Copyright © 2011-2018 | Esther Joy Fajoye
What's the difference between a need and a want? How do we learn to separate the two?
God has planned a good future for us and he knows what's right for us. We can ask him for everything under the sun, but if we got every single thing we asked for, how would we learn what's right for us, or what our purpose is?
When my 5 year old nephew watches tv, every time a toy advert comes on, he would ask us to buy it for him. Sometimes he doesn't even know what the toy is, he just sees it glamorously advertised and wants it. All these toys are simply things that he wants, but he doesn't need it. If we bought him every toy he asked for, how would he learn to understand the difference between things that he wants, what he actually needs and what's right for him? So when he asks for all these things, we occasionally have to say no, and continue to provide him with things that he needs so that he can learn.
God has good intentions for us, and he knows every bit about our lives. So he knows what's right for us and can differentiate between our own wants and needs.
If we are going through a situation, we usually want a way out. But God knows that we must endure so that we can learn from it. He doesn't wave a magic wand to bring our troubles and burdens to a sudden halt. So instead, God gives us the strength and grace to endure and persevere till the end. This is what we need the most in difficult situations, because 'perseverance develops character, and character gives us hope and confidence' (Romans 5:4). We wouldn't get strength of character and all these qualities if we got what we wanted, which is probably an easy shortcut way out.
God gives us the solution to handle life, rather than giving us the immediate answers.
Going back to school days, in a maths class. If we were given a tough mathematics equation and we asked the teacher for help, they wouldn't give us the answer, but instead provide us with the solution of how we could work out the equation until we get the answer. If we were just given the answer, we wouldn't have learned anything, and we wouldn't know how to solve the equation if we were given it again. But by learning the solution, we would have gained new knowledge so that we could handle it again and even help others.
Let's not get disheartened if we do not exactly what we request from God. Sometimes we get it in different forms, which is different from what we want, but God knows its what we need. We must trust that God has our best interest at heart and provides us with the best.
When Paul was tormented with a thorn in his flesh, he asked God 3 times to take it away from him. But instead, God gave Paul his grace to handle the thorn and all the hardships and difficulties that came with it. All the time that Paul was pleading with God to remove the thorn, he later realised that God actually provided him with something much better, which was his grace, which was sufficient, and helped him to withstand all things and become stronger. Paul wanted the thorn to be removed, but God knew that he needed his grace, because it benefited him much more in the long-run.
God provides and equips us with what we need, not what we necessarily want. We must trust that God knows what he is doing.
Remember that God works for our benefit and for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
He will never ignore us or leave us alone in our struggles. He always provides a way out and a solution, maybe not exactly how we want it, but just how we need it.