How confident are you? I expect we have been asked this question many times in the past. How often have we answered ‘Yes’, feeling completely sure of our abilities to carry out what has been requested? All too often, I would imagine, we have still said ‘Yes’, but felt that nagging doubt about our ability to undertake whatever is being asked of us. A question which we would probably not like to ask ourselves is this: ‘How often have I taken the easy way out and expressed confidence in doing something knowing full well that I cannot carry it out?’
In the ringing room, confidence is a good friend to have. We learn how to handle a bell until we feel confident that we can ring on our own. We then proceed to plain hunting and then method ringing – becoming confident as we progress.
Now look at the wider picture. I was asked recently ‘How confident are you about the future?’ I have to say that I am concerned about what this holds. I think that most of us would admit that we live in considerable uncertainty at present. There is little doubt that some of our rural churches are going to struggle to survive. A sobering question could be this: ‘Will this tower and its bells still be around for the next generation?’ More wide-ranging questions could be ‘How are things going to shape up after this devastating pandemic? How are we going to manage as the cost of living goes up? What is likely to happen on the international stage?’ There are no doubt many other questions to which we would like answers – and we probably lack a feeling of confidence.
However, amid all this rather dark uncertainty a beacon emerges which can be found in the Bible. Part of the opening verse of Psalm 27 should give us much reassurance: ‘You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe. You protect me and I have no fears.’
Reader at St Peter’s Church, Formby in the Diocese of Liverpool