My father-in-law has a fun Christmas tradition of putting a little book in each of our stockings. He does it as a joke, really. The books are all those little hardbound ones you find at a bookstore checkout line. My husband has been given books on baseball and Yogi Berra and mine (since I turned forty) have been about surviving old age. We all rifle through and read a few of our favorite quotes out loud, and then the books are forgotten after that. But that’s the point: a few laughs on Christmas morning.
The latest book by Ed Welch may be the size of a stocking stuffer book, but it’s not a cobbled collection of his writings by some junior editor. This little book has been carefully crafted into fifty short chapters to help us meditate on what God’s Word has to say about anger. The idea is not to read it all in one sitting but to keep this topic in the forefront of your mind, for a few minutes a day for roughly seven weeks. Welch explains in the intro:
“Why fifty days? We receive so much information and have so little time to reflect. As a result, we might be able to remember some facts but not be affected by them. A week later we won’t even remember them. This is why there are fifty daily meditations. One-a-day will work better than skimming a long book for new information and then moving on to the next thing in your life.”
When a pre-release copy of this book came into my hands, I started to read it as research for our next book on emotions, but I was immediately absorbed in the content for myself. I must confess I didn’t stick to one-a-day but devoured all fifty readings in a few days (we happened to be on vacation at the time, so I had extra time for reading). Then I went back and reread it much more slowly. I plan to do it again every year or two. This book has been for me what I imagine Ed Welch hoped it would be for every reader—a convicting, encouraging, hopeful book that has helped me take real steps of repentance and change in the area of sinful anger.
Even though I don’t think of myself as an angry person, it is a sin I am more familiar with than I care to admit, and this little book challenged me to take it seriously, all while providing biblical, practical, grace-filled help for change. Often I hear women say, “I never knew I was an angry person until…” I got married, or had kids, or had to work with this boss. And if you haven’t had that “Aha I have an anger problem” moment, it is probably in your future. So don’t wait. Get A Small Book About A Big Problem now. With the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit, purpose to grow in patience and peace over the next seven weeks. Think of it as an early Christmas present for yourself.