“Dear Friends . . . we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21).
That’s an amazing statement of faith, isn’t it?
In this ongoing pandemic that has re-shaped so much of life, in times of loneliness and distress, in times of illness and loss—dear friends, we have confidence before God.
When you spend two days in a row in emergency with your husband and a third day sorting out his medication since what the ER doctor prescribed doesn’t come in that dose—dear friends, we have confidence before God.
Whatever is happening in the world around us, whatever is happening in our personal lives and household bubbles—dear friends, we have confidence before God.
That line “we have confidence before God” is just one snippet from the letter of 1 John, but that message of reassurance undergirds many other portions of Scripture.
When Peter and John were put in prison for healing a man crippled from birth, Peter insisted, “It is by the name of Jesus Christ . . . that this man stands before you healed. Jesus . . . has become the cornerstone. Salvation is found in no one else” (Acts 4:10-12). Because of Jesus, Peter had confidence before God.
In Psalm 23, the psalmist had confidence in the Lord as the shepherd who brought restoration and comfort, loving kindness and mercy. There was no need to fear death or evil or enemies. Instead, the psalmist had confidence before God.
In the gospel of John, Jesus is identified as the shepherd who cares for the sheep, who knows the sheep and who calls them by name, who protects the sheep with his own life (John 10:11-15). With Jesus the shepherd watching over us—dear friends, we have confidence before God.
That doesn’t mean that all of our problems disappear. That doesn’t mean that we will sail through every challenge. But it can put those things in perspective, and can renew our energy and sense of purpose. Because we have confidence before God, we can persevere through the challenges of this life. Because we have confidence before God, we have hope for today and for the future.
This is not a confidence based on our own thinking. Because sometimes we don’t think straight, or we can’t think straight. This is not a confidence based on results. Because sometimes in spite of our best efforts and in spite of our most earnest prayers, we don’t get the results we expect. This is not a confidence based on our personal feelings. Because feelings can come and go—depending on whether we had enough sleep last night, depending on whether or not the sun is shining.
At times our own hearts may condemn us, but that hardly matters to 1 John. Because whatever we might think or feel in our hearts, God is greater! For 1 John, our confidence before God is grounded in the One who knows us even better than we know ourselves, who loves us so much that Jesus came to lay down his life for us.
So whatever challenges we face before, during, and after this pandemic, whatever others or our own hearts might say—dear friends, we have confidence before God.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Where do you need more confidence before God? Write a prayer asking God to deepen your confidence.
For more on writing and other acts of faith,