For one who grew up with the well-deserved nickname "Worrywart Ruthie," I find living in today's world can be pretty scary. It's hard not to feel anxious while watching the nightly news. What will the repercussions be from America's war with Iraq and Afghanistan? When or where might Al Qaeda or some other terrorists strike again?
Sometimes my worries become more personal. Could I, or someone I love, become the victim of some sniper attack while going about our daily routines? Can I keep my grandchildren safe from the child abductors who seem to lurk everywhere?
Life that once seemed relatively safe now appears up for grabs, making me wonder: How can I live God's way in a world that often feels not only out of my control, but out of control, period?
I've come to believe there is a way to live with confidence—but it's not a confidence based on the worldly arrogance that somehow I can control my own destiny. Rather, it's a Christ-centered confidence, the kind the Bible calls "an anchor for our souls" (, NAS).
The apostle Paul wrote from prison to his dear but struggling friends at Philippi: "Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus" (, AV, emphasis added).
In that passage, Paul revealed three reasons why he could live with absolute confidence. They're the same reasons we can be confident, too—no matter what our personal, national, or global circumstances are.
We can live confidently because we know who God is.
Paul's entire reason for confidence is rooted in the character of God himself—not what Paul did or didn't see going on around him. He's absolutely certain of one thing: God is in control. Period.
This, of course, is a great mystery to us. How does God take into account Satan's fierce, evil opposition, along with the free will he gave humans, and still promise he can work everything together for good?
I have no idea. God never promises I'll understand him, but he does ask me to trust him. Believing that God is sovereign is vital for confident living. It means that when I've begged him to spare the life of a 24-year-old single mom struggling with Hodgkin's disease and she dies, or when he appears so horribly silent as suicide bombers attack once more in the Middle East, God's still in control. And he already knows how he's going to use these evil situations for his own purposes—even if it looks as though Satan's victorious now.