May 17, 2008

The funny thing about needs...

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

Need. That's a funny word, isn't it?

"I need a drink of water," says a sick, thirsty man, and we're inclined to believe him.

"I need a new purse," says one well-dressed woman to another, and perhaps we're not so inclined.

Some needs are real; some are imagined. For everyone, they're different. But everyone has them. And everyone has various ways of getting them met. For me, I tend to rely on my husband and close friends. Oh yeah, and sometimes God.

These past few weeks, that verse from Philippians has been burning in my mind, daring me to test it and see if it's true. The lady who's been leading the women's bible study at our church challenged us with it over a month ago.

"Who do you depend on to meet your needs?" she asked. "What do you do when those people fail you?" Then she gave us Phil. 4:19

"My God will meet all your needs. . . "

Not some of them. Not one or two. All.

And note the verb tense here: will meet. Future tense. But a definitive future tense. There's no maybes about it. Not grammatically speaking, anyway.

So why was I hesitant to see if it was true?

Because I didn't believe it. Not really. I mean, yeah I trusted God to meet my need for salvation and my need for a Savior. But could I really trust Him to help handle Caleb during a difficult day of teething and no naps? Could I trust Him to help me deny my anger and increase my patience? Could He help find a parking spot at Wal-Mart on a hot day? Could He help us make food budget week after week when money was tight?

Did He even care about those sorts of things?

He dared me to test this verse and see. So I did.

Two months ago, Jason and I took a hard look at our finances, and decided to cut back in some areas to help us live within our means. We cut our food budget by $20 a week and I pursed my lips as we did it, because I didn't believe we could eat off of so little. But I dutifully made my grocery list the next week, and as I drove off to Trader Joe's, I prayed that God would help me spend exactly what I had and no more.

And you know what? He did. Five weeks now we've made budget, and even had a little extra for fun things like cookies or iced tea.

I guess He cares. :)

Last weekend, I drove up to the desert for Natalie's baby shower. Jason was supposed to come, but at the last minute had to stay for work. I called several friends to see if they could watch Caleb during the shower since I would be busy, but no one was available. So I prayed again.

Lord, you know how active and curious and tasmanian-devilish Caleb is. You know I can't bring him to the shower. (visions of old ladies' purses gone missing and cake all over the floor danced through my head). And you know I can't watch him. I will be too busy. Can you meet this need?

And you know what? He did!

Caleb woke up the day of the shower at 6 am. He NEVER wakes up that early. By the time we arrived at the church, he was exhausted and cranky. I put him in his play pen in one of the sunday school rooms, closed the door, muttered another prayer for help and . . . he went to sleep. For 3+ hours. Slept through the entire shower. Not a peep.

In a sense, I suppose you could say God babysat him for me. At the very least, He handled my need.

I guess He cares.

Now I'm not writing this to say I've got this need thing all figured out. Nope. Cuz I don't. But I've been excited to discover how much Jesus really cares about our lives and how much He is willing to help us out. Even with small, everyday, nobody-else-but-me-really-notices details.

Two things the bible study lady said have stuck with me, and I'm continuing to ponder them and what they mean for my life:

1. God may choose to meet your needs through other people, and He may not. Do not be angry with others when your needs go unmet. Instead, take those needs to God and watch as He answers them.

2. Often, when we give our needs and requests to God, we realize that what we thought was a need really wasn't. Don't be surprised if a need goes "unmet"; God may be trying to tell you it's not really a need at all.

Just some thoughts for ya'll this hot and humid Saturday afternoon. :)

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