I imagine that Barack Obama thinks this is a good day- a very good day for him. It's a turning point for our nation. It's a new day as far as closing out a former presidency and ushering in not only a new president but a new hope and a vibrant confidence. I don't think I have it wrong when I say that Obama is confident. He is very confident. And that dazzles us. It revs up our engines; it cheers up our flagging spirits. The nation is responding to Obama's charismatic confidence.
The other day I was racing out the door, with Abby, to do an errand. I got in the car and drove a couple hundred yards down the street with a sense that everything seemed blurry and unfocused. Then I quickly realized that it really was blurry and unfocused! I didn't have my glasses on! Thank God I kept a pair of prescription sunglasses in the car. I quickly grabbed them from the compartment and put them on and looked over at my daughter and began laughing. That was a close call.
I know what you might be thinking- that I'm getting old and forgetful. But it's really more that I've gotten so used to going around without my glasses on, while inside our home, because my vision isn't that much better with the glasses on. Supposedly I am supposed to be able to read things up close, with my glasses, as well as see things far away. But my eyes keep changing. I think my eye sight might have even improved, lately. But to prove that I 've got to get to the eye doctor and get my eyesight checked. He'll be able to tell me how I'm really seeing things.
As to how I am seeing things, from a spiritual perspective, only God can verify that. But the interesting thing is that there is also a corresponding manifestation of how spiritually confident you are: you keep wanting to draw closer to Him when your confidence in Him is growing. The more confident you are of His love and His grace for you, the more spiritually confident you are to go to him for more, to draw near to Him for whatever concerns you. "We are not of those who draw back" Scripture tells us.
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him" (1 John 5:15,16). How you know that God hears you is quite a subjective thing, I think. It might be like when you are talking with someone and they keep looking away or getting a glazed look in their eye or suddenly interjecting that they have an emergency appointment at the office that they suddenly just remembered. You get the idea, then, that they really are not hearing you. They may be listening to you, in a strict literal sense, but they're not hearing you. You have not been heard.
One of the greatest gifts that God gives His children is this access to Him that causes you to not only be able to tell Him everything on your heart, but you also know that you've been heard. I don't think too many of us actually try to go to God with an intentional quest to ask Him something outside of His will. Most of us are not trying to use God as a slot machine. But because of this part of the verse "if we ask anything according to His will", some of us don't have any confidence to ask Him anything at all. We're sure that we are sinful or selfish or at least ignorant of the complete, holy will of God. So we don't want to draw near and ask Him anything at all. We disqualify our self from the outset.
But you don't need to do that. You can draw near to God and tell Him, from the outset, that you're not sure if what you're asking is His will. You can tell Him that you would like to be in His will. That , though you don't understand His will too often, you are sure that there are reasons for His will. God is not a temperamental, hot-then-cold being that you might rile up if you go to him at the wrong moment. He's all there, all the time, all ears. He really wants to hear you.
I can't tell you what a gift it's been to experience this truth, and see myself grow in this deep inner confidence. I have nothing on the outside that would embolden you to greater confidence in me. I haven't had any big accomplishments lately. Not even sure I've had any measurable accomplishments at all- except that I haven't burned any dinners lately, and I haven't gone off driving without my eyeglasses since that one time. That's progress. But those are not real accomplishments.
Yet I am a woman whose spiritual confidence is growing. These last couple weeks, I just feel the grace to be able to draw near to Him- and so I do...constantly. I feel His approval. I even have heard the Lord correcting me on some things- and by cooperating with God in addressing certain issues in my life, there is a new found freedom and joy and ...more confidence.
You're not going to be dazzled when you see me, though. You won't be able to partake of my confidence and have it affect you as in a ripple effect. The only thing my confidence in God can do for you is to whet your appetite and make you wonder what it would feel like to be running to Him boldly and joyfully. Everyone can be confident in Him. You can mount up with wings as eagles, as it says in Isaiah. There will be a sense that take-off has occurred. You're not on the same runway anymore, hoping He'll hear you, wondering if God will hear you.
Try it. Dare to draw near to Him in good faith. For whatever point in your life that you are at, in whatever situation or history you have- dare to approach God with your need and your hope of being heard by Him. He made a way for you to come to Him. Approach Him, then. Botch it up as you do so. Mumble and stumble. It doesn't matter.
You're not going to feel roaring confidence before you go to Him. You'll feel it as soon as you get close enough to see and sense that God drew you in, so that He could fill you up, so that you could walk out, confidently, into the world, sure of only one thing. He's real. Powerfully Real. That's your answer for a lot of things in this shaky world, in these uncertain times of change.
That's your answer. That's your confidence speaking. That's you- no longer on the runway, but above it all, seeing things in a whole new light.