Want vs. Need
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Leave it to God to give me some food for thought from a relationship advice book/memoir written by someone who is not exactly purporting to have a biblical worldview.
In Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, she writes: “What you want isn’t necessarily good for you. And in going after the person you think you want, you ignore what you really need.”
How true, Ms. Gottlieb, how true. After I thought about that, I expanded the notion to everything in my life—not just relationships or finding a mate. And that made me think about people in the Bible who wanted what they wanted but who got what God determined they needed.
Jacob . . . In Genesis 29, we read how Jacob didn’t want to marry Leah who had “weak eyes.” He wanted to marry Rachel who “was lovely in form and beautiful.” But Laban gave his other daughter Leah to Jacob instead of Rachel on their wedding night. But Jacob wanted what he wanted. So he promised to work for Laban for seven more years in order to have Rachel. Because of that “delay,” Jacob grew spiritually and his character was refined. His sons would become the nation of Israel, and through Israel God blessed mankind.
Jesus . . . “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me,” Jesus said in Matthew 26. “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus did not want to be separated from the Father by the sin that he was about to die for when he was crucified in our place on the cross. But to save the world, a perfect, spotless lamb was needed to take away our sin (John 1:29). God, in his great love and mercy, purposed that his only begotten son would die to pay the price for you and me.
Paul . . . He was a zealous persecutor of the church who later became a passionate missionary. When he was Saul, he didn’t want the gospel to spread. But in Acts 9, God intervened, blinded him temporarily and then gave him a new vision for the rest of his life. Once renamed Paul, he was armed with the story of his amazing conversion experience, as he made three missionary journeys to represent Christ, mentored young ministers including Timothy and wrote many of the Epistles in the New Testament.
What God needed to happen in each of these lives was all part of his perfect plan. We can see it now, but I’m sure that while Jacob, Jesus and Paul were in their midst of their painful struggles, God’s plans might have been more difficult to accept as what they needed in their lives.
As you personalize this today, what is it in your own life that you want? And what is it that God is telling you that you need? Make peace with what you want versus with what God says you need as you rest in him and his perfect plan for your life.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
I have always loved CeCe Winans’ song, “Rest in Me,” from the Coram Deo II: People of Praise project. Ponder the words from the chorus today as you contemplate letting go of what you want and receiving with open hands what God says you need:
Rest in me, rest in me
I’m the rock of your salvation
Can’t you see?
Rest in me, rest in me
Perfect peace belongs to you
If you believe