The quest for confidence

A Christian Science perspective.

According to a recent Monitor article (Aug. 14), consumer confidence is lower than at any time in the past 60 years. This is in spite of signs that the recession may be coming to an end.

Many people are reluctant to trust positive economic signs. For those who are still experiencing the effects of the financial crisis, there is often little reason to feel confident. They need something more assuring than percentage figures when they are facing unemployment or the possibility of losing their homes.

The basis of a practical and enduring confidence comes from understanding that we all have an indestructible relationship with our loving Father-Mother God. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote, "Our surety is in our confidence that we are indeed dwellers in Truth and Love, man's eternal mansion" ("Pulpit and Press," p. 3). By placing our confidence in God as the only power governing our lives, we will experience the good that God is always giving to us.

Jesus' understanding of his relationship with God enabled him to live with a confidence undeterred by negativity. In the face of his disciples' doubt in his ability to feed 5,000 men and their families with five loaves of bread and two fish, he said with absolute assurance, "Give them to eat" (Mark 6:35–44). There was sufficient food for everyone, as well as 12 baskets of food left over. Jesus proved that God was the abundant source of all goodness and that every human need would be met.

In his parable of the wise man who built his house upon a rock, Jesus revealed the importance of having a firm foundation upon which to build our expectation of good (see Matt. 7:24–27). This parable also reveals how foolish it is to place one's confidence on a material basis, which, like the sand, is subject to shift and change. As we depend, however, on understanding our relationship with God, our lives will evidence stability and security that are the products of this understanding.

There was a time when my confidence in God's power and presence was really tested. I was in England in the middle of winter and was without a job. I was feeling buffeted by fear and depression every day. I felt very alone.

In Australia I had been trained and employed as a draftswoman. But in England, in the early 1960s, this work was not available to women.

I applied over and over again to drawing offices, but because of the discriminatory attitude regarding employing women, I was offered only work that was far below my qualifications and experience. The wages were very poor; in fact, it was impossible to live on the small amount that was being offered.

It is very frightening to be without a job and away from home. I knew this was a time to reach out to God in prayer and listen for His direction. All through my life I had trusted my relationship with God and had experienced the comfort and security of His power and presence.

I was sure that God was a God of justice and equity. Therefore, the discrimination preventing me from finding fulfilling employment was not coming from Him. Discrimination, in any form, was a denial of God as a loving Father-Mother. I acknowledged that there was never a time when there could be an unequal distribution of His unlimited goodness. My fear began to disappear, and I became confident that God would supply me with the ideas I needed to find employment.

After a few days in prayer, it became clear to me that I should apply for a particular draftsman's job, even though the advertisement specified a male candidate. I was obedient to this direction, and after a successful interview, I was given the position. My employer was impressed by my initiative in applying for it.

This is just one example of how placing our confidence in God's power and presence is the way to discover more of His abundant goodness. This goodness never fluctuates but is constant, available to meet every need. It is the sign of God's great love and the indication of His sheltering presence in our lives. We can trust these comforting words from Proverbs: "For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (Prov. 3:26).

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