Why does God’s promise to meet our needs often fail to bring us peace? All throughout scripture, we are promised that God will take care of us. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt. 6:26-27).
Like God feeding the Israelites with manna in the wilderness, God still provides for us today. He gives us what we need when we need it. Why then does this not always give us peace? Why, when the troubles come, do we still fret?
Edward T Welch sums it up best when he says, “Beneath our questions about God’s generosity and his care for our needs is something darker, what we really care about is our wants.?” God promises to take care of our needs, not our wants, and this is what often drives our anxieties. This battle with our earthly desires is where much of the fight of faith takes place.
Welch goes on to say that “our version of the kingdom looks peculiarly like suburbia.” We have painted our worldly pictures of what it means to be taken care of by God. Then, like Abraham having a child with Hagar, we try to force the promises to happen our way. Doing this only compounds our stress because not only are we worried about our wants, but we are now living as if God’s promise to provide depends on us. This type of anxiety is a regular feature in many of the prosperity churches.
God will give us what we need when we need it, but that does not mean you will never get sick, lose a job, a child, or even die yourself. It means that he will give us what we need to face these times should they come, and only when they come. Just like the Israelites never had tomorrow’s manna today, we may not have what we need to face these future difficult times now. We may not even be able to imagine how we could handle it, but we will if the time comes. The Lord never fails.
We all have desires that war against our soul, which are often the cause of our greatest anxieties. We need to align our wants with his word and our desires with his decrees. If we think that a trouble-free life now is what it is all about, our gospel and our God are too small. As Welch says, “Life in the kingdom is not easy, at least not when we want to share the throne.”