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Magazine > Content

Our Unmet Needs

By Charles F. Stanley

Are there circumstances you’ve been praying about for years? Have you repeatedly placed certain situations before the Father but still feel as if He will never intervene? Perhaps it is a long, drawn-out illness, lingering unemployment, or a relationship that hasn’t turned out as you hoped it would. When promising opportunities arise but then fail to be the answer you longed for, the immense disappointment can lead to doubting God will provide at all.

Despite the promise of Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” you may be unsure that He’ll really come through. And as the Thanksgiving season begins, your heart may be so broken, dreams so shattered, and needs so painfully unmet that you wonder if there will ever be anything for which to thank the Lord.

At times like this, remember: God is absolutely faithful. This may be a truth you embrace on a factual level while still feeling very disheartened. Why? Because in focusing on the persistence of your problem, you inevitably head down the road of discouragement and unbelief. If you want to grow in godliness while waiting, you must begin with the truth of Scripture and God’s trustworthiness as heavenly Father. Where you center your attention determines how you think and make decisions, which ultimately determines your path.

God promises to meet all our needs.

The reality is that God does, in fact, meet all our needs. And as believers, you and I are called to walk by faith in Him, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Therefore, as we await His answers to prayer, we should pursue a deeper relationship with Him and discover what He’s trying to accomplish in and through us. With this in mind, here are three essential truths that will guide us as we wrestle with unmet needs.

  1. God wants to meet your needs. Throughout Scripture, the Lord invites us to petition Him with our requests (Matt. 7:7-10; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 John 5:14-15). As our heavenly Father, He wants to provide for us, and the greatest proof of this is the gift of His Son. Jesus came to earth to meet people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs by teaching the truth, healing the sick, casting out demons, and finally, dying on a cross to save us. If God didn’t spare His own Son from death on our behalf, won’t He graciously give us all things as well (Rom. 8:32)?

  2. The Lord knows your needs. Although we’re told to make our requests known to God (Phil. 4:6), the purpose of prayer is not to inform Him of our needs. He’s omniscient and already knows what we’re going through. The reason for seeking God’s help is to acknowledge our dependence upon Him. The goal should be to voice our concerns and then leave the method and timing of answering them to Him, trusting in His wisdom to do what is best.
  3. Because God’s knowledge reaches beyond ours, He is also aware of needs we don’t realize we have. From His divine perspective, He looks deep into our hearts, as well as into every situation we face. Although our preference is immediate relief, He focuses on our spiritual and eternal needs. That is why it may appear as if He’s not keeping His promise—because He may be working to meet an even more important need in your life.

  4. God is able to meet your needs. Nothing can thwart Almighty God. He plans the solution to your problem, arranges the events, and brings about the answer at just the right time. Jesus’ promise to His disciples still rings true today: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). No matter how big the problem may be, God is bigger. He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).

But what if my needs remain unmet?

When difficulty or suffering continues, how can we reconcile the Lord’s promise with our unanswered requests?

Differentiate between needs and desires.Since the promise of Philippians 4:19 applies exclusively to needs, the first step should be to determine whether you have a need or a desire. A need is something that is essential to fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. This would include the basics of food, clothing, and shelter (Matt. 6:31-33), but it could also be something specific that’s required to fulfill your personal calling from God. For instance, if you’re a missionary who delivers Bibles in China, having some form of transportation would be necessary for you. But how the Lord meets that need is up to Him. He may provide a mule instead of a truck, but He will supply a way.

In contrast, desires are for our pleasure or enjoyment. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. God is not pro-need and anti-desire. In fact, in Psalm 37:4, we’re promised, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Sometimes God puts a longing in our hearts for something that aligns perfectly with His will. He’s a generous and loving Father “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).

Determine the origin of your need. Knowing where a need originates helps us understand God’s way of meeting it. Whatever created it will determine how He provides. Some of our problems are simply the result of living in a fallen world. Then the Lord works to strengthen us so we can endure and respond to life’s problems with godly attitudes and actions (1 Pet. 2:12). Other needs are created by our own unwise choices. In such cases, He may delay the answer in order to teach us a lesson that will protect us from going down the same foolish path again (Heb. 12:11-13).

But what if you can’t determine the specific cause of your need? You might have a vague sense of dissatisfaction or emptiness, but you can’t put your finger on the source. This kind of neediness is sometimes a heart issue. It may be the result of past experiences—perhaps as far back as childhood—which have damaged your self-esteem. In this case, the Lord’s method of healing your soul may require years of gradually renewing your mind to align with who He says you are in Christ (Eph. 1:3-7). No person, possession, or accomplishment can fill this void; only Christ can do that.

Learn what your responsibilities are. Sometimes God steps into a situation and supplies what’s needed without any effort on our part, but more often than not, we will have a role to play. Our first and most obvious responsibility is to ask the Lord for help. Perhaps He has withheld the solution simply because we haven’t asked, or have asked with wrong motives (James 4:2-3). In doing this, He isn’t being hardhearted; He’s just drawing us to Himself. He wants us to talk with Him about our concerns, depending on Him for guidance and provision.

Our second responsibility is to wait for God to meet our need in His time. When a situation is prolonged, we tend to conclude that the Lord wants us to fix it ourselves, so we jump in and try to resolve the issue. By doing so, we miss out on what He has planned. Not only that, but we often end up in a bigger mess.

The third responsibility is to do exactly what the Lord tells us to do. Now you may be thinking, I never hear God tell me to do anything. Well, if you’re a believer, I can guarantee He’s speaking to you. The problem is your spiritual hearing. If you will spend time alone with the Lord, reading and meditating on His Word, you’ll soon start hearing from Him. He may guide you by means of a Bible verse or a quiet nudging of your heart as you pray about the matter. The important thing is that you obey Him. This isn’t always easy. Since God doesn’t think the way we do, some of His instructions may seem illogical (Isa. 55:8-9). But if you follow His lead, He will guide you straight into His divine solution to your problem.


Questions for Further Study

Paul’s story in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 teaches us how to respond when God doesn’t meet our needs as we expected.

  1. Although Paul was suffering, how did the Lord answer his prayer regarding the “thorn in [his] flesh” (v. 7)?
  2. Instead of granting immediate relief, what greater need in the apostle’s life was God meeting?

Do You Know God?

The Lord’s wonderful assurances have a limitation: Only those who have received Jesus as Savior can expect His promised provision. Christ came to earth to meet your spiritual need for forgiveness, offering life through His defeat of death on the cross and the power of His resurrection. Submit your life to him today, and receive His provision for all your other needs. You can use the following prayer or your own words:

Lord Jesus, I believe You are truly the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing, and let me live in relationship with You from now on. I receive You as my personal Savior, accepting the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross. Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. Amen.

We will gladly send you our free All Things Are New kit to help you take the next step in your relationship with God. Contact our Customer Care department at 800-789-1473 for more information.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


27 comments
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  • April 02, 2014 10:53 AM

    by

    It is not easy to admit that I am in the mess I am in because of bad choices. Some were made with the best of intentions; but, without waiting for God to guide and direct me. I have read the other comments about how hard it is to have Faith an how doubt has crept into their minds and hearts. One verse comes to mind and it is "Jesus wept" John 11:35. He not a cold unfeeling God who does not understand, as a matter of fact I am grateful He has not rewarded my iniquity with
  • December 30, 2011 11:41 AM

    by

    I am grateful to God for you Pastor Stanley. I just arrived at work and needed to hear a word from the Lord. I came to your website and stumbled across this messge. It is just what I needed. I have been in a financial slump since 2009 when my family lost our home to foreclosure. My mother was ill at the time and my family became a bit scattered. I am employed, but due to bad choices and bills, bills, bills, I am in a place that I have never been before. I am praying for God to release a financial blessing to me. There is a great need in my family. I won't go into details, but do know that I am blessed to have come to your site today. May God richly bless you Pastor Stanley.
  • November 30, 2011 03:48 AM

    by

    thanks Pastor Stanley 4 that encouraging message it really encourage me even in situation that we cant understand.Im praying 4 life time work still no answer.Up to this time im waiting 4 Gods perfect timing.I knw the lord is faithful to his promise.
  • November 29, 2011 03:30 PM

    by cbannister

    Dear Pastor Stanley,

    Thank you for the Love, Hope and Faith. Your message on this article gives me another day to believe in the loving God we have. I am at the lowest with my loving child and God speak to me about Faith. O Lord, give me strength to carry on with all the problems I have. Many blessing to you all.
  • November 21, 2011 12:06 PM

    by

    Awesome Praise God for you Dr. Stanley I have struggling and praying and hoping for years for the opportunity to own a car and drive again and regain my independence, my family is suffering and missing out on so much because of my lack of transportation and it has also caused me to not be able to fellowship or help out at my church home. Which I desire more than anything else in life, and that is to be able to put myself out there and work for the kingdom. So I am waiting praying and praising God daily for His loving kindness, and I am not giving up on Him because I know He is not giving up on me. This excerpt helped me to see and understand the changes I need to make in my life. Thank you for sharing I am a huge follower of your ministry and Have grown by leaps and bounds, from God working through you...Blessings to you and your entier Ministry
  • November 20, 2011 11:22 AM

    by

    Trust in God.
  • November 18, 2011 01:40 PM

    by

    God has Blessed you Pastor Stanley he has given you a gift of interpretation. Just when you don't understand you come along and explained so it's a constant renewal of faith. Renewing your faith has to be done overand over because of the way this world is. Praise God for you Pastor and I pray your minstry continues and continues You help me and others to understand . God is forever this world may not be. I wait on the Lord.
  • November 15, 2011 12:21 PM

    by

    Thank you Pastor Stanley for this inspiring article. It helps ease my worries on issues that I do not usually voice out or share with other people. GOD is GOOD. I am in a very unfortunate situation (unemployed and burdened with financial problems) and when I see that things are not working out, and even turns to get worse, it pains me more. At times I feel that I may not be able to recover and fix my problems. By constantly praying to GOD, I feel some sense of comfort in accepting and dealing with these unsettling situations and feelings. But I know GOD has always been there to keep me going. The good thing about the experience is the lesson I learned and the drive to make things better and try to be strong every time I feel depress, hopeless, or even at the verge of giving up. I know that GOD is helping us become WHOLE, to fully appreciate the gifts and blessings. And it is with these journeys (overwhelming at times) that we learn more and appreciate the best that there is in LIFE.....with HIM as our Savior and our BEST FRIEND. Keeping the faith and trusting GOD will give us PEACE and HAPPINESS. We must keep believing that GOD is our BEST ALLY. He will always be THERE for all of us.
  • November 08, 2011 10:07 PM

    by

    praise God for your life Pstr Stanley! very timing and meaningful message. God is good all the time, i have developed a habit of writting a journal of my thanks giving to God no matter what circumstances i hve been facing good or bad whether i like it or not,answered prayer or not,still i drive my self to thank Him.Its a wonderful theraphy, a medecine, a cure and it gives me a sense or peacefulness even in the midst of my problems.Glory to God alwayz!
  • November 08, 2011 09:46 PM

    by

    Powerful words from a man of God, a follower of Christ. Thank you, Dr. Stanley!
  • November 08, 2011 09:42 PM

    by

    Dear brother, i see your program in Portugal-Europe, by the satelite astra 1.
    I congratulate you for you speak and preatch the simplicity of the gospel, and you don´t bring to the church the new revelations of the new gospel that has been preatch all over the world; I mean the gospel of "prosperiti", and falling under a suposal God anoynting, that is complitly unbiblical and biabolical.
    I feel that in nowa days is very dificult to keep hour faith pure because of the many preatcher´s of this so call revival movement, that is a real cancer in the churche.
    God blesse you, and keep you in peace.
    Fernando Costa - from Portugal
  • November 08, 2011 10:24 AM

    by

    Very touching and encouraging message. Im so blest. Indeed I know that God will provide my needs. My hope is in Him. Praise the Lord!!!

    God bless you and your ministry.
  • November 08, 2011 09:59 AM

    by

    I can only imagine what it must be like to lose your home and end up in a homeless shelter.

    I assume that being a Christian sets you apart somewhat from many of your friends. They may be watching you right now to see what you are going to do.

    Most likely, you have professed your faith in God to others but now that it is getting very difficult your faith is wavering. God may be waiting to send what you have requested because He is using you to set an example for others. They see your suffering and want to know just how well "connected" to God you really are. I believe we have to "hang in there" for however long it takes. By doing this you show non-believers that God will come through; we just have to have FAITH.

    During the long times of waiting on God's answer we may be suffering but in His word he teaches us that suffering for His sake is righteous.

    There are times when we all get "beaten up" by what the world has dealt us. In these times I try and remember that what I am going through is nothing comapred to the suffering that Christ did for me on the cross.

  • November 07, 2011 03:28 PM

    by

    Dear Dr.Stanley,i am agree all the comment of others have said.I thanks God the Father to use you to help us in time of discourages and time of faithless.yesterday i have a bad bad day discourages, God not meet my needs and to answer my prayer (for my daughther) to get her back from my home country to be here in NZ.very disappointed i started hear wrong voice told me God not provided for me ever.I know that not from God.this morning my day off,so as always i visit you website to read your message here it is message Unmet needs.I thank God for you and may He bless you and your ministries.now my heart,soul,mind and spirit feel easy and peace, after i read this messages (Unmet needs).
  • November 05, 2011 10:30 AM

    by

    Thank you Dr.Stanley for allowing the LORD to use you to reach those he has determined to touch. i know that each person who has read this timely article has specific need for having done so, whether to put to use in their own life or to be used themselves of the LORD to touch another who has need. Thank you to our Father God Almighty for His amazing ways.
  • November 04, 2011 02:00 PM

    by

    I never thought God would allow me to end up homeless. Even till the hour I lost my home, I believed he would help me. Now as I sit in a homeless shelter after working my entire life and having job after job go overseas or being laid off....I really don't know what to do. I thought that the people who were homeless were the ones who didn't believe in Jesus or worshipped drugs or other things....I can't comprehend this in my mind what purpose this serves?
  • November 03, 2011 09:00 PM

    by

    Pastor Stanley, you touched issues in my life through your message. May God continue to use you to minister to our needs so we can better serve Him.GOD BLESS , A SISTER IN CHRIST!
  • November 03, 2011 02:11 PM

    by

    Dr.Stanley, thank you I always needs the words as well..I just wanted to say you always make me feel better..I do thank god for you and its such a blessing to hear
    what you have to say..I know god is going to show me the way.. God bless you and you staff..I love you and your family..take care
  • November 03, 2011 11:29 AM

    by

    thank you for teaching us Gods ways this one really insures ou faith in asking for i myself have be blessed at the last second or drop of poverty homelessness yet God provided a home when my wife an i didnt have a dime so many times God has answered our prayers thru it all the cold or even hot wicked days so many folks cared an prayed for us i was amazed undeseving of any prayers yet true miricles have occurred and i can thank God foremost an so many other whom have prayed or reach out in there own pockets to help us and others ,just amazingly wonderful in such a hard world
  • November 03, 2011 11:01 AM

    by

    This article was timely; however, I've been standing on every promise and scripture you quoted and my needs remain unmet. I'm to the point that I don't know what I believe any more and each day I am losing faith in God. Holding on to the promises of God is easier said than done, especially when all "hell" is breaking loose in your life. I am often reminded of a quote from my friends and well meaning individuals found in Psalm 42, "where is your God..." Each day I wait with expectancy to see if God is going to supply my needs but it has not happened or at least the way I want it to happen. When one's house is in foreclosure, have not worked for over two years, have to rely on the mercy of strangers to feed you especially when the Word says, "I've never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread". Well guess what? I've been begging for bread. Lately it's been hard for me to see/grasp the picture of a holy loving God who will let His children suffer. It may be due to my limited understanding of God but I'm suffering nonetheless.
  • November 03, 2011 09:06 AM

    by

    Pastor, this a very profound article. It reaches everyone in the deepest recesses of their hearts.

    I have gone through valleys and have always climbed back atop the mountains because God has always been faithful and will forever be.
  • November 03, 2011 12:24 AM

    by

    This message is timely in what i'm experiencing as of this moment and i'm getting strength to all that i have read. May the good Lord understand my iniquities, my shortcomings coz i felt so low. Forgive me O lord. Give me strength to carry on.
  • November 02, 2011 10:01 PM

    by

    I thank God for all He has put in you and for you shareing it with us. Truely this Blessing is from our Lord. Truely I have been Blessed by this message and all your other ones also. Thank you with all my heart and soul. I have given your site to m y friends. So more will be Blessed with what the Lord has shared with you to us.
  • November 02, 2011 08:48 PM

    by

    Dr stanley I know what you are saying. I have to say my hope is in God but to be truthful my faith doesn't always follow my hope.
  • November 02, 2011 04:01 PM

    by Coketomo

    Dear Pastor Stanley,
    I used to believe God did not answer my needs prayers because he never seemed to answer them the way I thought he should but now let me tell you how he knocked me over answering before I asked.
    My employer began making more and more wage cuts and at home my elderly parent was needing more assistance. My job involved start times and travel times that varied it was so hard to meet the needs I had committed to. I asked God to clear some busyness from my life. I was sitting at my desk two weeks ago when I got a call from a temp employment agency who had located a resume I posted 7 years ago and never updated. The agent asked me if I was still looking for work and I told her I just was hesitant to go through a temp agency when i was already at a full time job. She said wait let me tell you about this job, the job is with a well known company and pays about 1 and a half more than I make now. It is a full hire job and with steady hours and very close to my house. I mentioned it to a friend and I said well I guess I'd better get some better business clothes. My friend said "I just inherited some business clothes from my aunt who passed away but they do not fit me, try them on. I did and wow they fit, I passed all of the tests and yesterday I was notified that I am a finalist and will know after final interviews this coming Monday. I had not thought about my 7 year old resume and I had not applied at any jobs, now you tell me is Our God amazing or what, providing things that I did not lift a finger for. God bless you and this ministry thanks for hearing my story

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