t’s not easy to wait on the Lord. There are countless scriptural verses that remind us to trust in God’s providence, Psalm 37:3 being my favorite as I used to always recall this verse during my early days back in 2006 when I was waiting for my 1st job to come through.
A few days ago I was listening to this video on trusting in Divine providence. It really struck me a lot – because up until now, I had always had this view that we only need faith to believe God – that without faith it is impossible to please God, that we live by faith and not by sight, and so on.
But from the video, I learned another important word – and that word is confidence. St Thomas Aquinas defined confidence as a “hope fortified by solid conviction”. He goes on to explain that confidence is a kind of hope, not ordinary hope, but hope that is fortified or hope that is strengthened and that strengthening comes from the Lord.
See the difference between ordinary hope and fortified hope (or confidence) is as follows – ordinary hope can deal with ambiguity – its the kind of hope that you know can make it but there is still room for doubt. There is still a chance things can go wrong.
Confidence is absolute hope in that sense – it means there is no room for doubt, no room for anxiety because there is no need to be anxious when you have confidence hope in the Lord. We don’t have to ask ourselves “will God come through with this? Or will God deliver me? That is confidence, or in the words of the prophet David, “Super hope”. With confidence, you won’t be easily swayed or thrown by anything or anyone or any circumstances. And the key difference between confidence at hope? Well, confidence relies solely on the providence of God.
The next point to note is how do you strengthen or fortify this hope so that it turns to become Confidence. The answer again comes from the Angelic Doctor of the church. St Thomas says that both faith and confidence are intimately related – that confidence has its source and root in Faith. Hence the stronger our faith, the more deeply rooted our confidence will be. In fact, the word fides is used to both mean faith and confidence! They have the same meaning! No wonder Christ at many times tells his apostles to have faith…or have CONFIDENCE!
That doesn’t mean we don’t work for it and we do nothing – We too need to act, like a divine concert or orchestra. The conductor cannot produce beautiful music or a symphony if members are not playing their part and doing what they need to do. The divine orchestrator needs you to play the B Flat major on your trumpet and keep the rhythm of the drums going in order to produce a beautiful piece of music. So as St Ignatius says – Trust as though everything depended on God, work as though everything depended on you – basically just do your part and let God do the rest.
Most of the notes and reflections above have been derived from an aptly little book Book of Confidence which I am going through right now. I have been in this spot, too familiar with the feeling. What’s worse is my temptations have once again flared up during this period of waiting – I feel restless like a lion just prowling around. I am more irritable, less patient, basically, everything that is not of God’s spirit, I am doing all those things. But still, something is just holding me back from committing any mortal sin that I may regret in the road. Despite my wanting to give in to my temptations, I know God is there, I feel this is a major period of strengthening or rather perfecting that divine confidence I spoke about earlier. It’s like making my hope perfect by uniting and just trusting in God.
In the Old Testament, Prophets were always keen to remind the people of God’s faithful deeds. In fact, one of the reasons why the sons of Israel fell into temptation and sin was because they forgot the goodness of the Lord! Hence it was always up to the Prophets to recount, to remind them of God’s faithfulness.
Similarly in my own life, I too need to start practicing this habit of recounting God’s goodness to me. I will share a couple of stories in the next entry on my own “God-redeeming” moments, just to help stay and solidify my confidence in the Lord.
Right now, in this period there are 3 main things that are keeping me in this waiting period – my work where we had some unresolved issues which are quite nerve-wracking as we are going to go live in a month’s time and so it’s quite a trying moment – me and the wifey waiting for her to get pregnant again – this one needs no explanation, October 1st would mark 12 months since we started on this journey ( I will write about that whole episode in another entry!) and finally my financial investments, I have been waiting for a couple of days now for my payments to come through, but nothing has happened and it has been quite nerve-wracking as well.
Anyway finally, just wanted to end the note by saying I need to have confidence in the Lord. I don’t think God deems anything above as evil or bad. I just need to stay put and let the grace go through (not let sin destroy the grace pipelines that are flowing into my home). Thinking about that is also nerve-wracking and frustrating, but it is a painful and necessary process to grow in this season of Confidence. I am sure I will come out of this stronger and better in time to come.