Cultivating Hope and Confidence: Psalm 71Apr 10, 2019
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
I found confidence in God a little over forty years ago. I was seventeen then. I’m fifty-eight today. Since my teens, my confidence in God has grown. What was a set of beliefs that made sense has increasingly become a Person in whom I live and move and have my very existence. I’m so very grateful!
Has this growth in confidence always been a nice steady, upward-trending line? Is it for anyone? I haven’t always remembered God’s faithfulness or benefitted as fully from God’s goodness as I might have, but God has been steady when I wasn’t.
God has been my hope. This means that my hope is not mainly focused on a particular outcome or some future change in situation. My hope is rooted in a Person. In communion with God, I look out at the horizon of my life (and there is less of it now than when I was seventeen), and I know that my good and beautiful God will be with me in it. My future will be good and beautiful because God is good and beautiful.
This helps me when I find myself in moments or even seasons that tempt me to become hopeless. Something in me or around me looks like it will never change. In such moments, rather than focusing on what seems like unchanging bad, I can focus on God’s unchanging good. In moments like this, I experience gratitude.
God has been my confidence. Sometimes, I’ve tried to find confidence in my education, or my performance, or my achievements. I’m grateful for good things I’ve learned or done, but these are not the basis for holy confidence. Again, my confidence is in Another. My truest confidence is the fruit of communion with God. God’s answer to my timidity is not, “You’ll do great, Alan.” It’s more like, “I'm with you no matter what, Alan.” The second one inspires me more. How about you?
- Think about your own confidence and hope (or lack of them).
- Have you been feeling more confident or timid lately? What is this rooted in? How might God be inviting your gaze his way in the midst of this?
- How have you been feeling hopeful or hopeless? Again, where has your attention been focused? How might seeing God’s reliable goodness in your current situation help inspire greater and truer hope?