Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear
By Max Lucado
Thomas Nelson Publishers
220 pages

fearlessIn these days of economic uncertainty and deep political schisms and conflict, a book on the subject of fear is more than welcome. In Fearless, Max Lucado uses his gentle and optimistic style to speak into the many anxieties of life in this age.

Through his tender and often funny prose, Lucado does what he does best by pointing us back to the heart of God who never abandons or loses His passion for us no matter what we do, or what storm we find ourselves in. He puts words to the many fears that we are sometimes embarrassed to speak aloud, such as that we might not really be forgiven or that God doesn’t care. He also explores how fear can drive us into behaviors that sabotage our lives and faith and take our eyes off of Jesus, who alone is worthy of our awe.

One of my favorite parts is the author’s own confession that he struggles with doubt at times, which he describes as “the chilling, quiet, horrifying shadows of aloneness in a valley that emerges from and leads into a fog-covered curve.” Perhaps this will give encouragement for more of us to admit to one another that we all struggle deeply with faith at times too, even as his solution leads us deeper into our community of believers for help and mutual support. He reminds us from Luke 24:14 (MSG), “The church sticks together. Even with ransacked hopes, they clustered in a conversant community. They kept ‘going over all the things that happened.’ Isn’t this  a picture of the church– sharing notes, exchanging ideas and lifting spirits?” Fear can disrupt unity, but love conquers fear.

The weak point of this book is that it does not do enough to pull us out of ourselves beyond our own concerns for the sake of obeying the command to love others. Though it’s a lovely read, the fears that keep us from learning how to engage those who are different from us or that keep us from loving our enemies as Jesus taught us to do are a non-issue. This is a significant gap because these fears also stall the growth of a Christian and keep us from offering the uniquely Christian expression of God to our polarized country and embattled world.

Lucado has a deep love for God and His Church and his genial pastoral voice could be a guide to help us probe into the deeper, darker places of our hearts that we often avoid. We need both the comfort he brings but also a challenge towards true transformation. This book is a beautiful balm for a worried heart and I will recommend it to others. However, a focus on the fears that keep us from genuine other-centered movement and radical love is the great need of the day and this book keeps us a bit too safe.

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  • Skip

    Thanks for the review Ellen. One I finished recently is titled, “Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear” Scott Bader-Saye published by Brazos Press. It deals with the issues you mentioned as missing in this one.


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