State the difference between a "need" and a "want".
Sometime in the course of our lives we have wondered about the difference. Here are their respective definitions, according to Dictionary.com:
WANT: Something desired, demanded or required: A person of childish, capricious wants.
NEED: A requirement, necessary duty or obligation: There is no need for you to go there.
I think most of us would agree that there is, indeed, a clear difference in the two terms. Surely, I do not need that extra pair of shoes--but I do need my health. Truly, I do not need that vacation--but I do need financial stability...right?
The other week, I enjoyed my lunch hour by meeting with the women's ministry director at my church. I admire her greatly, and we quickly dove into deep discussion about our families, faith walks and recent struggles. I began to relay to her a struggle of mine that extends back a few years. It originated from the summers that I performed at theme parks, singing twenty-some shows a week. Long story short, those summers took a toll on my vocal chords, showing me that what I thought would always be in my future may not be a given accomplishment after all.
And singing has been a struggle ever since. A battle of the mind and, I believe, a battle the enemy sincerely desires me to lose by lack of faith and fear.
As I was telling my dear sister of my struggle to trust God in my recent singing, she listened and responded with deep empathy. And then she said something I will never forget: "You know, Kristen, sometimes what we think we "need" is not actually what God knows we need. He wants to give you everything--but perhaps He has other things--better things--in mind right now."
I was stunned. What did she mean? Of course I know what I need! I need my voice to be healthy and strong, flowing with ease once more so I can praise God at church. That is what I need!
My dear sister very clearly stated the obvious truth that our human minds struggle to fathom: That God, in all His Sovereignty and knowledge and power is the only One who truly knows what is best for us all.
What we think we "need" may actually be a "want". Only God knows what we really do need. And those eternal needs are more important to see unto completion than any others we may desire.
Read what Jesus says in Matthew 7 about praying to the Father:
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
For so long, I have struggled with this question: "God, if I am asking, seeking and knocking Your door down with my requests, why haven't you healed me?"
Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you have a broken relationship that you pray God mends. Perhaps it is a sickness of another sort. Or maybe it's a past wound that seems unbearable. We pray and we pray for what we "need"--yet no healing comes.
Perhaps the healing is brought to us in another form--a blessing of God, the fruit of the Spirit, more eternally important in His grand scheme to make us like Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23):
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
God grows in us patience, even as we await a full-time job offer. He grows in us kindness, even as we toil with a difficult person. He grows in us joy, even as our health deteriorates. He grows in us peace, even as our financial state declines.
God longs to give us good gifts, my sisters! No good thing will He withhold from us, whom He loves. Therefore, let us trust deeply that His good gifts are truly what we need for our sanctification. They may be the very blessing through which God accomplishes His best eternal work in us.
So when you think you know what you need, ask God what He knows you need. And praise Him for not withholding anything good from you!
Heavenly Father, I pray this for myself right now, and for every woman who struggles with some seemingly unending suffering. Fill us afresh with Your Spirit. Reveal to us Your deep desire to bless us and turn our struggles into good. What we endure seems so hard in this life, and we thank You that You understand all we suffer through. We never go alone. God, I pray healing over our struggles but only in Your will. If you have more to bless us with, as we endure the race and fight the good fight, then we choose those blessings eternal. God, teach us to trust You as we take leaps of faith, pray in boldness and venture forth in light of eternity.
What particular "need" of yours can you surrender to God today? What other heavenly needs do you see God supplying?