Need speaks. Listen to it.
There is an interesting relationship between human need and supply that the Father has established on earth. Life is demanding. Our bodies need air, food, rest, warmth, safety, and beyond basic biological needs our soul needs love, affection, understanding, nurturing, and hope. We have needs, and lots of them.
Our world was created and filled abundantly to satisfy them. And when I have difficulty finding satisfaction our Father declares that he himself will be our supply. I love how God answered Moses when he asked, “I am going to the sons of Israel and will tell them the God of your Fathers has sent me but what should I say to them when they ask ‘what is his name?’ ” God responded, “Yahweh” which is the Hebrew verb meaning, “I am.” I am what? I am what you need me to be. And from this point in the Bible forward we encounter a steady list of names in which God revealed himself to Israel including: Yahweh Tsidkenu —I am your righteousness; Yahweh Rapha — I am your healer, Yahweh Jireh — I am your provider; Yahweh Shalom — and I am your peace; and Yahweh Oshea (or yeshua, or Joshua, or Jesus) — I am your salvation. He knows we need, and he knows that we would only be fully satisfied connected to him as our source of supply.
But, I am resilient. I have a love/hate relationship with need, reluctant to accept supply especially if it in-debts me to another. And for men who have stepped aside from God even more so. Have you ever worked through your hunger? Or pushed through a day on very few hours of sleep? There seems to be some virtue in working through weakness, or dismissing it and getting on with life. I don’t have a date to the office party, so I’m going anyway. I don’t have a travel companion, so why should that stop me from exploring the world? It’s easy to become routinely deaf to the things which are speaking to me. Giving me information. I am stubborn, head-strong and ignore need staring me in the face.
But need is a powerful indicator. Yes, it’s demanding, but if it weren’t it wouldn’t be a need. But it makes sense to listen to it’s voice. If you hear a rattle in your car you’ve never heard before, it’s telling you something. Either stop and address it or it will stop you —usually at a most inconvenient time. You choose —your timetable or your car’s? And if you think about it, our relationship with need and supply on earth is a very reflection of heaven and hell. What is more satisfying than having a deep, all consuming need fulfilled? When it happens, it’s a picture or symbol of heaven. In contrast, when hungry, or thirsty, or needing sleep, without the possibility that need will ever be met, it is the very picture of hell. I am convinced hell and heaven are more than locations — they are the state of our soul being connected to or disconnected from the source of supply. Forever.
So why is it so easy to ignore the need I have when it is so obvious to others? When a baby is born, he has no words to express himself. There is one universal way to draw attention to their need. Thankfully, over time words replace wails — he learns to associate this particular feeling with the need to eat, or sleep, or to be delivered from the turd monsters attacking his sensitive little bottom. “I’m hungry, is it dinnertime yet?” Is much better than “wahhhhhh!” And that is the story of growing up — I identify this strange, amorphous feeling inside and learn to verbalize it. Discuss it. Share it. Communicate nuances about it. I refine my perceptions from red, green and blue, to rhododendron, chartreuse, and indigo. There is a lot to learn, and even graduating from college doesn’t mean I have the vocabulary to frame every feeling we experience in life. Listening to and framing up what I am feeling, and more importantly identifying it and pursuing what I need is a skill that takes a lifetime to sharpen. I have a choice to pay attention to it or ignore it. Grow up or stunt that growth. But there is good news: our Father even helps me vocalize in prayer what my spirit knows is the need:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 NASB
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays… 1 Corinthians 14:14 NASB
There’s another way to look at need. Consider, for example, what if my need is a gateway rather than a threat? What if it’s really an opportunity to recognize my weakness and my own limits, and the opportunity of strength and wisdom achieved with another? Peter writes (with my comments sprinkled in):
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials (or needs) so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire (some needs are more demanding, threatening than others), may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (because he is our supply); and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9 NASB
Need ends in finding him. Connection to the source of supply. Closeness to God. And Jesus make it clear there is more blessedness in need in the following:
And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. Luke 6:20-23 NASB
Need is directing us toward something essential. It makes me pay attention. Look for a solution. Yet it always speaks to me with the promise of supply. I have been born to look at everything through eyes of hope. And even when the hope of a solution on earth seems dim, there is a heavenly hope I may lean upon.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NASB
If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 NASB
We are complex creatures, often with mixed values and desires. When need speaks to us, it’s important to pay attention to it and pursue supply. With the Holy Spirit as my helper, I may request supply from my Heavenly Father. And in my need and my pursuit for fulfillment I find that my God not only has supply, but he uses the circumstance ultimately for great blessing.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB