Training for the Life to Come

I don’t know about you, but I often fail to distinguish rightly between what I need and what I want. Thankfully, God always gives me what I need, but not always what I want. He’s more interested in me than in seeing my requests granted. This is the essence of a loving, heavenly Father who only does what’s best for his children.

Imagine, for instance, a parent giving everything their child asks for? Imagine God giving us everything we pray for? How might your life be different if God answered “Yes” to all your requests? When God says “No” or answers in unexpected ways, it demonstrates that prayer is not some magical, mechanical incantation that views God as one who can be manipulated by our pleading. Prayer is not superstition, but an expression of a dynamic relationship with a God who is all-wise, all-good, and all-powerful.

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” – C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, (page 52)
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” – God via Paul the Apostle

“God, give us only what we need and grant that the training we now receive prepares us for eternal glory.”

4 thoughts on “Training for the Life to Come”

  1. You need to be careful with this thought, Paul. Not every Christian in this world gets what they need. In Philippians 4, right after the infamous verse about God supplying all of our needs, Paul states that he has learned to be content when full and content when hungry, when having plenty and not having enough. That implies that we don’t always have what we “need” or that our needs are defined very, very differently by God than by us. If a believer starves to death, are his needs being met? What needs were met and what were not? I’ve always bristled at people who cite Philippians 4 as a universal promise to all believers. They need to read on in Philippians and see whether Paul’s situation agrees with their idea of “needs.” I agree with your overall point, but be careful how far you go with the idea of God supplying all of our “needs.”

  2. Thanks, Brad! In true form your response brings a sense of sane, biblical balance to my post. I could not agree more. It’s important that our “needs” are defined by God and God alone. While we may “need” basic sustenance for life, the Author, Sustainer, and Redeemer of life can and will do whatever he chooses with our lives, even if that entails physical suffering or death.

  3. Just some random thoughts…I find it interesting that Jesus, when teaching us to pray, told us to ask for the minimum of our needs (“daily bread”), not the steak, which may be what we want.

    God loves us so that we may love others, so it is our responsibility to see to it that our brothers and sisters who do not have their needs met are fed and clothed (James 2:15-17).

  4. Thanks for posting, Becky! So glad to hear from you.
    Agree there is a very wide spectrum here and perhaps an invisible threshold to cross when “wants” are perceived to be “needs.”

    It’s the “so that” in your second thought that is so easily missed. With our persistent self-serving inclination, we often lose sight of the fact that perhaps we are the agent through whom God might meet the need of another. “Lord, give us eyes to see and willing hearts to respond!”

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