By DAN HALL
How to move from ‘hope’ to confidence
during turbulent times
I was raised in a time when spanking was still considered an appropriate form of discipline. I know the abuses, and I know what the so-called experts say. I still believe it was a great way to mold my character.
My siblings and I didn’t receive “whoopins” for many things, but when they were administered, they left an impression. My dad would use a belt, and we would have to lie still and “take it like a man.” (On reflection, I don’t remember my sister ever getting one, just my brothers and me! Maybe that’s where the therapist comes in?)
It was not uncommon for me to race upstairs and try to put on several extra pair of underwear in hopes that it would soften the blow. I also hoped that maybe this time Dad would just want to talk about it, help me see the errors of my ways. Those hopes were rarely realized!
Hope is a strong biblical word, but too often we use it as a fantastical projection of a desired end: I hope I lose weight; I hope my investments grow; I hope my husband notices my haircut. We can all fill in our own sentences.
However, biblical hope is not based on a whimsical fantasy, but on confidence in something that cannot be violated. If I walk off the building, I have confidence I will drop like a rock.
In this season of chaos, uncertainty, pandemic, and political and social upheaval, many of us hope lots of things: We hope our candidate gets elected; we hope our economy turns around; we hope the Saints can get through the playoffs without an idiot call by the referees. Then we are often sorely disappointed.
Biblical hope is based in confidence. In these times, believers have true hope because it’s built on immovable truth. Let me juxtapose three whimsical HOPES against biblical CONFIDENCE:
● My hope is not in Washington D.C., but my confidence is in a God who has successfully ruled for all of eternity. I don’t know who will be president in January, but I do know who will rule the universe: our Father who directs the heart of the leaders in His hand like a waterway (Proverbs 21:1).
● My hope is not in Wall Street or the American financial system, but my confidence is in a God who owns all things. As demonstrated by the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, our Father will not abandon His children: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).
● My hope is not in the American “way of life,” but as a child and citizen of heaven, my confidence is in my Father — remember, the One who rules and owns all things — who has committed Himself to finish what He has started in me (Philippians 1:6).
I’m old enough to have experienced great successes and painful failures. If I focus on either one, it produces either arrogance or despair. But when I focus on my Father, His grace lowers the mountains and raises the valleys for His people to walk on level ground. Let THAT be our confidence in these turbulent times!
Dan Hall is an executive and strategic coach to leaders and executive teams. He also works with organizations on team building, conflict resolution and communication skills. He and his wife, Hazel, have six children and four grandchildren. You can reach him at Dan@OnCourseSolutions.com.