What does it mean to be confident? Webster’s dictionary says it is having a strong belief or a full assurance about something. Wouldn’t it be nice to live that way, with assurance and a strong belief that your life will go well? That would be nice. Of course, the opposite is uncertainty and doubt. No one wants to live like that.
It seems to me that the key to being confident is knowing the outcome. If you are watching you favorite movie for the eighth time and you already know the good guys win in the end, does it really bother you when the bad guys seem to have the edge? You are confident the good guys will win. Knowing that a journey ends as a great success makes all the little problems along the way bearable, and perhaps even trivial. You can be confident because you know the problems along the way will ultimately be gone.
What if you could look to the end of your life and see that everything turns out amazingly well? How would that affect your life? You could go through life with a smile. Whatever happened to you would not bother you. You would be confident.
The Apostle Paul had that kind of life. Certainly, Paul had troubles. One quick read of 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 will tell you Paul faced many unpleasant and painful trials. But he knew the end of the story. He knew that the good guys, Jesus and his followers, win in the end and that his life would turn out amazingly well. Jesus Christ had prepared a home for him in heaven by suffering on the cross, and he was confident God would keep his promise – “we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14).
The end of his life was a sure thing. So, no matter what happened to him throughout his life he could say, “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). He even called everything he suffered in this life “light and momentary troubles” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
We also have that promise from God. Jesus Christ took on himself the punishment we deserved for our offenses against God. Jesus has prepared a place for us in heaven, so we know the end of our story. We know that the end of our life turns out amazingly well. Whatever we must endure now are “light and momentary troubles” compared to the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When it comes to living our life we can smile. We can handle whatever happens. We can say with Paul, “Therefore we are always confident” (2 Corinthians 5:6).