Fearing What I Need
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Hopelessly addicted to pills and unable to quit, I prayed repeatedly for God to miraculously take away the appetite, but he didn’t. I knew what it was that he wanted me to do – confess, go to treatment, change my life – but I just couldn’t do those things. In my misery, I finally asked God to do whatever it took to make me change. Previously I’d prayed for what I wanted. Finally, I prayed for what I needed. It was a dangerous prayer, but I was desperate. A few weeks later, my life exploded as my addiction came to light. I nearly lost everything, but that’s what it took to make me change. That’s not what I wanted but it’s what I needed.
In today’s passage, Paul promised the Philippians that God would supply their every need. At first glance this seems to be a wonderful promise that God will always provide whatever I need for a happy, healthy life. Paul, however, wrote these words from prison. In realizing that, I get the sinking feeling that Paul’s definition of what I need may be quite different from my definition.
Paul was eventually killed for his faith, but I think he would have said, even in death, that God had supplied all his needs. Paul didn’t see suffering and death as failures, but rather as an inherent part of life. What Paul ultimately needed was salvation, to know God in this life, and to be with him in the next. God provided those things, and no one could take them away.
Such a view takes a tremendous amount of faith though and often, I’m secretly afraid of such faith. I want following God to mean that I’ll have a comfortable experience here on Earth. I like my life the way it is. Deep down, I’m afraid that truly being obedient to God will mean that I’ll have to give everything away, becoming a missionary in some far-off land. I fear that God giving me what I need will be the opposite of what I want, just like in my drug addiction.
Looking back, I can see that God had my best interest in mind and I’m thankful that he gave me what I needed. So, I must now trust him with my future. He will always give me what I need, but not necessarily what I want, or even what I think I need. God, help me to be satisfied with what you give me. Help me to have faith that in the eternal view, you will always give me what I need.