Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Needs

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

There it is in black and white--the WORD OF GOD. God will meet all my needs. I believe that, but quite honestly (I feel like I need to lower my voice at this point), sometimes I feel like He leaves me hanging. Some moments are down right hard and lonely and sad and I wonder what it's all about.

Judging by the comments from my last post and my own experience, I think we are disappointed because we expect God to meet our needs through PEOPLE. Our needs for belonging, companionship and intimacy always come through human contact. But does God have to do it that way? Can't He do it WITHOUT them? He did in the Bible. He dropped manna from heaven. He fed Elijah through ravens. When Jonah was disappointed in God, feeling depressed, God met his need for comfort in a small vine providing shade (Of course, He killed it the next day to prove a point, but still it met a need for comfort at least one day). When Hagar fled from Sarai to avoid her mistreatment, God met her in her loneliness, pain and despair. She says to Him, "You are the God who sees me" (Genesis 16:13). Hmm. Isn't that exactly what we seek from people, someone who sees and understands us? Later when she and Ishmael are sent away, she ends up in the desert, tired, starving and hopeless and God meets her again, reassuring her of His plan. (Genesis 21:8-21) David continually refers to God in the Psalms as his "refuge". Sounds like a need fulfilled to me. We have the same God. Couldn't He do the same for us?

But one of our needs is that we need people. They push us, stretch us, challenge us, teach us, love us. It reminds me of my feeling about food. I HAVE to have it, but I don't always use it correctly. Just like I want to eat when I'm bored or stressed, I want people when I'm lonely or hurting or don't understand what God is doing. But wouldn't it be healthier to take those needs to God? How does He meet them? I have no clue. I've been trying to figure that one out for myself.

Nine months ago, I felt God telling me not to expect so much from my husband. He told me to let Him take care of the need I looked to Kevin to fulfill. The trouble is I'm so used to getting what I need from people, I don't know HOW to get it from God. I've given it up to Him over and over and done fine, but I still don't get it. How does God meet our needs apart from people? Throw me a bone and give some ideas if you have them.

If we could figure this out, wouldn't our relationships be better? Our feelings wouldn't get hurt so easily and our egos would have less bruising. Wouldn't we be less critical, less demanding, less needy? I think we get confused because we are used to people supplying us with what we want. We expect them to do it even though such expectations result in a lot of disappointment and a high divorce rate. SHOULD we look to people to fulfill our desires? COULD God do it apart from any human intervention? What would that look like?

Lately I've asked God a lot when I am overwhelmed with emotion or need, "What am I supposed to do with this, Lord? What can You do? What are you wanting ME to do with it?" I wish I could say I have a definitive answer, but I don't. Somehow I get over it or through it and live to tell about it. Sometimes I think it's a huge, life long lesson in humility and perseverance. I seem to be forever in a molding pattern. One thing I have discovered is that when I need more self-discipline or greater decisiveness, I ask for His help and realize at the end of the day I did feel stronger. It's like He sends the Holy Spirit to swoop in making me more aware of my choices. I can't explain or describe it, but I'm going to keep trying it. Practice makes perfect, right?

And often in my frustration I hear Him whisper, "Trust me." Oy! THAT again?! But I realize making us rely on Him is love. He knows He is the only One who can actually meet our every need. Yes, He may use people to do it, but do others become a crutch for us? Do we lean on them, expect from them more than we should? When we depend on others are we relying on God? I wonder if He loves us enough to put us through tough times to tell us, "No, let Me do it. I'm molding you into something spectacular."

Can you trust God, no matter how lonely or painful it might be, to make you into something spectacular? Can you trudge through the rocky path so He can show you How HE alone can meet your needs? Can you see it as His gift?

4 comments:

R.G. said...

Tami, I have to think about this one! More great questions. Meanwhile, check out my blog. I posted a response to your post of last Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Throwing a friend a bone :)
Ponder this...

I have a private place for only me and God.
The path that leads there is surrender.
My guide is His voice whispering, “I’m all you need.”
I follow, down the path of surrender.
The threshold is my awareness that I am nothing,
and there is nothing that God isn’t.

Expectantly I enter,
and I am never disappointed.
Quiet, peace and comfort are waiting.
God is waiting. Waiting for me.

He has built a place of faith and love.
It’s walls are the arms of God.
The roof is the shelter of His wing.
The foundation is His promise.
I am with you. I will never leave you.

Only in my private place do I feel complete.
It is there that I understand me.
I drink in the sweetness of God.
It is there that I most understand Him.
I breath in His presence.
I let go of me.

dena said...

very tough one! i know that it is easy to say that we need to surrender to God (i know i need to) but it becomes more difficult when the people around us are tangible. we can see them, talk to them, and so on. with God, though, its definetly an act of faith to trust in him. this is something thats will take a lifetime of work. Great blog tami! luv ya!

Anonymous said...

Can I encourage you with some questions of my own?

Didn’t Paul travel with Barnabas, Silas and Timothy and speak of their encouragement? Didn’t he send Timothy for encouragement at a time when he could bear it no more? 1Thes 3:1-8

Didn’t Jesus call the disciples by two’s and three’s. Aren’t they almost always spoken of in scripture in groups?

Isn’t the greatest friendship in the bible Jonathan and David? Didn’t Jonathan choose his friend David over the throne? 1 Sam 23:15

What about the big ones?

Didn’t Jesus love his friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha? John 11:3,5. Wasn’t He overcome with emotion upon Lazarus death even when Jesus knew he would live again? John 11:33,35

Doesn’t the bible express from the first chapter that God created us to have fellowship with Him? Doesn’t he want us to choose Him?

If David, Paul, Jesus and even God wanted and yes, needed people, it can’t be that wrong can it? I say that is pretty good company.