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Confidence Versus Overconfidence

By Mark Davis Pickup

My wife says I’m over-confident. I know, it runs in the family. My grandfather was that way. During the Great Depression when he stood in breadlines, he demanded toast. 

Confidence is good. Overconfidence is not. A Christian can be confident in the Lord and that He will take care of him regardless of circumstances. It’s unbecoming for a Christian to be over-confident. It can lead to undue self-reliance, arrogance, and turning away from dependence on God. Never presume God’s will.

There were times, terrible times, when aggressive multiple sclerosis stripped me of basic daily abilities—like dressing myself or cutting my own meat at dinner, or even getting out of bed. And yet Christ’s presence was ever-present. His still small voice whispered, “Be not afraid, I Am with you.”[1] The sicker I became, the more real and profound His presence became. 

I was able to be confident in the Lord and accept what I was going through was serving a spiritual purpose for my own good.  In 2012, I was diagnosed with cancer. Again, that still small voice whispered, “Be not afraid, I Am with you.” A blanket of His peace descended on me so that I could finally say, “Not my will but Yours be done, Lord.” I could finally accept with confidence that nothing happens outside of God’s control. There was a purpose in what was happening to me. Decades of MS terror taught me that. I was content with wherever cancer would take me. Christ’s love would be with me. 

As I was waiting to go into surgery, my wife asked, “Are you afraid?” Certainly, there was concern, but I can’t honestly say I felt no fear. A blanket of God’s comfort inexplicably suppressed or extinguished wide-eyed fear. My gurney was wheeled into the operating room. As the anesthesiologist was about to put me to sleep, a well-meaning but annoying new-age nurse was telling me to relax and think of meadows, bunnies and butterflies. It wasn’t necessary. I was trying to pray to the Creator of all the meadows, the bunnies and the butterflies—and the Cosmos. Before the oblivion of anesthesia, again those words came to me. “Be not afraid, I Am with you.”

God was in control and He placed me in the hands of a skilled surgeon. I’m happy to say that eleven years later I’m cancer free. Not only that, I’m walking again after many years, and no longer wheelchair dependent. 

You see, I can be confident in the Lord regardless of what happens in this life. Yes, I can be confident in the Lord. Overconfidence would be registering for ballroom dance classes. 

This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at

[1] See Isaiah 41.10 & 13, John 6.20., Revelation 1.17. Cf. Matthew 8.26 & 14.26-27, Mark 4.40 & 6.50, Luke 12.7, John 14.27.