Somewhat related to the idea of confidence is the idea of resignation. You may be scratching your head right now, but stay with me, briefly. When we have confidence in our God, of His standing in the breach for us, of His ability and willingness, His desire and commitment to love us, we become confident. We need not fear such situations as Tozer suggests:
...the pastor who motivates us to pray by assuming that we don't...
...the pastor who artificially divides our faith into either love of God or missions for God...
You get the picture.
As I consider this issue of confidence I am struck by something I read in "The Practice of the Presence of God" yesterday. One of the lessons that Abbe Joseph de Beaufort learned in his conversations with Brother Lawrence was the concept of "resignation" that is the idea of resigning ourselves to the reality in which God has placed us and finding peace in that.
It is a difficult matter to resign ourselves to something less than what we want, less than even what we believe the Lord wants for us. And yet, if God is who we say He is, He has allowed us to be exactly where we are. Brother Lawrence's secret in "resignation" is Paul's concept of learning to be content in all situations.
Further, Brother Lawrence shared with de Beaufort, the thought:
It occurs to me that we may easily be distracted by the general things of God (things which are indeed good and holy and righteous) and so miss the particular matters to which He would have us attend. That is that we can be just as distracted by godly things to which we are not called as to the worldly things that are not of God at all. We can become so enamored of the great things we want to do for God, that we completely ignore, become dissatisfied with, or never even pursue the simple calling He may so passionately desire for us.
This has been a personal struggle for me recently as I have chosen to decline to calls to serve as a pastor in light of my resignation to the reality that, for the time, I am called to just "be still and know that I am God." Called to not labor in ministry but to pray fervently and to attend to my own spiritual matters??? And yet, yes. Resignation to God's greater will.
One person, trying to get me to ignore the call I long ago perceived to pursue international mission stated that he thought "God leaves the door open for what we want to do. We can serve Him wherever we are, just as well in the USA as overseas. Why not take care of America first?"
These sorts of thoughts can easily resonate with our sensibilities, human reason, and earnest Christian desire, but when we settle on resigning ourselves to God alone and His desires, when we develop the confidence in Him alone to lead us properly, we can better examine what genuinely constitutes a call - whether is it to simply wash the dishes or continue to till the soil or perhaps to take the next step to pastor a church, to witness to our neighbor or family member, or even serve on an international mission field. When we allow ourselves to simply and graciously wait upon the Lord for His clear and particular/specific direction and only when it is clear to pursue it with appropriate passion, we can have the confidence that we are where we are intended to be, doing what the Lord intends for us to do, and not be moved.
My prayer is that we all might become fully resigned to His will.