On New Year’s Eve my wife and I enjoyed fish and chips in style in a local park (table cloth and cutlery at a table and bench) while we reflected on our 2017, then on New Year’s Day we spent a couple of hours over lunch sitting in the shade of a tree on the foreshore of a metropolitan beach, strategising, contemplating and visioning for our 2018.

In each case we considered and prayed about God’s goodness, his glory, his grace and his guidance in the context of trust and confidence in him.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” Jeremiah 17:7

While these words, trust and confidence, have similar connotations and are used similarly throughout the Bible, in my mind trust is more about an inner sense of peace that comes with accepting Jesus (as Lord and saviour), whereas confidence gives me a sense of strength for action (serving in faith).

In western secular society being blessed tends to be embraced as things like material wealth, physical health, happy family, easy life, sporting prowess, intelligence, power or status. But God does not promise these things; in fact if this was the case, the gospel would be about gaining these things and not about gaining Jesus – there should therefore no surprise that we are told not to focus on these things or to trust in man (or ourselves) but to trust in God (eg. Mark 8:36; Prov 3:5).

Instead, God promises a relationship with him, forever (John 3:16). What better blessing could we hope for, and therefore what better reason to trust in the Lord and have confidence in him for the future.