Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are to have the physical ability to put in a good days work…to sweat for the money we make.
I shared this thought with someone once and got this response: ‘What you lack in your life will dominate you. Reality is that once you die, you die. There can be no regrets on the death bed. You either lived life to the fullest, carpe diem, or you watched life go by. It’s better to be rich, and to live your life on your terms, than to be poor and subject yourself to what someone else wants for you.’
Although these comments made me feel sad for the way this person thinks, I do agree on one point. Whatever we lack will dominate us.
A man dying of thirst thinks solely about quenching his thirst. A starving man has nothing but food on his mind. The poor man is preoccupied with a means to survive from one day to the next. A lonely man scopes everyone as a potential lover and companion. And a person who is in ill health counts every breath he takes as a blessing while fearing it will be his last.
We all lack something. Our specific area of lack becomes the focus of our prayers and the center of our attention. Our lack consumes our thoughts and the quest to get what we do not have directs our steps. Everything we do, every decision we make has one goal in mind-to be satisfied and be free from the pain.
I spent the majority of my life frustrated over what I did not have. There were times in my life that the waiting became almost unbearable. It seemed that the more I had to wait, the more my thoughts would be consumed on finding a way to get it. Money, for instance, had always been an issue for me. I used to fantasize about suddenly being the recipient of a large sum of money that would free me from having to juggle which necessity would take priority.
Everyone has a need which motivates their behavior. The sad reality is that most people don’t realize, or are unwilling to face, their real need. Needs are things we can’t do without to survive. Food, water, shelter and the means to get these things are needs. Wants are non-essentials that may make our life more comfortable or make us feel good, but that we can live without-if we are willing to try. Wants vs. needs. It is good to know the difference.
So many people go through their lives trying to fill an internal need with whatever is externally available. The world system is set up to quickly gratify that search for physical pleasure, and has convinced the majority that happiness is measured by the quantity and quality of what we have, and what we can accomplish. We get trapped in a cycle of accumulating an overabundance of stuff and instant gratification becomes our primary goal. We humans are pleasure seeking creatures who are motivated by what we want and do not have (or think we do not have enough of). Some people find prosperity passages in the bible in order to back up their need for more. They say “See, God wants us to be wealthy!” Yes, I agree that God wants us to prosper. But, the word prosperity in the bible means more than just wealth. It also means having peace, joy and good health. God wants us to have a full, balanced life. When we focus our energy on amassing ‘feel-goods’ the quality of life as God meant it to be will suffer.
Once our basic needs are met, everything else is just fluff. Praying for needs and doing something positive about obtaining them is a good practice. Praying only for what we want-but don’t really need-is not. God promised to supply all of our needs. He did not promise to supply all of our wants.
Waiting for what we desire is hard for all of us. Not until very recently did I understand why waiting to be satisfied was a necessary part of my maturing process. Waiting is about learning priorities and about self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice enables us to build patient endurance. And the inability to get what we need without supernatural intervention makes us realize who is really in control. It is in our weakness that we learn to depend on God and having to put our wants on hold ultimately makes us understand what really matters.