I mentioned the Preface a little last time, but I forgot one important and fundamental part. Of his own journey toward overcoming fear, Wheat says:
Of course, Scripture took me to new places. I didn’t anticipate being taught how to pray or how being an active peacemaker is a sure-fire way to know peace. I also didn’t anticipate how the reading, writing, and arithmetic of the Christian life — Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship — would be the rudiments for our battle with fear and worry (10).
He goes on to say that his readers will be familiar with the Scripture passages in the book. But that they must not be skimmed over. “They are,” he says, “Essential food.”
I read the first chapter of Running Scared online when I first ordered it. It basically introduces the innate nature of fear within all people:
Fear is natural to us. We don’t have to learn it (19).
Children, teens, and adults all have different fears. But fear exists naturally within all types of people, and it “can reveal what we cherish” (25). He defines “fear” as “the experience when a car races toward us and we just barely escape” and “anxiety” or “worry” as “the lingering sense, after the car has passed, that life is fragile and we are always vulnerable” (25).
This chapter encouraged me, specifically, in revealing the universal nature of fear and anxiety. I can often worry about worry. But, as Wheat says, “The terrain is fear and anxiety. You are familiar with it, and you are not alone” (25). Of course, commonality does not negate the sinfulness of worry. In fact, because sin is the universal human condition, and worry, as sin, exists universally. Still, it helps me to know that others fight the same things — and that a promise of victory sits on the horizon. Often that horizon has seemed very far from me, when darkness weighs down and I have felt deeply an almost-despair.
I am, however, not alone. There is hope, and the horizon is close.
I am looking forward to reading through this book in the coming weeks. If you have read thus far, I would love for you to join me.