There is a line in an old prayer that says, "in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength". The time I take for quietness is certainly one of the pillars of ongoing strength for me, but the experience of confidence is sometimes more illusive. As I talk to God and ponder my days in quietness, doubts and uncertainties surface readily while the confidence I seek needs to be actively pursued.
When we get into a taxi we do not want to hear the driver tell us that he thinks he knows where he is going; or in a hospital, we don't want to hear a surgeon say that perhaps she knows what she is doing; in a vulnerable moment, we don't want to hear someone we love tell us that she thinks she loves us. These people may not be able to promise ultimate outcomes (there may be traffic detours, or complications in surgery or disagreements in relationships) but past experience and a measure of confidence can provide much assurance.
As we expect others to have the confidence to carry out their tasks we too need to claim our own confidence. Half way through a dive into a pool is not the time to wonder whether one should make a dive, the diver's boldness and confidence is what will make it happen and not belly flop. In our experience of God a level of confidence is critical. Once we venture forth in faith, once we feel a longing to know more of God, or a need to hold onto that which is greater than all, we need to do so with a core of confidence. Even in our sin there is a need of confidence, letting God know exactly what and who we are is the only way that God can truly reach deep within our innermost self. If we hide and wait until we have made things right it will never happen. Confidence must be gained through practice and it must be claimed through determination and courage.
The confidence of a taxi driver comes from driving around the city many times, the confidence of a surgeon comes from many surgeries, the confidence of a lover is the experience of many trials together and knowing that the love has endured. The confidence of faith ultimately only comes from the ongoing relationship and experience of God's love again and again. Knowledge is good and needs to be sought, but the experience of grace, answers to our prayers, and the constant presence of our Lord only comes from receiving it again and again.