November ’21: Utterly Ordinary with Extraordinary Confidence
By Kathy Jung
Here it is people. The choice is ours to make. What will it be?
Listen to the voice of the ancient prophet Isaiah, speaking to us on this day:
The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
He will keep you safe…
As for me, I will wait for the Eternal, even though He feels absent…. I will put all hope in Him.
People might tell you to ask the fortune-tellers, consult the babbling astrologers, conjure the dead to tell the living what’s to come, but shouldn’t they ask their God? Go to God’s teaching and His testimony to guide your thoughts and behavior! If any response disagrees with the word of God, then it’s muddling and wrong and not the least bit illuminating. It leaves the people bedraggled and desperate, drifting here and there. In their hunger, the people are bound to be infuriated and curse their king and God. They’ll look up to the heavens and down to the earth, yet see nothing but trouble, gloom, anguish, and darkness.
Heed Isaiah’s warning and contrast it with what King David declares to you:
He is ever present with me;
at all times He goes before me.
I will not live in fear or abandon my calling
because He stands at my right hand.
This is a good life—my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy,
and my body is at rest.
Who could want for more?
You will not abandon me to experience death and the grave
or leave me to rot alone.
Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life.
As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending,
and I know true joy and contentment.
In whom will you place your confidence? Who can you rely on? Who can you trust?
Self-confidence is a quality that is admired and seen as the key to success in life. It is a goal for many that simply can’t be relied on to withstand change. Throughout life, it surges forward or ebbs in retreat, based on the whim of circumstance. Isn’t there a better way?
Instead of confidence in what I have, what I am capable of, and how much fight within me I can muster, God invites me into this truth: I am infinitely valuable to Him. Not only am I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in His image (Genesis 1:27) with the potential to become like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18), a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) in His making (Philippians 1:6), He whispers these beautiful truths, after proving my worth: He gave himself in my place (Galatians 2:20), that there would be no doubt, of who I am, through the one who calls me His friend (John 15:13).
Alternatively, do we place our confidence in leaders, ideologies, market forces, lifestyle choices, activism, or science and innovation? All these choices offer little more than a flimsy footing. They are needful and persuasive but imperfect. And they are not nearly as all encompassing a solution as we need them to be.
The arguments I have made so far sound forceful enough. I need to hear them for I feel weak. I admit that I am a doom scroller. I am one of the many who reach for my phone, to read news report after news report until my eyes droop with lethargy. When my workplace went through the experience of an outbreak, it was not enough to juggle all the pieces, I needed to start and end each day with the latest numbers, research and advice. The losses and burden rolled right into the next wave of busyness and new adjustments. During this time, I think I lost my way into prayerlessness. I am still finding my way, back to my centre, my true faith and hope.
As I turn from my screen to gaze at Jesus, I repent of my lack of faith. I can choose to train my attentions off myself, and off a negative focus. My faith meditations lead me to conclude, there is only one true source of confidence.
I can stand firm with hope because of:
- the character of Christ
- the divine limitlessness of Christ
- the wisdom of the mind of Christ
- the example given of resolute trust in God the Father, by Christ
- the sacrificial action of Christ
- the community of witnesses of Christ
- being fully known by the creator Christ
- the promises of Christ
- the moments of hope, joy and peace in Christ
- the new beginning of forgiveness made possible by Christ
- the evidence of our transformation through Christ
- the worries and burdens born by Christ
- our ongoing companionship with Christ
For it is “the fundamental fact of existence that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living” (Hebrews 11:1, Message).
In Acts 4:13 (Voice), the Jewish leaders were trying to figure out what the emerging church was all about. It was said of Peter and John that “they were typical peasants—uneducated, utterly ordinary fellows—with extraordinary confidence. The leaders recognized them as companions of Jesus.”
Though we are utterly ordinary, may we have extraordinary confidence because of Christ.