Quick Reads for Anxious People (Book Review)

Welch, Edward T. A Small Book for the Anxious Heart: Meditations on Fear, Worry, and Trust. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2019. 192 pages.

During this time of a global pandemic, many are anxious. They fear they may test positive for the coronavirus. They worry what impact this may have on the economy and to their own bank account. The antidote to addressing these concerns is to look with trust to the One who is sovereign over it all. That is exactly what A Small Book for the Anxious Heart: Meditations on Fear, Worry, and Trust by Edward T. Welch is about.

Practical Counsel for the Fearful and Anxious

A Small Book for the Anxious Heart is filled with 50 daily meditations that are only a few pages each in length. The book is set up where the reader can read straight through from Day 1 to Day 50 or choose from the collection of meditations. While there is no particular order to the set of meditations, readers can gauge from the title which may pertain to them on a given day. There is a response at the end of each meditation for the reader to reflect on how they can apply what they have read.

Many of the meditations give practical counsel to help the reader in their struggle as the author shares about his own. One of the best examples of practical counsel in this book is the meditation for Day 21 on asking for prayer. The book is comprehensive in nature as Welch takes Days 22 and 23 to provide insight on the impact fear and worry have on the physical body. Of course, the topic of money is given attention in the book as well. Throughout the 50 meditations, though, Welch reiterates fear and faith are linked in this struggle. The reality is fear will not be fully eliminated but that Christians should meditate on what will build their faith and trust in the Lord.

A Critique of Concern

I appreciated the practical counsel and the comprehensive work found in these meditations. I was thankful for defining terms upfront (see Welch pp. 6-8). Yet, while the definitions may have clarified some terms, one word was left wanting: worry. Moreover, how Welch seems to handle worry is built on a faulty foundation. He pointedly says, “know that there are good reasons to worry” (Welch 29). I disagree because the testimony of Scripture defines worry as sin as it reveals a lack of trust in God. Counselor Timothy Lane, in his book Living Without Worry, distinguishes worry from concern and references Bible scholar Dick France in saying worry is not merely concern but that worry is over-concern. Therefore, Welch wants to comfort readers there are good reasons to “worry”, a more appropriate term would be concern. For what it is worth, too, I would be wary of referring to The Message as a translation, as the book does, and use more of the language of a commentary.

Quick Reads for Anxious People

If you are not a big reader but find yourself needing to meditate on biblical truth during this anxious and fearful time, consider purchasing and gleaning from the meditations in A Small Book for the Anxious Heart. If you are looking for a quick read that will remind you where your trust needs to be as you worry and who you need to place your faith in while you face fears, then check out this book by Edward Welch.

I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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