Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Fearless" by Max Lucado: A Book Review

The musical “Mary Poppins” contains a song which says “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. If my medicine is a book by popular, best selling author Max Lucado, then I have yet to find my “sugar”. Despite attempting to read several of Mr. Lucado’s works, I have yet to complete any of them other than his newest work, “Fearless”. To be frank, I struggled to complete this book as well.

My problems with “Fearless” as well as with Mr. Lucado’s other books have nothing to do with the content. I found nothing of any consequence in the contents of this work to which I disagreed. But, as with all of his works, I simply do not enjoy the author’s writing style. While he does use the Scripture quite extensively, he uses far too many examples and illustrations in my opinion. For me, these slow me down and, in some cases, distract me from the Biblical point he is attempting to communicate. As I said above, this problem for me is not unique to “Fearless”.

On the other hand, there are several positive elements in this work.

1. It is fairly brief. There are 221 pages but the actual text ends on page 180. “Fearless” is a quick read.

2. The book contains an extensive discussion guide (close to 40 pages) for those who wish to use it in a study group. This guide provides some very good questions, observations, and Scripture texts for each of the chapters in the book.

3. While I dislike the abundance of illustrations the author uses, some of them are absolutely wonderful. For example, in his chapter on worst-case scenarios, Mr. Lucado shares a story about two girls and their father at the pool to illustrate various ways to address such fears:

“He’s in the water; they jump into his arms. Let me restate that: one jumps; the other ponders. The dry one gleefully watches her sister leap. She dances up and down as the other splashes. But when her dad invites her to do the same, she shakes her head and backs away….How many people spend life on the edge of the pool? Consulting caution. Ignoring faith. Never taking the plunge. Happy to experience life vicariously through others. Preferring to take no risk than any risk. For fear of the worst, they never enjoy life at its best. By contrast, their sister jumps. Not with foolish abandon, but with belief in the goodness of a father’s heart and trust in a father’s arms.” (p. 81)


4. The subject addressed by the book is quite timely. Many people, including believers, are fearful of losing their jobs, failing health, financial trouble, or problems with their children. “Fearless” provides Biblical insight for countering these fears. As Mr. Lucado says, “Acknowledge threats but refuse to be defined by them” (p. 177).

If you are like me and have great difficulty reading a book by Max Lucado then you, too, will probably not enjoy “Fearless”. But obviously, millions of individuals do enjoy his books and I believe they will thoroughly enjoy this work as well. To them I recommend this book.

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