Jesus Christ, My Confidence to Move Forward
Like so many other parents this week, I sent my daughter off to college for fall semester. She boarded a plane back to her university to pursue her dream of one day making it on Broadway. I don’t know if she’ll finish the semester with any in-person classes for singing, dancing, and acting, or if she’ll have any in-person classes at all. As of today, Broadway remains shut down … dark until at least 2021, while the city which made it famous struggles to recover from the debilitating effects of both the pandemic and widespread rioting earlier this year.
As we “start to restart” the school year, perhaps the one thing millions of us would agree on is that things feel, well, different. We’re navigating into the unknown and marking our calendars in pencil. If we were to be honest, just beneath the “so exciteds” and “can’t waits” of our social media posts, we really don’t know what next week may bring. We find ourselves in the unfamiliar position of grappling with questions that would not have even been questions 365 days ago. Things like, “If I move my child into her college dorm, will she be asked to move out next week?” (This happened at UNC–Chapel Hill recently.)
Contradictory messaging and media-manipulated information don’t help either. From mask mandates to mail-in voting, some days it feels like we live in The United States of Confusion, not America. And as weeks have worn into months — both as individuals and as a nation — we are desperate, yet tentative, to have the confidence to move forward.
A Confidence Crisis
Into this backdrop, I learned about COVI-PASS, a digital health identification wallet that stores personal health information for travel and work clearance. While COVI-PASS is certainly relevant, something about its tagline — “Gives the World the Confidence to Move Forward” — triggered me. I honestly didn’t feel like I needed the confidence to move forward. I felt like I already had it. Nevertheless, I realized then that there is a tug-of-war going on for where we place our confidence.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all in a confidence crisis of sorts, forced to examine which voices we will listen to and what information we will trust. Into the chaos have come human constructs that boost confidence short term but deliver conformity long term. Some of us find solace in that conformity, as well as a sense of security when the world turns upside down. Whether it’s digital health identification wallets, Plexiglass shields between desks, or temperature checks before gym class, we are being led to believe if we adhere to all the protocols, we will be kept safe, and hopefully saved and spared from the present affliction our world is experiencing.
Already Saved From All of It
While I thank God for medical breakthroughs, front line workers, wise civil authorities, and communities that come together to help one another, whether they do or do not fail me does not affect my confidence. Sure, common grace and wisdom can come through these human institutions, but I don’t look to them to “save” me. Our present afflictions are temporary, and in light of the eternal, I’ve already been saved. Delivered. From all of it. The curse of sin and death upon this planet (Romans 6: 17-18), this present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4) and the ploy to make me a slave to fear (Romans 8:15) (in this case, brought on by uncertainty and confusion surrounding current events).
The implications of believing these truths are far-reaching and profound. In fact, believing them changes everything. I do not look to man or man-made constructs to give me the confidence to move forward, because I already possess that confidence through Jesus Christ. I am not waiting for a vaccine, a stimulus check, or the next election to go my way for my path to be made straight and my steps secure.
We Need God, Not God Replacements
While all of these things are not “evil” in and of themselves, they hold the potential to become God-replacements, handing out solutions to satiate our deepest needs and quell our deepest fears. They tempt us to look to them for answers, instead of looking to God. As the world increasingly clamors for signs, stats, and data that is only validated by what we can see, hear, feel and quantify, get ready. Trusting Christ Jesus whom you can’t see as your Way-Maker, Truth-Teller and Life-Giver — believing that He is literally the Wisdom and Power of God — will be deemed sheer foolishness by experts promulgating the inherent greatness and wisdom of humanity apart from Him (I Corinthians 1:18-25). It’s not hard to project that the nonconformity of anchoring our confidence by faith outside their world system is hurling us headlong into conflict over our allegiance.
You can be sure of this: You can bow your knee to one of the two belief systems, but you cannot bow your knee to both. Whose voice are you most listening to right now? Who or what would you consider your most trusted adviser? Where your trust is, there is your confidence also.
A Firm Foundation
Isaiah 28:16 says that God has laid in Zion “as a foundation, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: Whoever believes will not be in haste.” Jesus, the precious cornerstone of our faith, is the sure foundation of our confidence.
His words do not fail. His promises do not fade away. His work on the Cross is finished, and His resurrection cannot be overcome. My eternal destiny is secure when I call on the name of Jesus to save me from the sin that would have condemned me. I am now adopted and loved forever in the family of God. This all the confidence I need — that I’ll ever need — to move forward. Paraphrasing Proverbs 3:26: “The Lord Himself is my confidence.”
Annemarie McLean is a four-girl mom, freelance writer, and co-founder of Brave & Beautiful, a ministry focused on challenging young women to live purpose-driven lives full of courage and character, while developing Christ-centered inner beauty. Annemarie holds a journalism degree from Oral Roberts University, with graduate work in organizational leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University.