Overcoming Fears with Faith in the Goodness and Power of God
I have to admit it—often when I read a nonfiction book I am hoping for fresh insights and fresh perspectives. I want to learn something new, or at least hear something in a new way that strikes me. As I began reading David Jeremiah’s What Are You Afraid Of?: Facing Down Your Fears with Faith, this was my desire. While I found fresh material throughout—especially three of his chapters—the rest sounded like what I’ve heard before. Don’t get me wrong. There was little I disagreed with. It’s just that most of the book wasn’t exceptional. It was standard fare—things I have heard numerous times from numerous speakers. This isn’t all bad, for there is a place for reminders (cf. 2 Peter 1:12). I just prefer my reminders stated in fresh ways, I guess.
For a sampling of which fears Jeremiah addresses, go ahead and peruse the table of contents:
- Disaster: The Fear of Natural Calamity
- Disease: The Fear of Serious Illness
- Debt: The Fear of Financial Collapse
- Defeat: The Fear of Failure
- Disconnection: The Fear of Being Alone
- Disapproval: The Fear of Rejection
- Danger: The Fear of Sudden Trouble
- Depression: The Fear of Mental Breakdown
- Death: The Fear of Dying
- Deity: The Fear of God
As can be seen, Jeremiah addresses a wide range of fears. I think it’s fairly safe to say that all of us have feared at least something on this list, so for that reason alone, this book would be worth looking at. Honestly, while much of the book is ordinary as I mentioned above, the one chapter worth reading is the very first. In fact, it alone is worth the price of the book in my opinion. It is a great summary of the fear of natural calamities stated in ways that are fresh and engaging. Here’s an example:
Those who define God solely by the evil He allows overlook the flip side of their complaint. Yes, there is evil in the world, but there is also an enormous amount of good. If God is not good, as they claim, how do they account for all the good we experience? Is it fair to judge Him for the evil and not credit Him with the good? […] In a world that contains tragedies, we must realize that they’re vastly outnumbered by blessings (16).
Here’s another familiar reminder that’s worth hearing again:
The one way to walk boldly and confidently into an unknown future is to stake everything on the power and goodness and faithfulness of God (xiii-xiv).
Maybe I’m being too hard and unfair on Jeremiah in calling most of his book “familiar” and “standard fare.” I just don’t find his writing all that more engaging than most. Therefore, I give this book 4 stars because of solid content, yet not 5 because of its average delivery.