Living with Need
by Ryan Duncan
It all began with an enormous doctor’s bill. Over the past few months I had been trying to do a better job at budgeting my finances. This had never been one of my strong points, but slowly, surely, I felt like I was starting to make progress toward becoming a true, independent adult. Then the doctor’s bill came. Aside from putting a huge dent in my finances, what made things even more frustrating was that I began to recall the appointment in question.
The doctor had been almost two hours late and had left me waiting in one of those small service rooms, convinced I’d die of old age before he arrived. After that, there had been the tetanus shot that left my arm feeling stiff and sore for the rest of the day. Now I was looking down at a small piece of paper that told me I was expected to pay a ridiculous sum of money for the inconvenience of both. I decided the first thing to do was pray and ask God to help me with my finances. Once I had finished, I began flipping through my Bible for some sense of assurance.
I finally landed on this verse in Philippians:
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. – Philippians 4:10-14
This was not the answer I had hoped for. No one likes being told to tighten their belt, and as I began cleaning up my apartment I couldn't help feeling a little annoyed at God. Midway through my work, I realized I had just enough food in my pantry, my rent was paid, and my car hadn't died on me yet. So maybe I'd have to eat leftovers for a few meals or spend an evening reading instead of going out, so maybe I was living with a little bit of need; I had a lot more than many.
Sometimes it's easy to overlook the ways God has blessed our lives. We worry about what we don’t have, instead of looking around and acknowledging what God has already provided. So when times of need start to make you worry, remember that God will always provide, though not always in the way you might expect.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Count your blessings. There's almost surely more of them than it may seem at first.