On Sunday when I pulled into the parking spot at the congregation where I was preaching I noticed something that looked like a small rock pushed up against the curb. I took a second look and that small rock was one of the wild rabbits that live in the area.
I got out of the car and when he heard the noise of the door closing he opened one eye and glared at me. I took a few steps to go past him and he still didn’t move. I stopped and said to him, “you must be very confident in your camouflage to sit so calmly right now.” He opened both eyes and glared at me.
Smiling I went on into the church and didn’t think about him again until the next day when in the pool waiting for the class to begin I told about him as some of swapped weekend stories. In the telling it struck me that confidence in what is meant to protect us is what living in this life is all about.
Yes we have ups and downs. There are days when we are overwhelmed. There are times when we fear about the future and worry about what will happen, but we do have camouflage that protects us. We are surrounded by the love of God and it does protect us from the worst of all dangers… death in sin. But it isn’t only the ultimate protection that we have with God, we can have confidence that he walks with us in all circumstances. We don’t do anything on our own, unless we lock God out and in my experience that only makes things worse.
So I started thinking about David in his confrontation with Goliath. He was full of confidence. No doubt some of that was because he was a brash and arrogant and fearless young man with no sense of his own immortality. Oh to be so young again.
But it went deeper than that. David had confidence in God. That confidence came out when he spoke against Goliath who dared to presume to challenge the army of the living God. So much confidence that he readily went and volunteered to take on Goliath on behalf of God.
That confidence wasn’t only the fearlessness of the young. David had battled and overcome bears and lions and he knew that God was with him.
Saul was ready to take David’s offer, but he didn’t have that same confidence in God. indeed the whole army didn’t have confidence in God otherwise someone would havae stepped up to take the challenge.
Not only would Saul not take the challenge, he took every step he could to protect David. Covered in Saul’s armor David was weighed down and so encumbered that he could not even walk. We can be like that, placing our confidence in externals that don’t enhance our ability to walk in God’s service, but rather detract from it.
David’s response was to strip off the armor, find 5 smooth stones and go forth in the covering of the confidence he had in God and his God given abilities. And in that confidence he was able to approach Goliath and get close enough to do what needed to be done as a servant of God.
That rabbit had confidence in his camouflage, but he also had confidence in his ability to run off in a hurry if he needed to. He may have been annoyed by my presence and by my speaking to him, but he also knew that his ability to move quickly when need be was all the protection he needed.
What about us? How much confidence do we have in the abilities given to us by God to fulfill the mission and ministry to which we have been called?
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the pressures of life. Sometimes it feels as if there is more to do than I can accomplish. Sometimes I don’t know what I can do.
What I forget is that I am given God’s abilities. What I forget is that I am covered in God’s grace. What I forget is that the power of the Spirit abides in me.
I need to be more like that rabbit, annoyed but still calm and peaceful. I need to be more like David, confident that God gives me all the tools necessary to get the job done.
What I need is confidence in God.
Creator God, giver of all good gifts
Only you know what lies ahead of me and you have promised to hold the future as you have the past
Needs have never gone unmet
Fears have always been stilled in your Spirit
I have learned to trust you in the past and I comitt to trust you in the future
Daily I will renew my vow to have confidence in you
Encourage me as I walk the path you have lain before me
Never let me go
Call me forth
Encourage me with your grace
Inspire me with your Word
Nourish me with your Spirit
Gracious giver of my days
Only you have all that I need
Dependant upon you, I go forth. Amen