GOD MEETS OUR REAL NEEDS
**This blog was originally published with TheGloriousTable.com in April 2021**
In April, I always think of rainshowers, especially because we have a lot of intermittent spring storms where I live. In fact, this past month, we had one of those decennial rainstorms that causes quite a bit of damage.
When those storms roll through, my mind always drifts to Noah. He was not only thrust into a season of waiting for the largest storm in history to pass, he was tasked with building a boat to survive it.
When I think about his story, I often think about his wife and how, if I had been in her position, my emotions would have been all over the place. I would have felt like my safety and security were in jeopardy. And I am certain the running monologue in my head would have gone something like this: How in the world am I going to be safe and secure in a boat floating for an unnamed amount of time? Even if Noah was a good carpenter, I would have questioned his skills because my life was about to be held captive by his handiwork for goodness knew how long.
As a woman, I feel like I can easily be labeled as “emotional” or “driven by emotion,” and this often leads me to wonder if my feelings are valid. As I write this, I am pregnant with my fourth baby boy, and I know my emotions are driving many of my actions and thoughts these days. I can’t even imagine where my emotions would have been had my husband told me the earth was flooding, and we all needed to jump in a boat together to survive it.
I imagine Noah’s situation would have made them question the differences between their “felt needs” and their “real needs.”
When I start to think of my own needs, I question whether or not I am thinking about them from a place of reality or from a place of emotions. While real needs and felt needs can be similar, they can often lead us to different places.
One thing that strikes me about Noah’s story is his calm demeanor. Did Noah’s wife ever question Noah’s steadiness? Our Bible doesn’t chronicle all of Noah’s thoughts, although we can expect he may have had some trepidation; he was human. However, what the Bible does say about Noah was how firmly and assertively he obeyed the Lord.
Genesis 6:22 says, “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (ESV). And then in Genesis 7:5, the Bible says, “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him” (ESV).
Noah believed the Lord would protect him even in the toughest of storms, so he continued to move forward with determination.
If I were Noah, I would have been asking God to avoid this storm. My felt need in that moment would have been, “Yeah, no. I’m not cut out for that kind of weather or to be locked up with my family for an unnumbered amount of days, so you can take me off the boarding list. Thanks anyway; I’m good.”
My feelings would have covered up my real need. I would have felt like I needed to be saved from experiencing the storm. What Noah showed us is that what he actually needed was the Lord to be in the storm with him, not to be delivered from it.
How often have you been in the middle of a difficult time, and your prayers centered around asking the Lord to deliver you from that time? I’d be the first to raise my hand.
Imagine what would happen if we changed our prayers from “Lord, deliver me” to “Lord, be here with me.” How would this change your ability to navigate such a season more successfully?
Noah showed us what it was like to accept the Lord’s leading into a difficult time and take on the challenge, knowing God would not forsake him. This is true of us too, friend. The Lord does not want to take you into a dark and stormy season just to leave you to fend for yourself. He will walk out the journey with you—or, as in Noah’s case, he will float in the boat with you.
The bottom line is, we feel we need to be delivered from our difficult times when, in fact, what we really need is to create an invitation for the Lord to join us in the midst of our storm.
Felt needs are not all bad. While sometimes they divert our focus from our real needs, they are, in fact, what propels us forward. While we may need to walk through a season of waiting or a difficult storm, the belief that the season will eventually end is what prompts us to feel positive emotions that help us navigate the journey.
My advice is to take stock of your real needs in comparison to your felt needs. If Noah chose to be delivered from the call to build the ark because he wanted to avoid the storm, he would have died. The storm was going to happen, anyway.
Look at your circumstances and define what you need.
If you are walking through a trying time and waiting on the Lord to change your circumstances, do not ignore your need for deliverance or safety. You may, in fact, need those things; they are not trivial. Your prayers may just need to shift from asking the Lord to take away the storm to asking him to join you in it.
His presence will bring you the safety and deliverance you need, just maybe not in the way you expected.