All I need

He was parched. For more than a month, He had plastered His footprint around the barren desert. He walked during the cooler parts of the day and found rest during the darkest watches of the night. The sun beat down upon His brow with intense heat. Sitting to rest and pray was necessary to go on. In this wilderness, He was tempted by Satan, but the Holy Spirit had sent Him there (Mk. 1:12). He was with wild animals, but angels cared for Him (1:13).


He had fasted 40 days in the desert. Jesus needed food, right? After all, He was hungry. A hungry man needs food. Satan used that exact argument: “You need food! Turn these stones into bread.” Jesus answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). A hungry man needs a higher sustenance that goes beyond natural food.

When you bore down to the deepest level, we all need this sustenance. What do you need? You need whatever will sustain you to accomplish God’s will for your life. But where does that sustenance come from?

Of course, you need to be eating properly and caring for your body. But food alone will not sustain you. Satan later tried to tempt Jesus with worldly riches (Mt. 4:8-10). Do you need money? We’ve heard often that Jesus clothes lilies and watches over sparrows. Luke records that He feeds the ravens too (Lk. 12:24). This is gripping because, according to Jewish law, ravens were ceremonially unclean birds. These birds could not be given as an acceptable sacrifice. Yet the LORD provides even for them. He sees your need. He knows what will sustain you. We are not to set our hope on “the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).
 
Are you too dependent upon important people in your life? I’m not saying you should neglect other relationships because you have Jesus. When you follow Christ, you learn that He often encourages and speaks through others in His body. But we must be able to spend time alone with Him, to look to Him first, as we wait upon and listen to Him.

Philippians 4:19 speaks of God meeting all of the believers’ needs “according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” In His wilderness time of need, Christ’s sustenance came through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the ministry of angels (Lk. 4:1, 4; Mt. 4:11; Mk. 1:13). Followers of Jesus have access to all three of these (Heb. 1:14).

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is our sustenance. In other words, when you introduce someone to Jesus, you give her everything (Col. 3:11). Paul learned to be content in all circumstances, because he trusted the One who always provides (Phil. 4:11-13). The writer of Hebrews states, “Be content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5). But how? The verse continues explaining we’re content because the LORD says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

You have only one true need. It’s not food or drink, riches, or even friends. If you will hold fast to Jesus, He will provide your daily sustenance that you might carry out His will. Find delight in His presence. He will use whatever means necessary, whether food, people, or supernatural strength during 40 days in the desert, to sustain you. In Christ alone, you truly have all you need.

Divine appointments

Sitting aboard a 6:30 a.m. Megabus, I was overcome with the reality of the sovereign power of God. Lightning illuminated a dark sky. As we drove through a pouring rainstorm devoid of thunder, I recalled the morning’s events.

I’d planned to take a 5:30 a.m. Brown Line train to make my bus with wiggle room. The day before, I worked from morning till midnight, showered, and set out clothes with excitement to visit my sweetheart and family over New Year’s.

I slept through my alarm and sat up in bed at 6 a.m. in a daze. I dove from the top bunk and confirmed my bus would leave at 6:30. My thoughts raced as I hurried around my room: could I catch a later “L” train and still make it? The train schedule didn’t cooperate with mine. Of course, a taxi! I was struck at that moment with a bolt of truth. The LORD was answering my prayer offered up the day before: “Lord Jesus, as I go, set divine appointments for me to share the faith.”

I flew down the hall, onto the elevator, and out the front door. Abduhl, my Muslim cab driver, spotted me flailing my arms and splashing through puddles down Wells Street.

As he hit the gas toward Union Station, he asked if I was studying religion at Moody Bible. Our spiritual conversation accelerated.

He told me about his religion and warned me not to go as a missionary to his home, Somalia: “They won’t listen, and it’ll be a waste of money.” Abduhl asked me, “Who is Jesus to you?” I explained, Jesus is God in flesh, and He died to defeat death and conquer the devil (Jn. 8:58-59; 10:30-33; Col. 2:15). When it came time for payment, the fare was half what I’d expected, and I’d kept my first appointment. In the rush, I’d left a few items in my room, but I’d also left a Gospel tract and my email with Abduhl.

I boarded a crowded bus and filled one of the few remaining seats. The open spot beside me was soon taken by Josh, the tech guy for a creative nonviolence group in Chicago. He and his wife were also traveling for the holiday. He’d heard of Moody and was gracious during our few minutes of conversation. I asked if he planned to sleep on the bus. When he nodded yes, I noted his organization’s website and gave him a Gospel tract with my email. He thanked me and agreed to consider my message. Appointment number two kept.

My itinerary said I’d have only five minutes to make the transfer onto the bus that would carry me home to family. I’d heard these buses were often delayed. I sat in the dark, wondering if I’d make it. In that moment of anxiety, I surrendered to the LORD’s sovereignty. The Living God, who woke me up on time for my Gospel-sharing appointments, would lead and guide me safely to His intended destination with or without an alarm clock.

We rolled in about half an hour early, and I shared the Gospel with a few people at the bus station and a non-practicing Jew named Mike during the final leg of the journey. Each appointment had been purposefully set by my Heavenly Father. When I arrived, I learned some Jehovah’s Witness friends of the family wanted to talk about theology. “Can I set an appointment?” a beloved family member asked. I knew an appointment had already been set on the Lord’s calendar. On the return trip, I kept appointments with a confused college student named Andy, John from Mexico, and Samson from Japan.

Could it be that my temporary challenges were necessary in the glorious outworking of God’s plan to draw these people nearer to a saving knowledge of Jesus? Our present suffering is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). The King of the universe turns darkness into light and makes the rough places smooth (Isa. 42:16). He’s trustworthy and in control.