|"Sibyl" by F. Graham Cootes|
as seen in the book
The Eyes of the World
by Harold Bell Wright, copyright 1914
Friday, September 12, 2014
"In Quietness and Confidence..."
"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
I've been reading this vintage book the past few days, The Eyes of the World, by Harold Bell Wright, written in 1914. The frontispiece is this charming picture above. Isn't she lovely? In my view, this young maiden represents the image of a woman of true beauty and grace. The Bible verse above..."In quietness and confidence shall be your strength," is exemplified in her calm, serene expression. (I love the Irish Setter's expression of trust and admiration as well. Isn't he gorgeous?)
I find myself wishing I could emulate the confidence of this young lady in my own attitude and actions. All too often my first reaction to stressful or difficult situations is to become defensive or protective of my own position, which is probably a normal reaction, but it is not necessarily the best reaction.
My "One Word" choice for 2014 is the word "Strengthen". As I look back over the past eight + months of this year, I can see how God has been putting me through some pretty strong strengthening exercises. If you have followed this blog very long, you have a pretty good idea what I am speaking of without me having to go back over it all again. Am I getting stronger? Well, maybe not so much in the physical sense, but inwardly, spiritually, emotionally? Hmmm, I have to think about that as well. Oftentimes we cannot measure our own increasing strength. It has to be put to the test. Frankly, I'm not so sure I want to be put through anymore tests. I'd like to cry "Uncle!" and say "Enough!" And yet, I know that my tests, as heartbreaking and sorrowful as they have been, have not been nearly as hard as what many others have endured. I am thankful for God's great mercy and graciousness toward me and my family. If I have been strengthened at all, it is in this one regard...I am thankful for His kindness and mercy.
Sometimes it seems that we are allowed to go through difficulties in life to bring us to a place of trust in God's mercy and grace. Perhaps He is waiting and watching, ready to lend us aid at any moment, but like a parent teaching a child how to walk, ride a bike or how to swim, He holds back and lets us try it on our own first. If He always made the way easy, or did things for us, we would never learn how to stand on our own. We would never be able to run with confidence...and rather than grow stronger, we would become weaker and lack the stamina to hang in there when the going gets tough.
The end result of these tests should bring us back to that place of "rest"...."In returning and rest you shall be saved..." and in the process we learn what it means..."In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." No one who knows me has ever commented on my "quietness"...it is not one of my normal characteristics to be "quiet" for very long. But as we grow in confidence and strength in the Lord, there is a "quietness" of the spirit...a calming of the heart and mind that comes with maturity and the knowledge that God is in control in all things.
I like these verses further on in the passage:
"Therefore the Lord will wait,
that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him."
He will wait for me to "firm up" in the process of these strengthening exercises. He knows that when I reach that place of "quietness and confidence" He will show me His grace and mercy, and He will be exalted...and I will be blessed.
Thank you, Lord, for your graciousness and mercy shown to me. Thank you for waiting for me...and I'm so glad I've waited for You. Amen.