They’re everywhere. Finding distressed, discouraged, and despondent people in the ranks of self-proclaimed ‘Christians’ these days is about as difficult as finding strange-looking folks at a Star Trek convention. Those that get information from sources other than mainstream media are discovering incontrovertible evidence of collusion and corruption at every level of government, short of maybe the local animal control department. We’re all seeing the news of that corruption being artfully ignored by the Clinton campaign cohorts in the propaganda business. They’re too busy regurgitating their endless political mantra to deal with corruption. They have to get their message out, ‘Donald Trump is a repulsive, tax-dodging Neanderthal unfit to serve’, followed by, ‘Secretary Clinton may have accidentally made a digital mistake somewhere once, but it’s not really important, and she is going to win this election in a landslide.’
Reports from the inside-the-beltway Republican nobility only add to the bleak picture. They’re signaling a sense of relief, thinking that the long, miserable night of this campaign is finally almost over, and the dawn of their return to power is approaching. Trump, they hope, is going down to ignominious defeat, and soon they will finally be able to regain control and resume the game they play with their Democrat counterparts whom they outwardly pretend to oppose.
The Prophet Rasmussen Has Spoken ~
No wonder folks are despondent, especially those who understand what ‘progressives’ like Hillary Clinton actually stand for. How else could they feel when they see what progressive policies have already done to America—and will continue to do if she’s elected? With all the pundits looking at the polls and declaring a Clinton victory, what can the faithful do other than just give up and slip into a state of despair? It all comes down to the polls anyway, doesn’t it? And hasn’t ‘Christian America’ already admitted that you can’t fight statistical analysis? And didn’t we already take our ‘prophet’s mantle’ and lay it over a Rasmussen computer? We might not like what they tell us, but if the prophetic pollsters are saying it’s over, then maybe we ought to just admit that we’ve lost and get it over with. After all, who can be confident of winning anything if the polls are against us?
Sound familiar? Upside down thinking like that makes me want to reach for the Pepto Bismol. Despondent people are not bad people, but their influence is caustic and at best, not helpful. Their contribution in this battle is about as beneficial as layers of barnacles encrusting the hull of a racing sloop. They add nothing but unnecessary weight and resistance, and help no one but the opposition. But so many of the faithful are feeling dejected these days and wondering how to counter the impact of those negative polls and doomsday reports declaring that we’ve already lost. Confidence is being lost – because it’s being misplaced.
Considering God’s Perspective ~
God had something to show us about confidence and we need to review and reinforce it. He illustrated it in someone who knew what it was like to have the full force of an oppositional popular culture and pagan philosophy thrown against him every day. Imprisoned because of his faith in Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul had plenty of reasons to feel overwhelmed, intimidated, defeated, and despondent, but he displayed none of that. Remarkably, out of the midst of all that, God moved him to comment on the status of his confidence.
Regarding faith and confidence, Paul didn’t have a stream of statistically reinforced data to support a positive outlook. Instead, he highlighted what he did not have, and said,
“For we…worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…” (Philippians 3:3 NKJV).
Rather than give evidence for having it, Paul’s response to the issue of confidence was to attack our favorite place to get it.
In spite of his prison environment, Paul was not despondent. He projected confidence, but not the kind of confidence we commonly encounter. It was not based in himself or those around him. When it came to his own skills and training, he declared them empty and worthless. Nothing of any human origin offered him a reason to expect success. There was no polling data available to undergird his faith—no focus group reports to offer hope—and no encouraging predictive authority to which he could turn. All he had was belief in the One he served.
Confidence is easier to generate if it’s bolstered with some predictive evidence. Stepping out and standing on faith is a lot less intimidating if we’ve got some scientific research affirming that there’s something out there to step on. We adore supportive data, and the more ‘scientific’ it is, the more confident we can be. Give us some polls with a 12 point positive spread and we can strut our ‘faith’ around like a peacock.
Faith—Confidence from a Different Source ~
Paul didn’t have any polls to turn to. And he willfully abandoned any trust he had in anything to do with his accomplishments, skills, abilities, or social class. It wasn’t that he didn’t have confidence, only that he refused to base it on anything or anyone except the person and power of Jesus Christ alone. When you consider the outcome of a few of Jesus’ match-ups, that’s not such a bad idea . . .
- Jesus vs. Incurable Leprosy – Healed—without any faith-supporting polling data
- Jesus vs. Congenital Blindness – Sight restored—and no faith-building polling data involved
- Jesus vs. Deafness and Associated Speech Impairment – Hearing and speech established—no data hinting at positive expectations
- Jesus vs. Uncontrollable, Spirit-induced Psychotic Tantrums – Soundness restored—no supportive poll numbers
- Jesus vs. Four-day-old Post-mortem Situation and Burial – Focus group would give faith no chance
- Jesus vs. His own Death and Burial – 2000+ Easter celebrations, in spite of no scientific predictions of success
Our ‘right side up thinking’ should tell us that the pollsters can poll all they want, and the focus groups can focus until their eyes cross, but if faith depends on them, then it isn’t faith. Let’s fight the fight till it’s over, but only deposit our confidence and our joy in the One who’s given us all the evidence we need.
© 2016 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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