Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
Confidence. They say it can make all the difference in one's life. Oftentimes athletes with similar skills and abilities perform vastly different under pressure. Why? Confidence -- it's the abundance or its absence that matters. Confidence in your abilities, in your strength, in your talents -- it can make a big difference in how well you deal with the issues you are facing today. But this text speaks of an infinitely greater confidence -- one that you can have when you are overwhelmed, beaten down, without hope. How can you be so confident then? Well, if you are a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul says that even there, you have a God who is "for you" in Christ, who promises you that all things do indeed work together for good to those who love Him.
I call that "Christ confidence." It's a confidence in the Resurrected One, the Lamb who was slain, but who has now begun His reign; all things are indeed under His feet. It's a confidence in the One who says that nothing in this world will separate you from His love. It's a confidence in His Word no matter the dangers and distresses that seem to be all around us.
During World War II, a passenger ship set sail from Great Britain, heading to the port in New York City. The captain of the ship was, shall we say, not very confident in his ability to navigate the dangerous waters of the ocean for the safety of his passengers on board. He was rightly afraid of enemy vessels, dangerous ships, and submarines. So he sought the advice and guidance of the British admiral. The admiral calmly assured the captain that no matter what happened, he should be sure to sail his ship straight ahead. He gave the anxious captain these words: "Don't take any detours. Sail the ship straight ahead. Continue onward, heading straight towards the intended mark."
But after several days of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, waters filled with submarines and enemy vessels of all kinds, the captain spotted an enemy destroyer off his forward bow. Nervously, he grasped the handset and called for assistance. Again, he heard a calm voice saying, "Keep on straight. Do not detour. Just sail the ship straight ahead. Everything will be just fine. Just keep on going straight to mark."
After a couple more uneasy days, the ship pulled safely into the great harbor of New York City. Shortly after the ship's docking, the great British battleship man-of-war pulled into port behind the passenger vessel. The captain realized that while he did not see the British battleship, she was there, standing by, ready to come to his defense at any time.
There are times when we feel we are sailing on the oceans of our life all alone. But Romans 8 reminds us that it's not man-of-war on our starboard bow that protects us, it's the resurrected Savior Jesus who is with us always. Faith in Christ breeds Christ confidence for life. As Martin Luther says, "Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. Indeed, He did, and we can too in those Reformation proclamations of grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give us the confidence that comes through faith in You and not mere faith in ourselves. Give us Christ confidence to face the challenges of life each day until we see You face to face. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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