Fear is confidence? Can that be? In this life, we view fear as a lack of confidence. In fact, we'd go so far as to say it's the exact opposite of confidence. Fear evokes stress, worry, anxiety, and a whole host of negative emotions. It steals our breath, our energy, and our joy. It magnifies problems and diminishes our faith in God. Fear, in that sense, is a very bad thing.
But the fear of the Lord brings about confidence and chases away fear. Yes, it sounds strange: fear dispels fear, but we must understand the exact meaning of the phrase "fear of the Lord." It's not an anxious emotion driven by scary thoughts or events but rather a deep-seated faith in God and a desire to serve and obey Him. It is based on a reverential awe of God. The fear of the Lord takes away all other fear. I like how StudyLight.org puts it:
When we fear the Lord, we need not fear anything else because we are fully trusting in God's promises to lead, guide, and care for us. We know that He is with us every step of the way and He constantly protects us from harm. When He does allow trials to come our way, He provides strength to make it through and a heart to praise Him in the storm.
It was the fear of the Lord that allowed David to stand confident before Goliath. That same fear of the Lord kept the three Hebrew children firm on their feet when they were instructed to bow to Nebuchadnezzar's idol. Daniel never feared the hungry lions because he had confidence in God. Throughout the Bible, we see men and women who stood firm and confident in the face of persecution because they were holding fast to God's promises. And we can do the same.
Let me say here that being a believer does not automatically mean we fear the Lord. While we may stand in awe of Him and strive to obey Him, we have a tendency to look at our problems more than we look to Him. We fear circumstances more than we fear the Lord. We put our trust in what we can see, do, figure out, and so on rather than in the truths of God's Word. And until we replace worldly fear with the fear of God, we won't know the true peace and confidence that can be found in ultimate surrender.
That being said, here's a quick tip for finding confidence in God. When I'm feeling afraid, I ask myself a few questions.
1) Is God bigger than this problem? - The answer is always "Yes."
2) Is God afraid of this situation? - The answer is always "No."
3) Is God afraid of anything? - Again, no.
4) Does God love me and want what's best for me? - Definitely.
5) So why should I fear? - In short, I shouldn't.
There is confidence to be found in trusting the One who is always confident. God is sure. He is never in doubt. He is never moody or fickle. He owns all, controls all, and sees all. And He loves us too much to let anything bad happen to us. Yes, it may seem bad from our perspective, but remember, we only see the now. He sees what will be and how our current trial will help us to grow and become what He wants us to be. He's on our side. We cannot lose! So, why should we fear?