In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26 (ESV)
My text today in my Bible reading plan included the above verse from Proverbs 14:26. As soon as I read it, I stopped there for a few minutes to soak it in. It was like a balm, a consolation, a gracious word that nourished and provided healing.
I’ve been thinking lately about homeschooling and what a tremendous responsibility it is. Many times I feel incompetent and inadequate to undertake such an ambitious endeavour. I’ve been plagued with doubts about my abilities and skills and knowledge. Sometimes, I’ve even found it hard to sleep at night. There is a multitude of opinions, curricula and beautiful social media posts floating on the internet. It’s hard to be oblivious to all this information. I like to tell people who ask me about homeschooling, that I’m “trying” it out and that my husband and I will evaluate our decision regularly to see how we are faring. “We” includes me: how am I doing? Am I coping? I laugh and say, “I really don’t know what I’m doing”.
Merriam-Webster defines the word “confidence” as “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances”. My confidence ebbs and flows depending on how I feel about myself, how I think others see me and how successful (or not) I have been at certain tasks. It’s messy and complicated.
Over the years, the Lord has patiently taught me more about the word “confidence”. I’ve realised that being confident in myself is actually quite a pathetic state to be in. We are fallible creatures with finite strength and limited wisdom. I can’t possibly know and teach everything perfectly to my children. I acknowledge that. Amidst the struggle, I thank God that He made me this way. I thank Him for making me weak, needy and vulnerable. I’m glad that I don’t have my act together, my life is often chaotic with things like meal plans and exercise schedules falling apart and don’t even get me started on my emotional life!
I thank Him because my weaknesses and messes are a merciful reminder (and often a course correction) to rely on Him and not on myself.
Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
Isaiah 41:13 For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
God is saying that if we fear (honour, revere, trust) Him and strive to walk in His ways, He will be my confidence and my children will find a refuge. What an incredible promise! God is not concerned about my qualifications or expertise or skills in homeschooling. He does not want me to fear these things. Instead, he focuses my eyes on Him and tells me to fear Him. Fear not trusting Him, not relying on Him, not believing His promises.
If I fear him and trust in his promises, he will take care of the rest.