Where Our Needs Are Met

Charles F. Stanley

    Maybe not every one can identify with Moses’ bowing before the burning bush. But certainly most of us understand the feeling of total inadequacy that swept over him once he realized the magnitude of God’s plan for his life. The Lord chose him to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage. And while Moses had been raised in a household where plotting military strategies was a part of common conversation, nothing he had heard or learned prepared him for what the Lord was calling him to do. Only God could meet his need. And this was exactly what the Lord had in mind when He assured Moses by saying: "Certainly I will be with you" (Exodus 3:12a).
     If you find it hard to compare your life to the life of Moses, consider the disciples and the grief and fear they experienced after Jesus’ death. For three years, they had been at the Lord’s side. They had learned the unfaltering dynamics of God’s truth and witnessed miracle after miracle, but nothing they had seen or experienced prepared them for the loneliness and overwhelming sense of loss they faced immediately following the crucifixion. Questions filled their minds as they wondered what would become of them and the work they had been trained to do.
     Only God could meet their needs. And this is exactly what the Lord had in mind when He told His disciples: "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. . . . I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3). Verse 18 provides tremendous assurance: "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
     What is your greatest need? Is it a need for wisdom, love, security, hope, or acceptance? Or is there a form of bondage in your life that you have struggled to lay aside, and after months or years of trying, you feel like giving up? God does not want you to feel hopeless. Your need, no matter how great it seems, is not greater than almighty God’s ability to provide. His strength is yours and He will provide for the need you have.
     God often brings healing when we seek Him. It may not always come the way we imagine, but the healing He brings leads to eternal joy and rest. God restores the brokenhearted. He lifts up and frees those who are enslaved to sin so that they may walk in newness of life.
     The apostle Paul was a noted scholar and capable man. Yet he discovered that his greatest weakness was the very point of Christ’s greatest strength. (Philippians 4:11-19) Moses’ inadequacy was just the right atmosphere for God to work mightily. Many times we think that in order for God to work in our lives, we must find a way to help Him. While God allows us to be involved in the process of having our needs met, His greatest desire is for us to learn to turn to Him first for the solution and not to ourselves.

We All Have Needs
God created us with certain needs that only He can meet. This is why Paul could easily write: "My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). He knew God would meet every need. But what about the times we suffer and feel disappointed, left out, and alone? What does God have in mind when He allows us to have needs that seem overwhelming?
     George Matheson provides insight: "A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence–that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of Man in the Garden of Gethsemane."
     Like us, Jesus had needs. He experienced hunger and loneliness. He cried at Lazarus’ tomb, not because He was weak or in despair, but because someone He loved dearly had suffered and died. He knew what it was like to love and have His love rejected. He came to earth to save us from sin, but He also came so that we might know He understands the needs we have.
     The greatest need that man has is a need for God. No matter how many times secular man denies it, there is a void in the life of the unbeliever that cries out to be filled with his Creator. When we try to meet our needs apart from God, peace is fleeting. Nothing we can do on our own can satisfy the deeper longings of the heart. We can purchase many things, but we can’t buy eternal peace. Only God can provide this.
     Usually the needs we have fall into one of three categories: a need for belonging, worthiness, or competence. From the world’s perspective each of these can be satisfied apart from God. However, from God’s perspective there is only one way for these needs to be met, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ.
God created you with a need to feel like you belong to someone or something greater than yourself.
     However, we often try to meet this need on our own by searching to find that perfect person who will meet all our needs. No one can do what only God can do. And none of us can meet all the needs of a mate, friend, or parent. Insecurities vanish when our security and need to belong is in Jesus Christ. The same is true when it comes to gaining a sense of worthiness and competence. We are worthy not because of what we have accomplished but because of who has taken hold of our lives. It is God who gives us competence and the ability to live, work, and raise our families.
     However, many people fail to understand that there is a process we must follow if we are going to have our needs met by God.
The first step in dealing with a need is to acknowledge that the need exists.
     Never be afraid to talk with God about the problem you face. If you are lonely or fearful, He wants to hear about your struggle. First you must trust Him, and one of the truest signs of faith is a humble heart that seeks God through prayer.
Seek His direction.
This may mean putting aside your personal desires so that God can provide for you. When Solomon took over his father’s throne, God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you" (1 Kings 3:5 niv). Solomon asked for "a discerning heart to . . . distinguish between right and wrong" (v. 9). In Proverbs God says, "I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me" (Proverbs 8:17).
Claim His promises.
Take time to study God’s Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to His truth so that you will know and understand God’s will concerning your need. (Psalm 55:1)
Be willing to wait for God’s best.
     Perhaps you have been seeking God concerning one particular answer. But even after several months or even years, God has not answered your prayers. Has He forgotten you? No. God loves you with an eternal love. He has a plan for your life that includes His best for you. Answering your prayer may be something that He does only when He knows it will bring the greatest blessing into your life.
     He wants us to be willing to wait for His best: for that right person to marry, for the perfect home that only the Lord can provide, or for the right job that will tap into our talent while challenging us to an even greater potential. The psalmist wrote, "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:13-14).
Thank the Lord in advance for meeting your needs.
     A thankful heart is an indication that you are trusting God. When you praise Him even before the answer comes, you are acknowledging your faith and total dependency on Him and Him alone.

If you have tried many of the above steps, you may wonder why your needs are still unmet. There are several reasons why God does not meet our needs immediately.

He may be waiting for us to relinquish control of our lives.
    We may be wanting to live life "our way." This is a primary reason God does not meet many of the needs we have. We fail to seek His wisdom and instead jump ahead of His plan. Any time this happens, we risk having that need go unmet.
     God has never failed to meet the needs we have. However, He can only do what we allow Him to do. He has given us a limited free will. This means that we can choose not to obey Him and go in another direction. Sometimes the issue may not be one of direct disobedience, but of spiritual laziness. God wants us to bring our needs to Him. When we fail to do this, we miss a great blessing. God cautioned the nation of Israel not to "walk by the light of their own fires." (see Isaiah 50:10-11) If they disobeyed, He promised they would lay down in sorrow and extreme disappointment. (Isaiah v. 11)
Another reason God does not meet our needs immediately is because we reject His methods.
    We may not always understand why He has chosen to lead us along a certain path. From our perspective, the way before us may look dark and even confusing. But from God’s vantage point, it is perfectly engineered to meet every need we have. Therefore, we must trust Him as David did when he wrote: "Even though I walk though the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me" (Psalm 23:4).
God cannot meet our needs until we are willing to deal with actual problems and not just the symptoms.
    If you are struggling with feelings of rejection or anxiety, these may not be root problems. The deeper need has to do with your sense of belonging. The key to a healthy self-esteem is not learning how to cope with the needs you face but discovering the Source of your needs, which is Jesus Christ.
Unconfessed sin is the biggest reason our needs go unmet.
    Sin blocks God’s flow of grace in our lives. There is never a time when He fails to love us. But He cannot bless disobedience. If there is sin in your life, confess it to Him and receive His forgiveness and restoration.
An unforgiving spirit hinders our needs from being met.
    The one attitude that can absolutely block God’s goodness is an unforgiving heart. When we refuse to forgive those who have hurt us, we erect walls around our lives. Some good may get in through the tangled weeds of bitterness and resentment, but it is quickly choked out. For those who have hurt you, this was Jesus’ command: Forgive as you have been forgiven. Remember, when you forgive another, you are not saying that what he has done was right, you are simply freeing yourself from the bondage of unforgiveness so that God can bring healing and hope to your life, and He will deal with the sin of another.
Doubt also blocks God’s ability to meet our needs.
    Jesus asked Peter, "Why did you doubt?" The disciple had seen the Lord walking on the surface of the Sea of Galilee and immediately wanted to walk out to meet His Lord. But the stormy sea caught His attention and his focus shifted from God’s mighty ability to his own weakness; Peter began to sink. Oswald Chambers says, "When God gives you a vision, transact business on that line no matter what it costs."
When we seek to have our needs met, but our motives are wrong, God must first deal with the attitude of our hearts.
    Manipulation, deceit, and selfish desire are chief enemies to our needs being met in the proper way. If our motives for asking God to meet our needs are not God-fashioned, then chances are they will go unmet until we submit to His plan and design. Jesus instructed His disciples to "seek first the kingdom of God" and all their other needs would be answered. Are you sure that the need within your life is God-driven, or is it self-desiring?
Needs go unmet when we fail to ask God to deliver us.
    Some Christians have a way of going through the storms of life with a self-determined demeanor. They are determined to "praise the Lord no matter what the opposition is." The Bible tells us that "Jesus wept." The Son of God had a need, and He knew how to be weak and allow His Father to do what no man could do for Him. Are you determined to be strong in your own strength or are you relying on God to meet your needs as you make them known to Him? The Father loves to hold His children, and nothing makes Him happier than to have you come to Him in loving humility.
     Many people do not know how to talk to the Lord about the needs they have. They may feel overwhelmed, or emotionally frozen inside and don’t know how to express themselves. God is not interested in the way you come to Him. He is not going to keep a progress report of your prayers. The most important thing to Him is that you come. It is a heart issue. When you turn to Him, He bends over to listen to your softest heartfelt whisper. He is that close all the time.
     Ask Him to help you discern between a real need and a desire. All desires are not bad or self-centered. The Bible tells us that He gives us the desires of our hearts. When we are focused on His will for our lives we will have a natural inclination toward the things that please God. Desires come and many times they are the doorways to tremendous blessing.
     Needs are God-given opportunities. They allow the Lord to work in a mighty way while proving His faithfulness to us.
     You may not understand all the needs of your heart. Some you may have met in illegitimate ways, and you wonder if God will forgive you and restore the hope you once had. The answer is yes! He is the God of second chances. Bring your needs to Him, and He will meet each one perfectly and completely so that your heart is filled to overflowing with His love and grace.

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