Excerpt From Confidence
by Martha Harris Bogue, from the March 1903 issue of the Christian Science Journal
Confidence is a quality of Mind, a quality of God. Since confidence is God-given, the statement “I lack confidence,” is false. The person who is declaring the lack of confidence to succeed is very confident of his ability to fail!
Jesus said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” We are to work out our salvation, — deliverance from the belief of power in evil — with fear and with trembling, not wait until we get out of fear and the trembling has stopped before we attempt to overcome. Is it His pleasure, His will, that we should fail in that which He has bidden us to do (resist the devil)? Is it His will that we should make mistakes? Of course not! We are to take up the cross daily, take up whatever is opposed to God that crosses our path, not as something, but as nothing, and put it out of the way.
Fear is faith in evil; courage is faith in God. Doubt is trust in evil. Confidence rightly directed is trust in God, good. When we are afraid we can ask ourselves: “Where is my faith? — what am I trusting in, good or evil, Spirit or matter?” If we fail, it is because our faith is in the wrong thing.
When a very young student, I was called to see a woman who had not stood on her feet or sat in a chair for over ten years. Medical science had entirely failed. My teacher had given my name to the invalid’s family, and I felt that obedience demanded that I should go. I surely went with fear and trembling. All the way I studied Science and Health, and all the time personal sense argued that someone else should have been sent, that if I should fail, the cause of Christian Science would suffer — until I almost wished I could take the train back and send an older practitioner.
Then the consciousness came that those in need had not sent for me, they had sent for Christian Science. I saw that all that was trembling and fearing had no part in it, could neither hinder nor help, that revealed Truth was to do the work, and it was competent, that I did have confidence in God, and these words came: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” My confidence in God’s ability, in the power of the Word, began at once to take the place of confidence in my own ability to fail. I left self-reliance behind, and with God-reliance went to the woman. I was able to remain only about four hours; but before I left the patient, she walked across the room and sat in a chair. The next morning she was dressed and went to her breakfast with the family. She has been a well woman ever since.
In this I learned that I must never let fear and trembling keep me from taking the step before me. We do not need confidence in our own ability, but we do need confidence in God’s ability and willingness to work in us, to give us dominion over all the earth, and we must have the willingness to take the steps and prove to ourselves and others that God is omnipotent.