Thursday, May 23, 2019

What are you doing with those needs?

For a great many of us, prayer is a kind of "hey, God, it is me again" approach. We find ourselves going to him repeatedly for much the same thing, maybe laying it all out again in just a slightly different manner, but doing so because we just "need" something that only he can provide. There are also times when we simply pussy-foot around the whole matter that is niggling at our brains and pulling at our heartstrings because we aren't entirely comfortable talking to him about it. Regardless of our reluctance to actually lay those things out before him openly and honestly, he knows what they are, so all our pussy-footing around isn't really helping the matter. There is just something that comes when we are open, direct, and totally honest with ourselves and him in prayer - it is often referred to as "he answers"!

Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, "Master, if you want to, you can heal my body." (Matthew 8:1-2)

Somehow, we have learned that we cannot be forthright with God about our needs, fears, hopes, etc. We have developed a skill of "sugar-coating" them, or not even presenting them to him at all. Either way, we are denying God exactly what he wants to do! God is delighted to take care of us - not just in meeting every one of our "wants" we might lay out before him without issue, but also in meeting those "needs" we may not be quite comfortable discussing with him at first. Jesus' immediate response back to the leper was a hearty, "You betcha, I wanna!" The man was made whole again - no sign of his leprosy! I wonder just how much time we allow to go by with unmet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs simply because we don't lay it out there before God. When we are honest with God, he has a chance to be involved in our lives as he desires to be.

Let me just say that we may have a difficult time at first trying to decipher between our "wants" and our "needs" as we approach God in prayer. Yet, if we are forthright about both in our times with God, he will sort them out! The leper had been living with a disease that separated him from his family, friends, and his worship. His healing was more than physical - it restored him in so many ways. Jesus did not look at this fellow and say, "Now, Mr. Leper Man, is this really a need?" Nope, he saw the man's faith and he responded with a resounding, "I wanna do that for you!" - and he healed him.  Here's the thing - if you "wanna" grow in your relationship with God, then he wants to help you grow. If we "wanna" be free of our fears, then he wants to help us develop the faith to trust him with what it is we are fearful of in our lives. If we "wanna" let go of ill feelings toward another, then he wants to help us get out from under the burden of carrying all that baggage. If we "wanna" new SUV when the old one is still in awesome condition, God may not see that as a need at the moment - we already have something that is blessing us with faithful transportation right now - so the answer may be that we need to wait.

Isn't it time that we start laying it all out before God, allowing him to sort through the needs and the wants in our lives. The desire of God's heart is that we come to him with the faith to give him what it is that is on (and in) our heart - those things that burden us, keep us bound, and chew up so much of our attention trying to "fix" or "live with" them. He wants to meet our needs - we just have to "wanna" give them to him! Just sayin!