Fear is sly. It has a way of sneaking into your neighborhood, your home and your life. Once it takes up residence, it doesn’t want to leave. Like an annoying houseguest, it is determined to take over, assume control and drive you to the point where you want to vacate your own home. But Max Lucado wants to let us know that fear doesn’t have to make us change who we are. In his latest book, FEARLESS, New York Times bestselling author encourages people to say goodbye to fear. In 15 carefully crafted chapters, he explores the source of our fears and the secret to being more courageous in our everyday lives.
While Lucado is quick to acknowledge that some fear can be good --- keeping us away from the edges of cliffs and the mouths of lions --- all too often fear takes an unhealthy role, limiting our ability to live as God designed. God wanted man to be free of the clutches of evil, and through fear we live in a state of panic, scared that evil can get to us at any turn. And these assaults of fear come from all directions in our modern world. From terrorism to typhoons, from swine flu to being sued, fear has a way of capturing the headlines of our papers and suppressing the happiness from our hearts.
But Lucado doesn’t discuss fear and what it does to us; in fact, he gives readers advice on ways to dispel various types of fear. To tackle the fear of insignificance, he shares an excerpt from his newest children’s book, THE TALLEST OF SMALLS (set to be released in November), in which he tells the story of the Too-Smalls of Stiltsville. This story helps to drive home the idea that, no matter how hard we try to grasp onto the significance the world has to offer, it often slips away. But despite that, God grants us a significance that never fades. We are the apple of His eye, the source of His delight. Whatever we may lose in this world, we will always have God’s love.
Some of the other fears that Lucado addresses are the fear of losing what we have, the fear of not being able to protect our children, and the fear of violence. He addresses each one of them masterfully and puts to rest any apprehensions the reader might have. For example, in the chapter “God’s Ticked Off at Me,” he explores the fear of disappointing God. But he is quick to remind readers of the promise made in 1 John 4:18: “Perfect love expels all fear.” He encourages readers to accept God’s forgiveness and remember the freedom that has been granted through His son, Jesus Christ.
Later, he writes, “May I speak candidly? If you haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness, you are doomed to fear. Nothing can deliver you from the gnawing realization that you have disregarded your Maker and disobeyed His instruction. No pill, pep talk, psychiatrist, or possession can set the sinner’s heart at ease. You may deaden the fear, but you can’t remove it. Only God’s grace can.” Lucado is telling us here of the futility of attempting to overcome fear without having God in your heart. The only way not to fear what is evil is to have faith in the ultimate good. That’s the message he wants his readers to walk away with, the message by which we should live our lives.
Fans of Max Lucado will be pleased by his latest work. FEARLESS is not only easy to read but fun to read as well. Filled with turns of phrase, rhyme, and Lucado’s trademark colors and anecdotes, it will delight readers with each chapter. My only complaint is its brevity. Though typesetting allowed the book to run over 220 pages, most readers will fly through the text and find themselves wanting more. Lucado has provided this through ancillary material, including a video discussion kit, worship album, calendar and t-shirt. Like his last bestselling book, 3:16, additional materials and products abound. Recommend FEARLESS to any Lucado fan or anyone looking for strength to be a stronger, better person.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on November 13, 2011