Fear and Faith
April 30, 2015
I guess you wouldn’t expect me to use the word “comforting” to describe a book that is about fear. Well, that’s what happens when you read Trillia Newbell. She is an encourager, and her book isn’t only about fear, it’s about Fear and Faith.
Trillia is pretty transparent in this book about her own proclivity to fear. She calls it, “a temptation that has plagued me for as long as I can remember” (11). And she has had to face some of these fears head-on, particularly with the loss of loved ones. But Trillia has learned that she is tempted to fear the wrong things: fear of man, fear of the future, fear of other women, fear of tragedy, fear of not measuring up, fear of physical appearance, fear of sexual intimacy. These fears all get a chapter in Fear and Faith.
While describing them in ways most readers will be able to identify with in some form or another, Trillia combats each of these fears with God’s promises in Scripture. We are not told that we will live a life free of sorrow, rejection, and pain in this age. But God sustains us through them all as he is with us now ministering to us by his Holy Spirit, with the preaching of his word, and in the community of his people. He promises to use all of our circumstances for his glory and for our good, which is to be sanctified into the likeness of his own son, Jesus Christ.
Maybe you see where this is going. These chapters are leading to the proper fear that we should have, a respect and awe for our holy, sovereign, merciful God. There is a nice little chapter on “Why We Can Trust God,” that briefly covers some of his attributes. I would have actually loved to have read this topic in more detail. I find that the more I learn about who God is and what he has done, the greater my wonder and trust in him increases.
One thing that many who are plagued by fear will like about this book is that Trillia uses the testimonies of others to God’s faithfulness in the midst of great personal trial. These testimonies don’t end all tied up in a fearless bow either. I think that Trillia wanted to really send the message that we are not alone in our temptations to be captivated by fear, and that there are many in the church who have gone before us to encourage us now.
That leads to one of the things that I most appreciate about this book. Trillia spends some time talking about eating disorders. This is a topic covered in such shame, that it just isn’t spoken of much in the church. But you will see from the testimonies that even a pastor’s daughter may be susceptible. I hope that the sensitive and bold way that Trillia addresses such a harmful condition will help those in the church who are dealing with eating disorders to be more upfront, and most of all, to understand how the gospel reaches even them.
This book is written with a lot of passion, and Trillia’s voice shines through in her writing. If you are one who tends to get burdened and paralyzed by fear, this is a book that you can read for comfort in the One who really is in control.