Monday, February 07, 2011

In Quietness and Confidence?


Since I was raised in a large family, we learned to speak loudly to be heard, interject ourselves into conversation to be noticed and demand attention in order to be acknowledged. Since all my other siblings were older and male, this became a competitive challenge. So, I never equated being quiet with being confident. Usually, the more confident I felt, the louder I became.

When I was in university, this verse of scripture became very meaningful to me:
"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
I initially believed this meant that I should keep silent and act confident. "Act confident and confidence will come," one co-worker often coached me. Unfortunately, with my rather staunch opinion, neither of these qualities lasts. I can zip my lip only so long.

And what am I confident about? What I know? Someone always knows more. My talents? There are such talented people in the world, there will always be someone more gifted than I. Experience? Rather limited in some quarters. Reputation? That can be lost in a moment, through one bad choice. Circumstances? Can we say "change happens?" Possessions? Money markets are fickle, thieves target, fire and flood destroy without partiality. Popularity? Ask any celebrity how long that lasts.

So I can't be quiet, and my confidence has shaky foundations. However, as time and circumstance wear away like an ocean tide, smoothing the edges and chips on this ancient rock, I have begun to see a glimpse of the wisdom of this verse, if my confidence is properly placed. My sanity depends on it.

The "quietness" in this verse is not an adjective of "confidence." They both stand alone. Both are required for strength. How quiet should I be? Is this only about the decibel level of my words or is this about my physical posture? Do I need to sit quietly?
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
Or is this about waiting on the Lord?
"Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and he shall strengthen thy heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 27:14
In preparing to post this blog, I wanted to have the correct chapter and verse for "in quietness and confidence." There I had my surprise. It's in Isaiah 30 and the context is about spiritual rebels. Read it in full:
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,”
but you would have none of it.

You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee! 

You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

A thousand will flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you will all flee away,
till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
Psalm 30:15-18
"You would have none of it." What a shudder went through me. The consequences followed. They chose their own escape, and they ran like weaklings at the whisper that five pursuers might be headed their way. The result is that there is nothing left of them. Total breakdown.
"You're a flagpole on a hill with no flag, a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off." (verse 18, The Message)
So what is the formula for strength, not fear? For learning how to live day to day in this crazy, ever changing world with calmness and over-arching confidence? The Lord said it at the beginning: repentance, rest, quietness and trust. All based in a God of justice who longs to be gracious to you.

It's a simple A + B = C formula:
Quietness of heart + Confidence in God = Strength for the wild journey
The God of the universe longs to be gracious to me? If I accept that, instead of my human response: rebel, run away, numb my fear with the drug of the day, or work until I drop to attain recognition and praise, for what? I'm simply striving to obtain what I have already been given. If I wait for Him, the end result is clear: I receive salvation and strength, compassion and blessing.

Of that, I am quietly confident. How about you?

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for that post. I've often repeated that verse to myself over the years. In quietness and confidence... As I was reading this, I wondered what would be the opposite of quietness and confidence? Pleading, begging, worrying, mistrust, fear... all of those things lead to weakness and stress. I'm afraid I seem to hang out there a lot. I think the key is being 'still' and having faith that God will work things out in His way and His time. Waiting is hard work.

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  2. So true. I had to face that tonight as I had to reschedule a flight I had inadvertently booked on the wrong day. The possible complications were numerous, but instead of allowing the panic to take over, the Spirit reminded me to stop and pray. That made all the difference. It took much time, but the flight was rebooked with only a small rebooking fee. I choose confidence in God's appointments even if (or especially when) they scramble my plans.

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  3. Wanting to locate that verse to encourage my son today,I googled "scripture confidence and strength." Your blog came up and what an encouragement this is. Thank you.

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  4. Thank you. I was blessed by God's word as I read this again myself. His truth transforms. I'm glad it was an encouragement. That is the Spirit's work.

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  5. This was a good message
    Thanks so much
    Blessings to you

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  6. Beautifully written. This is a verse God has been impressing on me as we walk a path with my elderly parents-in-love.
    Thank you.

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  7. Almost 2 years after your posting and I'm finding, reading, and being blessed by your insight into this text of scripture. God always has a way and He knew that I needed more depth into what it means to be quietly confident in His sovereignty and providence. Thanks so much for the clarity and application. I shall hide this timely word in my heart for power and strength along the journey.

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  8. Quietness and confidence. Two vital elements of faith. Faith that helps us to send the mountains to the sea. So badly needed in our hectic life.
    Faith that simply waits. Because it knows that the Lord waits to be gracious to us.
    Thanks for the blog.

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  9. A word fittly spoken in due season for me! I need this word for this day. Trusting is easy. Being still while God is at work -- not so easy. No matter, the Word works when we work the Word. God's Love and Peace to you.

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  10. i am blessed by this word today.May i never forget and if i do mat The Holy Spirit remind me,always.In quietness and confidence shall be my strength.I pray that we will do as the word says and never forsake our confidence(trust and reassurance) in Christ, He never fails!

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  11. A word for me in due season. I wonder, how come I've never really understood this scripture until now? Thank you Holy Spirit for a fresh revelation and thank you Joyce for this beautiful piece. May God bless you.

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  12. I too, just googled the words 'In quietness and confidence..' and up popped your blog. I read from a blog above mine where someone wrote they are on a 'journey with their elderly parents-in-love,' and I thought wow, that is exactly why I googled those words. I am writing a letter to my mother-in-law who is passing on from cancer. I want her to know that she raised a most wonderful son (my husband) and that she can rest and be confident that God is with her. Also - the reason why I always come back to this verse is because a wonderful friend of mine (33 years ago) had a pillow embroidered for me. Before giving me the gift she asked me what my favorite verse was and I told her that it was this verse, 'In quietness and confidence shall be your strength....' The pillow she gave me had that verse embroidered on it. I still have it.
    Thank you for this beautiful blog.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this timeless truth, that showed up in my Google search at just the right time. Blessings.

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  14. I love this verse! Thanks for the A + B = C formula! That really simplifies this text. I have repeated it often over the years and now many times a day, as I wait for upcoming cat scans to see if my radiation treatment has killed cancer cells and a tumor I had. I am trusting the Lord for a complete healing and total restoration from all side effects!

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  15. Thank you for this post, which is so apt. I'm trying to help my niece, who is about to undergo spinal surgery and is terrified, sometimes to the point of hysteria. I googled this verse as I know it will really help her cope with all her fears.

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  16. Hello Joyce. I was searching for what the bible meant about quietness and confidence and your post on it popped up. The explanation and analogies were just what I needed. The ABC formulae is the best formulae one can get. Thanks so much. May God continue to fill you with many more inspirations.

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