By Christy Kirtlan
Most everyone is familiar with author/pastor Max Lucado. He has written over 70 books over the last 25 years and has left an imprint on all of his readers. This 2017 book doesn’t disappoint.
I chose this book, ironically, for a group Bible study in April of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic was turning our world upside down. Obviously, God knew that this review of His word at that time would bring comfort and relieve anxiety in our chaotic world.
It was interesting to me that the topics Max spoke about were exactly what we were experiencing in the Spring and Summer of 2020, even though he wrote it a few years before. It goes to the point that God’s word is timeless, relevant and applicable!
Some of the highlights from my notes that spoke to me:
“Anxiety and fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one.”
“The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.”
“Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your Father increases.”
Max is not dismissing anxiety but shows the reader what to do with that anxiety; to think it through and apply practical solutions to our thinking, along with Scripture.
“Celebrate God’s goodness….ask God for help…leave your concerns with Him…meditate on good things.” CALM.
God is writing the chapters of your life. And mine. For the pandemic, it’s not my story. It’s a chapter in my story…maybe not even a chapter but a few paragraphs!
I love Max’s prayer for the reader:
“Dear Lord, You spoke to storms. Would You speak to ours? You calmed the hearts of the apostles. Would You calm the chaos within us? You told them to fear not. Say the same to us. We are weary from our worry, battered and belittled by the gales of life. Oh Prince of Peace, bequeath to us a spirit of calm.
As we turn the page in this book, will you turn a new leaf in our lives? Quench anxiety. Stir courage. Let us know less fret and more faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
“The benefit of being a great sinner is dependence upon a great grace.”
“A happy saint is one who is at the same time aware of the severity of sin and the immensity of grace. Sin is not diminished, nor is God’s ability to forgive it.”
“There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. Your future matters more than your past. God’s grace is greater than your sin. What you did was not good. But your God is good. And He will forgive you. He is ready to write a new chapter in your life. Say with Paul, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us.” (Phil. 3:13-14 TLB)
“Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life.”
“Worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude. One heart-felt thank-you will suck the oxygen out of worry’s world.”
“Our assignment is not fruitfulness but faithfulness. The secret to fruit bearing and anxiety-free living is less about doing and more about abiding.”
This book from Max Lucado is an excellent read to help you through the troubles this world brings. I found greater strength in it reading almost as a “book club” where in our group, read a chapter each week and then discussed it. Sharing the troubles with my friends, encouraging one another and praying together wrapped Max’s words into a great, encouraging present from our Father in Heaven.
My synopsis? “Do not meditate on the mess.” Give Max’s book a look!