Book Review: The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith
“I was a thirty-five-year-old grown man sitting in my therapist’s office sobbing like an uncontrollable child…I began to realize that all those years I had allowed anxiety to get a stronger hold over my life… But anxiety was still in a battle to exert more control over my life than I wanted.” (Rhett Smith, The Anxious Christian, 174)
Smith provides assurance to anxious people that “God does not leave you alone in your anxiety…” (76). He generously shares his own experiences with marital problems, career concerns, and losing a parent. In what reads more like a memoir than self-help, Smith is like a friend saying “I know how you feel.”
The problem with The Anxious Christian is its theology on suffering. Smith, a licensed therapist, seems to endorse the idea that anxiety is from God rather than the result of living in an imperfect world. Referencing a session with a therapy client and the cause of the person’s anxiety, Smith asked the client, “What if God put that anxiety in your life for a purpose?” (84) Smith also reflects on his own life and suggests “…anxiety was perhaps a feeling that God had placed in my life to help bring about change.” (88)
The idea of God bringing a spirit of power, love and a sound mind doesn’t seem to match with Smith’s idea that God is the source of anxiety.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.