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A year or so ago, I got What Are You Afraid Of?: Facing Down Your Fears with Faith by David Jeremiah when it was free for Kindle. It sat there, as many Kindle freebies do, but then I read Barbara‘s compelling review of it, and bumped it up. I’m glad I did, because I found it really worthwhile, and a book I want to keep around as a reference for times when I do feel afraid. I don’t think of myself as a fearful person in general, but there have been a few times in my life where a fear came out of the blew and hit me with that awful, dread-in-the-pit-of-your stomach punch. It’s a terrible feeling. Usually what I do is try to pray and read the Bible, but I still feel so anxious and then added to that, I feel guilty because worrying is a sin and … it gets to be a bad vicious circle.
What are You Afraid Of?
How can this book help? David Jeremiah divides the book into ten chapters, each focusing on a common fear: Disease. Death. Disaster. Depression. Etc. (yes, they all start with “d”).
I was blessed to grow up going to church. Every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night, and then if there was a revival, other weeknights too. Sunday school. VBS. All this to say that I have a great grounding in the Scriptures, and I’m so grateful for that. However, the downside (if you could call it that), is that, many times when I read the Bible or a Christian book, I’ll see just a word or two of scripture and immediately go into BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH/Charlie Brown teacher voice mode. It’s so familiar that it can be difficult for me to see something in a new way. So, when I read a book like this, that does offer some new ways of thinking, it is really a treasure to me.
I think this book would be a great resource for any Christian, because let’s face it: we’ll all be afraid of something. If not now, at some point in life. As Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.”
Here are some excerpts from the book that I found helpful or interesting:
- ” … on days when free-floating anxiety is getting the best of me. That last phrase captures it for me: ‘free-floating anxiety.’ That’s the worst one — the foreboding fear that something is wrong, but you don’t know what. It envelops you like a cloud.”
- On fearing natural disasters: “We must remember that every one of the people who died in the Haiti earthquake would eventually have died anyway. The fact that they died simultaneously is really no more tragic than if their deaths had been spread out over the next several decades. It’s just that the sudden and unexpected simultaneous deaths shock us more.”
- “I would say nothing to trivialize disease; I know the misery of it firsthand. But according to Paul, and from the perspective of our eternal God, the sufferings of this present world are less than a paper cut in relation to the glory yet to be revealed to us.”
- “The true opposite of fear is faith. Either we look at the future in fear of what might happen, or we look at the future with faith directed toward our sovereign Father-God, who holds all things in His hands. We have no other options. And the best way to build faith is through the Word of God.
- On the fear of being alone/”deserted”: “In a very real sense, there is no ‘alone.’ There is no place we can ever be that is outside the presence of our Lord … Mothers and fathers know they must someday let go; they can’t be with us forever Not so with God. Once we come to know Him, we need never be separated.”
- A couple wondered why God hadn’t stopped them from making a bad investment: “Have you considered the possibility that I (God) wanted you in that neighborhood to minister rather than to bolster your financial equity? That insight caused them to rethink their questions about God’s guidance. … He says to take up our crosses. Comfort is not a factor. But He does promise that the way to grow into the image of Christ is by trusting and obeying in all circumstances.”
- “You will follow Jesus into a storm someday. And you will learn that, although it may be overwhelming, it’s the safest of all harbors.”
I have many more passages highlighted, but hopefully this gives you an idea.
Have you ever been afraid (dumb question, sure — we all have)? I recommend this book as a resource.