In Quiet Confidence

In returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. ~Isaiah 30:15

My wife tells a story of being in high school and having a motivational poster with a resting lion on it that said “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength”. She was not a believer at the time and, like most of our culture today, she misunderstood the meaning of that verse. I never saw the poster myself, but it is easy to imagine and may have looked something like the picture here. A big lion laying down in quiet rest does look rather confident. The message and impression that this poster gave to my wife, and would likely give to most people today, is that we are to be quietly self-confident like a lion that knows that he has the power to overcome any threat.

Now, as a believer, my wife uses this story to illustrate that the verse does not mean that we are to be quietly self-confident. It means, in fact, exactly the opposite. The NIV translates this verse as “ quietness and trust...” and the Amplified version says “ quietness and in [trusting] confidence...”  It is not in ourselves and in our own abilities that we trust and have confidence, but in God and in His faithfulness. We have no power of our own by which we may be saved but only by returning to God and resting in Him do we find salvation. Trusting in that knowledge, we find the strength to be quietly confident through all of life's challenges because God is with us.

The poster of the lion is not entirely misleading however. It is just that most of us have the tendency to incorrectly place ourselves at the center of the story. The lion does not represent us. In the Chronicles of Narnia, an allegory of the gospel, C.S. Lewis depicts Jesus as Aslan: the lion and king of Narnia. Scripture calls Jesus the lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5; Hosea 5:14). In the poster, the lion does not represent us, it represents Jesus. We can rest in quiet confidence through all of life's trials because we are watched over by the Lion of Judah, our mighty King.

The verse ends with “and ye would not”. This is where most of us are. In the secular world we are taught that it is our own strength that we need to rely on and if that fails to look to the secular institutions of man. As Christians we want to trust in God. We claim to trust in God, but most of the time, as we look around us and see the challenges of this world, we really prefer to take the reins of our lives into our own hands.

In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23) Jesus tells a story of a man who spreads good seed and how some of it is choked by weeds. He explains that there will be a tendency for us to allow the worries of the world and the want for wealth to overcome our trust in God and to choke out the fruit of our faith. God designed us to rely fully on Him. When we go our own way, when we allow ourselves to be distracted by worldly concerns and pleasures, when we place our faith in our own meager abilities then we are allowing the thorns of this world to separate us from God.

Are you placing all of your trust and confidence in yourself and in your own abilities, or are you resting and trusting in Jesus, our mighty King?

Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

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