Our Needs & God’s Provision

One of the most soul-satisfying truths in the universe is that God will provide for the needs of His children.  Focusing on God’s perfect provision will reap a rich bounty of joy, peace, trust, & gratitude in our hearts.  No one can provide for our needs like God can, for only He has perfect knowledge of our needs, perfect power to provide for them, and perfect love to act on our behalf. God’s perfect knowledge, power, & love stand in sharp contrast to our own imperfections. 

One of the core problems of our hearts is our distorted perception of what our needs truly are. We consistently and often disastrously misjudge what we need, and what’s worse, we often don’t even realize how fundamentally flawed our vision is.  This universal human inability first manifested itself in the Garden of Eden.  Eve was convinced that she needed the fruit and what it could give.  She, of course, could not have been more wrong, and all her descendants have inherited her sin-clouded vision.

The Bible is full of stories of people not realizing what their true needs were, and yet God lovingly providing them at the right time.  Joseph spent years rotting in a prison cell; he certainly must have thought “I need to get out of here!”  And yet we know that Joseph actually needed to stay in that prison cell until the day came when Pharoah himself would bring him out of it.  In John chapter 4 we read the story of the woman at the well.  She thought that she needed a bucket of water, and yet Jesus showed her the real need of her heart.

Since God both perfectly knows our needs and is perfectly powerful to provide them, we can always comfort ourselves with this Biblical conclusion: If we have a need, God will provide it.  The corollary is also equally important:  If God hasn’t provided something to us, then we don’t need it.

Think about the worry and sadness and frustration and anger we could avoid by simply accepting these two truths: 

If it’s a need, God will provide it.  If God hasn’t provided it, then we don’t need it. 

God is always in the business of providing our needs.  In fact, the first time the word “provide” appears in most English Bibles is in Genesis 22.  In one of the greatest statements of faith,  Abraham tells Issac, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”  That day, God proved to Abraham that He was Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord-Who-Provides. 

Jesus Himself loved to talk about the provision of God as a loving Father.  In the Sermon on the Mount He encouraged us to: 

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!  (Matthew 7:7-11)

But still our hearts often question whether God really is doing what the Bible promises He will do.  We think, “I just know that I’m not getting everything I need.  Maybe it’s because God really can’t give me everything I need (limited ability), maybe He doesn’t really know what I need (limited knowledge), or maybe He is deliberately holding back on me (limited love).” Whenever we are inclined to think this way, we need to realize how limited our understanding really is, and then focus on God’s nature (He knows all, He is in control, He has a plan, He loves His children).

There is one more step in being able to fully rest in God’s provision for our needs: realizing what our one true need is.  As you read through the Bible, the truth becomes clear: our one true need is God Himself.  The writer of Hebrews speaks to this when he writes,

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)

We can be content because we will never be without the one thing we really need: the God who will never leave us or forsake us.  Paul’s famous passage on contentment says much the same thing:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Notice that Paul says he doesn’t speak of being “in need”— he is content regardless of his external circumstances.  What is his secret?  The One who is always with him is always strengthening him.  Why was David unafraid of walking through the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23?  Because he knew that God was with him.

One of the major gauges of our growth in Christ is our heart’s turning away from feeling any “need” but Christ:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-3)

When we focus on Christ as our very life, then other “needs” will fade from view.  This was the example of Abraham: God provided the sacrifice, and the ram in the thicket was the picture of the day when God would provide our greatest need, an atonement for sin, with what would cost Him most, the life of Christ.  God met our greatest need then, as he meets our greatest needs now, with the most precious gift in the universe: Himself.

God is not only our provider, but our provision; not only the giver, but the gift.  This is both our present joy and our future destiny.  The last use of the word “need” in the Bible shows us what is to come in eternity:

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

One day we will have no needs at all, not even of light of lamp or sun.  Let us live our lives today as we will live in eternity, focusing on God as our light and our life, and being richly satisfied in our God-Who-Provides.

3 comments to Our Needs & God’s Provision

  • John,

    I enjoyed this article immensely. Your comments about being blind to our real needs are certainly timely. Being 51 and retired, I just recently came face to face with the fact, that because of my “wealth”, I had taken God off of the throne and put myself on it.

    I suspect this in true of our nation in general as well. We are the richest nation that has ever inhabited the planet. As I have recently watched Oprah, proclaiming herself to be “god” by her actions and attitudes, it is no wonder that we are fighting such evil in this country.

    God is in the process of remodeling my mind and I am thankful that He saved me from my destructive path.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Nice website w/ lots of interesting topics. This blog is particularly refreshing with its focus on Christ and His light. Thanks. I invite you to read ‘A lLght Behind’ at http://www.thedailylily.com. I think you will be refreshed by this also.

  • Steve Simmons

    Thanx, this is a great word that we should all embrace as the very truth of our Father in heaven. He knows are needs, and what He needs to do in us for us to be conformed to the very image of His Son.

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