A review by Brenda Daniels
When I first came across this book by Timothy Lane for some reason I remembered its title as Living with Worry. It could in fact be called Living with Worry as it carries with it a very realistic way of looking at worry. It speaks about Jesus even saying in Matthew 6:34 “… Each day has enough trouble of its own.” It points out the fact that Jesus is described as being able to identify with our suffering because he suffered too, i.e. he experienced a world of worry. Hebrews 2: 18 says that Jesus was made like us “fully human in every way” and because of that he suffered, as we suffer.
While the author points out that God will be ever faithful and that he gives us sufficient grace to live under trials we do have to “endure” those trials (1 Corinthians 10:13). They don’t magically disappear because we know Jesus. Suffering WILL come in this life, we are assured, and the goal is not, in fact, that we should worry less but that we should REJOICE more in Jesus. In other words, our worries do remain. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you”; what we must do, says Lane, is relate to God IN THE MIDST OF OUR WORRIES. And relating or praying to God about our worries doesn’t mean a quick fix for our worries or a guarantee of a good outcome for them. And when we do learn to relate to God about our worries it’s something we will have to do every day, that is, we’ll never arrive – and be worry free – on this earth.
I found this realistic approach extremely helpful. I could relate. But Lane’s book does teach us how we can, in fact, move on from “Living WITH worry” to “Living WITHOUT worry.” And that starts with the reasons WHY we worry. The bible you see, he says, while showing an understanding of WHY we worry, nevertheless does not CONDONE worry. That is because the bible commands us not to worry. Worrying is sin.
I have, of course, heard this before but felt only vaguely guilty in response and not known how to move on from that. But the author very helpfully describes what worry is: at its root it is a divided loyalty. My loyalty, instead of being to God’s kingdom, becomes overly concerned with things in this world’s kingdom. It fears things in this kingdom, and to fear anything else is to make it a god. So worrying in fact reveals my OVERLOVES. And this is where it becomes useful. Worry, says Lane, is a way for me to assess what I am living for. And I can use that worry to drive me to God in dependent prayer.
Lane goes on to describe in more detail what worry is, dividing it into PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE worries.
I found the section on dealing with present worries particularly helpful. With the PRESENT, nitty-gritty-of-living-life worries, Lane urges us to be aware of God’s RELATIONAL love to us in his Son and to focus on God’s various promises.
This is the very essence of the book’s message, and the most helpful part of all. I quote from page 133: “If you are a Christian, you are in a RELATIONSHIP with the living God based solely upon what Jesus has done for you in his life, death and resurrection… He is your Father and you are his child.” We are in a relationship with a gentle Father who cares about us and knows us intimately.
And as far as relating to each other goes, each of the 11 chapters in Living Without Worry has a short Questions for Reflection section so would be good to do with a friend who worries as much as you do.
Living without Worry can be purchased online