232: Having Confidence – Confidence in God

There is a crisis in the church, according to A.W. Tozer, and it’s because our view of God is deficient. If we truly understood who God is, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”, we would never be afraid. In this passage, Pauls explains that his hope for the church in Corinth is ‘firm’ because he knows that, although they are suffering, they are receiving comfort from God. How can we access this comfort?

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A.W. Tozer

Words for the Week

2 Corinthians 1:1-7 (NIV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise to the God of all comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Isaiah 49:15-16 (NCV)

The Lord answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses?
Can she feel no kindness for the child to which she gave birth?
Even if she could forget her children,
I will not forget you.
See, I have written your name on my hand.
Jerusalem, I always think about your walls.”

Romans 8:31b (NIV)

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

holding-hands

Writer’s Thoughts

In order to be comforted by God, we need a firm grasp of his character. That’s why Paul starts his letter to the Corinthians by reminding them whom they follow. God is their father. God is a good father. It is shocking though tragically not unheard of, for a parent to forget their child. But God never stops thinking about us. He is a good father. (Isaiah 49:15-16). And he is not limited like our biological parents. He is omnipresent and eternal; everywhere and always.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A.W. Tozer

A complete grasp of God’s character is beyond us. Apparent contradictions are inherent in God’s nature; for example, he is outside of time yet compassionate, sharing in our sorrow and intervening in our daily lives. Tozer points out that we can’t fully explain anything – even a seed sprouting is shrouded in mystery. That’s where faith comes in; we fix our eyes on what is unseen, walking by faith and not by sight.

To fix our eyes on God takes discipline. The tide of our culture can be overwhelming, whispering or screaming to us that our identity is in our appearance, our achievements, our relationships, our possessions or our salary. Actually the only identity that matters is that we’re children of God. Do you think princes and princesses need to worry about their exam results? During an episode of teenage angst, I was blessed to hear the voice of God telling me that I’m a child of God and that’s all I need to know. This revelation has stood me in good stead since then, and (so far) I do feel like the tree that the prophet Jeremiah describes, that is unshaken by storms because its roots are deep in God.

Own it personally…

  • From where do you draw comfort? From food and drink? Your friends? (Nothing wrong with those things, in moderation!) Ultimately from God, your Father?
  • How might you see purpose in your suffering as Paul does?
  • To what extent are you able to share the comfort you receive from God with others?
  • Could you sharpen your focus on God as the source of life, mercy and comfort, perhaps engaging in a new spiritual discipline this week? Consider fasting or spending some time alone, not praying but just being in God’s presence.

Speak it Out – Pray and Prophesy

It is a good thing to give thanks unto Thee and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High, to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning and Thy faithfulness every night. As Thy Son while on earth was loyal to Thee, His Heavenly Father, so now in heaven He is faithful to us, His earthly brethren: and in this knowledge we press on with every confident hope or all the years and centuries to come. Amen
A.W. Tozer

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