God Knows What We Need
“We must never allow the idea that because we have been obedient, because our need is great, because we long for it, therefore God will hear us.” – Oswald Chambers
Oswald Chambers never fails to challenge me and get me thinking. The sullied message of salvation earned by my good performance or by virtue of my bleeding heart is insidious. It’s always with me, trying to replace Jesus at the center of the story with someone who looks an awful lot like me. There were a lot of people at the pool of Bethesda that day whom Jesus didn’t heal. If God responds only to our needs then He would be unjust and inconsistent to not treat everyone equally. But He responds to faith. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of this quite clearly.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NASB)
I must continually bring my whole life back to Jesus. It’s because of what He did, not because of what I do or don’t do. Going further, Paul said,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB)
I’m not advocating a lazy, do-nothing Christianity. The point is that God wants more for us than just a bunch of people waiting in line for a handout. His goal is to grow us into mature sons and daughters who know Him, love Him, and out of that strong relationship, make requests as part of an ongoing conversation with Him. At any point where we divorce our understanding of Scripture and the heart of God from relationship, we have made a serious error and are in need of swift correction.
Of course God knows what we need and His good heart longs to completely satisfy us. In fact, He knows what we need before we ask, before we even know what we need. But He’s up to something much bigger than we can imagine. When Jesus met the woman at the well in John chapter 4, she though their conversation was only about water. Jesus had in mind the salvation of an entire village. He’s no different today.
Look at the needs in your life. By all means bring them to God with confidence that He is ready, willing, and able to meet them. Also, take time to prayerfully consider how the answer to your prayers will be much bigger and better than you ever imagined. How is God maturing you through this need? How does He want to show Himself strong on your behalf?
In Case You Were Wondering — God Knows
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” Psalm 34:15 (NIV)
So each time I spoke to God, I made sure He hadn’t forgotten by reminding Him constantly of my needs and desires. I felt He had a right to know I was still anxiously waiting for Him to act and that honestly, I was getting a little annoyed at His seeming lack of swift action and attention.
As I laid my head to rest one night after yet another exhausting, discouraging day, I finally asked the questions we all may be secretly tempted to ask when our circumstances don’t improve and our problems keep piling up: “Do You see me, Lord? Do You even hear what I’m saying? Do You know what’s happening?” Then moments later, I drifted off to sleep.
A few hours into the quiet darkness of the night, I abruptly awoke. There were no loud creepy sounds coming from another room and no startling thunder or lightning outside that would have interrupted my sleep. Total silence — except for a persistent musical rhythm dancing through my mind.
I recognized the tune but hadn’t heard it in quite some time, so it took my sleepy mind a couple minutes to figure it out. When the lyrics of the song finally came flowing into my mind, tears filled my eyes. The song title? “He knows,” by Jeremy Camp.
“He knows, every hurt and every sting; He has walked the suffering. Let your burdens come undone. Lift your eyes up to the One who knows. He knows.”
God had gently pulled me out of a deep sleep because He had something simple, yet so important, to tell me: He does see me … hear my prayers … and care. And above all, He knows.
My heart quickened at the thought of hearing from my heavenly Father in such a sweet and gentle way. In the midst of running the universe, God saw fit to remind me that just because I didn’t yet know how He was at work in my situations, didn’t mean He didn’t know exactly what was happening.
As the sun began to rise, I reached for my Bible and looked for verses about God’s attentiveness to our lives. I came across today’s key verse that reminds us: Even when we think God isn’t watching, He sees us. When we think He isn’t listening, He hears our prayers.
Scripture tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight” (Hebrews 4:13, NIV). There isn’t a day or a tear that God doesn’t know about. He sees whatever we’re going though … and He knows.
God’s Word also reassures us the Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help (Psalm 34:17). God knows every prayer spoken, and He hears the cries of our hearts.
The struggle to believe God sees us often signifies a problem within our hearts, not His heart for us. And yet, doubts don’t make us broken believers, just broken people living in a world where things break our hearts — and God’s.
But there’s no greater joy than seeing throughout Scripture that the Creator of the universe deeply cares about what we’re going through. Hope and peace can be ours when we believe that in God’s timing and in His ways, He will answer.
This late-night encounter with God helped me refocus on my faith and remember although He may not have answered my prayers, I can trust He knows.
If you’ve ever wondered if God cares about what you’re going through, take comfort today in letting yourself believe He does.
Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25-34 he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety.
One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:32).
Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (vv. 31-32).
Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.
I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’s in at least three ways.
- Right now I don’t know where any of them is. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.
- I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts.
- I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.
This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason for not worrying. There are things that may be happening to them now or may happen tomorrow that I do not even know about.
But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.
So join me and my children in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
“You also played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and multiplied your harlotry to make Me angry.” – Ezekiel 16:26 NASB
In His message to Ezekiel, God described at length how He had blessed His people. He had made them beautiful and adorned them with fine clothes and jewelry. They were so attractive that the fame of their beauty spread among the nations. In fact, their beauty was “perfect” (v. 14), all because of God’s design.
The problem was that they had lost perspective heir beauty became a distraction, a trap. Instead of viewing their appearance in context, they became possessive and self-centered. They focused on their beauty (and all that came along with it) and made the flesh an idol they worshiped. They lost sight of God and became prostitutes, using God’s gifts to sell themselves to others. They had become promiscuous, giving themselves to others in
body, soul, and spirit.
God clearly wanted to bless His people. His desire was that they enjoy the full benefits of creation. But they also needed to maintain the right priorities. This meant always keeping Him first.
This is a problem any of us can have. We can find ourselves obsessing on any part of creation: material resources, physical beauty, intelligence, skills, hobbies, or relationships. Any of these things can become our focus. They can consume our time so significantly that we forget about God.
Be sure that you always seek first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Keep Him first in your life. Don’t worship anything or anyone else (Exodus 20:1-17).
Streams in the Desert – May 16
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
“Pressed out of measure” (2 Cor. 1:8).
“That the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
God allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.
God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.
Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.
Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing. –A. B. Simpson