In the original German edition of the catechism, the phrase here speaks of having guter zuversicht, it speaks of a good “confidence,” a good “trust,” or a good “faith” in our faithful God and Father. But what does it mean to have a “good confidence” or a “guter zuversicht” in God?
Confidence refers to the level of one’s trust in another. Perhaps one of the classic illustrations of this trust is found in a child jumping off the edge of a swimming pool into the waiting arms of his father — perhaps fearing the unknown of the water but trusting in the strength of his father’s arms and with the assurance that his father will keep him safe. When the prophet instructs us what God demands of us as believers, one of those things is that we “walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). That humble walk implies that we are walking having placed our confidence in God.
Interestingly, confidence in the western culture is sometimes viewed as being presumptuous and egotistical. Yet, this kind of overconfident attitude only comes when one is placing confidence in oneself. When one places his or her confidence in God by faith there is no room for bragging or pride. Instead, we are quietly relying on the strength of our God to deliver us from the threat of the situation.
The core of what the catechism is instructing us in question 28 can be found here. It is because God has ordered all things by his divine providence and because I belong to Him in Christ, I have no need to fear what is to come. I have good confidence in the plans and designs of Him who orders and ordains all things by his providence and I will not question his purpose. This, friends, is what it means to have a gut zuversicht.
Even so, sometimes the eighteen inches between the head and the heart can be a difficult bridge to cross. We understand an idea intellectually, but bring our hearts to a point where we live like it can often be a great challenge. We like to worry and fret over things, yet the scriptures and the catechism seem to make it utterly clear that we have a God who hears our prayers, who cares for us in our times of need, and who acts in this fallen world, ordaining all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). So, in what shall we fear? We shall fear none but God alone and serve and love Him as our God and Father with good confidence because is our Father and will use all things to conform us into the image of his Son, Jesus.