jesus even told crippled man brought to him by friends, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." At first glance, this is confusing. The problem wasn't sin, it was paralysis. The problem is the man can't meet his own needs because he lives on a mat. "Before Jesus healed the body (which he did), he treated the soul," writes Lucado. "To sin is to disregard God, ignore his teachings, deny his blessings," Lucado continues. "The sinner's life is me-focused, not God-focused."
Lucado has chapters discussing your fear of insignificance, your fear of not pleasing God, your fear of running out of what you need, your fear of not protecting your kids, your fear of violence, your fear of death, your fear of global calamity, and your fear of finding out that God may not be there.
Overcoming fear takes a healthy dose of perspective. Lucado helps us see life from a different vantage point. Lucado emphasizes that we must walk through our fears with Christ. We can't take control of them in our own strength or with our own wisdom. Without a Biblical view of our fear, we won't understand it and we won't apply a helpful solution.
Rehearsing our fear causes us to forget to rely on Jesus. We strive to provide for our own needs and security rather than trust God. The fortune we amass in this life is like Monopoly money Lucado says; it's fake in God's economy. Fear causes us to invest in things that matter little.
"Feed your fears, and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will."
Lucado has fun with the disclaimers tagged onto the end of prescription drug advertisements on television. He lays out this satirical scenario of a lawyer reading the fine print to the inhabitant of a pregnant mother's belly: "Welcome to the post-umbilical cord world. Be advised, however, that human life has been known, in most cases, to result in death. Some individuals have reported experiences with lethal viruses, chemical agents, and/or bloodthirsty terrorists. Birth can also result in fatal encounters with tsunamis, inebriated pilots, road rage, famine, nuclear disasters, and/or PMS. Side effects of living include super viruses, heart disease, and final exams. Human life is not recommended for anyone who cannot share a planet with evil despots or survive a flight on airplane food."
"But it is in storms that [God] does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest attention."
Lucado says, "Everything will work out in the end. If it's not working out, it's not the end."
Fearless comes with an excellent discussion guide to help readers work through issues either privately, or more helpful, with others.
Humans are the audience for this book. We all fear. We all can use some help working through our fears. Lucado has given us an excellent tool in Fearless to do just that.