"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Friday, April 5, 2013

Being Confident

People come to me every day to find confidence. Some have lost it along the way due to apparent failures, lapses in courage, or circumstances beyond their control. Others seem to have never known it.

Confidence means many things. The secular therapist will ask an insecure client to list his accomplishments or to recount the compliments she receives from others. The idea is to remind them of the strengths and abilities they do possess. Lacking self confidence, they are focusing on the half empty part of themselves versus the full half. This critical focus, in turn, undermines their self confidence as they forget their assets.

Paul speaks of another kind of confidence in his brief statement in Philippians 2:

"And I am confident in the Lord that I will come soon." (vs. 24)

His release is beyond his control, and he chooses to believe "in the Lord" that he will be released soon. Lightner states that the phrase translated in the NIV "in the Lord" can also be interpreted as "Lord willing." It makes little difference, I think, because if the Lord wills it and it is in his hands, it will come to pass. Indeed, Paul's release must have occurred, since we know he was imprisoned again in Rome, where he wrote his last letter, 2 Timothy. This is in no way a contradiction of his earlier dilemna about whether he shouild live or die. In that schema he was weighing the hypotheticals, ending with a similar statement of confidence that he will remain on earth for a while in order to be of service to the kingdom of God.

So what kind of confidence is Paul referring to? It is not in his own ability to argue his case. So how can he state that he is confident about it? I believe Paul was so in tune with the Holy Spirit and God's will for his life (to further the Kingdom) that he had little (or no) doubt that he had more to do. Having seen God overcome circumstance after circumstance (in around and through suffering at times) for his mission, Paul was as certain of God's ongoing providence as he was that the sun would rise day after day.

What if our confidence truly rested in the Faithful One? We cannot be confident that things will always go the way we think they should. Nor can we expect that things will be easy or comfortable. But if we want what God wants and trust his means and methods (even when they make no sense to us) we can be sure that He will be glorified, come what may. He will open doors, part seas, prop us up and propel us forward as we lean into him. Of that we can be confident.