As a final comment on this past weekend’s CCEF conference, I want to briefly mention Ed Welch’s new book, Running Scared: Fear, worry, and the God of Rest (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2007). All conference attendees got a free copy. Here are a couple of my observations about the book:
1. It is 30 chapters. You don’t have to read them in a linear fashion although they do build on each other. They have a meditative/reflective nature to them.
2. The book is really about worry. If you struggle with panic attacks, you won’t find helpful solutions. In fact, he does a brief put down of the cognitive-behavioral techniques. On the one hand, he is right that these don’t ultimately give us peace, on the other hand–sometimes they help us get through a moment.
3. He does a nice job surveying the kinds of worries that overtake us and the common responses (control, perfectionism, anger, stress, depression, overprotection, etc.)
4. What does your fear say? Ed considers a few of the common messages (e.g., I am in danger, I am vulnerable, I need and might not get…). He also points to the overemphasis of the future in all worry. Worriers, he says, live in the future (and see it in minute gory detail). Seldom does our worry come true as we thought and so much of our worry is that of false prophets–proclaiming something as nearly already happened that only is a possibility.
5. The book is pastoral. I hear Ed’s voice in this as soft and knowing. I think this book reads like his voice more than any other of his works. He reminds us that Jesus speaks tenderly when he calls us to not fear. He talks to us like a shepherd would talk to a little lamb.
6. Yes, God tests our faith and yet he is also very generous. In order for us to be rescued from danger, there has to be danger. He is near. He hears. He tests us. He gives us grace for today. He delivers (ch. 9).
7. The rest of the book details how we deal with fears about money, what people think of us, about death, pain, and punishment, and ends with a focus on “peace be with you.”
All in all, a good read for those wanting to meditate on something other than their own fears. This is especially a good read on those feeling guilty and judged because of their fear and lack of faith. You get a picture of a very generous God who knows your fear and is near. If you are looking for very practical steps (what do I do this afternoon about…) you probably won’t get ready answers, though I think you could do the work to apply some of the principles to your daily life.
Good book Ed.