This week I had a disappointment – the oh no a goal that is overdue to be achieved will take even longer, waaay longer, disappointment, and there’s nothing I can do but push through and wait. So I had to grieve – that’s nice for having rage, giveupness, frustration.
And then I had to connect a question I’ve been kicking around internally for the last few weeks to the situation. “In what confidence have you put your trust?” walked all over my irritation, anger, sadness, despair. Since the question entered my mind, I’ve used the question as a personal diagnostic for
- my life decisions that seem to be multiplying
- my professional goals
- my want to make a difference arenas
- my children’s futures
- my desire to travel
- my sense of peace or the lack thereof
- my prayers for people I care deeply about who are struggling
- . . .
But somehow applying “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?” (NIV) to this big problem that’s totally out of my control takes me deeper into considering my own foundational trust.
Initially the question came up as I am slowly reading through Isaiah 34-66 with John D. W. Watts as my teacher in the Word Bible Commentary. The question’s context in Isaiah finds King Hezekiah and the remaining Judeans in Jerusalem under the clearly more powerful Assyrian siege.
4 Then Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, “What is this confidence that you [b]have? 5 I say, ‘Your counsel and strength for the war are only [c]empty words.’ Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me? Isaiah 36:4-5 NAS
Hezekiah and his people faced annihilation, and everyone knew it. When the Assyrian messenger who challenged the obvious “false” trust in Yahweh to redeem His people, Hezekiah’s messengers best retort was to ask if the messenger could switch to a language not all of the hearers understood. At least the despair would be contained. Assyria had already obliterated Judea’s northern cousins, Samaria, deported survivors, and resettled other conquered peoples into the land. Not far away was a live example of what the destruction coming.
In facing my own despair, I like to contain it, and then I get a plan. Even if I don’t mean to, my mind goes solution searching, option finding. On what do you rest this trust of yours? (ESV) I trust in God’s goodness, wisdom, power, and willingness to help in ways I can’t imagine, but I take a few days to lay down my own solution spinout mental machine.
My own mind became bemused when US election concerns in my heart bumped up against this question. What is [the reason for] this confidence that you have? (AMPLIFIED) While people rage out of fear, spew venom out of anger, predict horrors untold out of hurt, and news commentators only job requirements seem to be attractive looks and inflammatory speaking patterns, I am reminded that when I ask myself, “What is the reason for this hope you have?” (NLV) the reasons for hope remain deep and wide in the vast goodness and power of God.
What is the trust, in which thou trustest? (WYC) Wycliffe Bible reveals the same Hebrew root in trust and confidence. I can rely, trust, depend on, have confidence in the Lord no matter whose name plate will be in the Oval office. I can rest easy, feel secure, fall down in ease, and put my trust in the One who directs the king’s heart, guides my endeavours and attempts, and makes paths straight that were crooked.
The water painted these trees in the sand, and the lovely painting may disappear with the next wave, but the one who created the trees, the sand, the waves, He reigns on His throne. He’s trustworthy.
In what confidence do you trust?