Want vs. Need

By Jake Summerlin, 9th grader


How do we know if what we want is really what we need?


It doesn't appear that humankind knows what it really needs. It is very tough to think for ourselves and to think rightly. It seems that one wrong decision could send our lives spiraling, which puts a lot of pressure on the decision-making process. Knowing what we want and knowing what we need are two different things. Even the people in the Holy Bible, who appear to be all one with God in everything, have trouble understanding the difference between what they want and what they need.

For instance, if we take the character Peter Simon, who was one of Jesus' disciples, we would know that before he meets Jesus, he was just an ordinary fisherman in a small town. What we may not know is that he was the macho man of the bunch who was captain of his crew, and everybody looked up to him. So if we were in his place, we would probably feel pretty content, thinking we have it made in life. We may even think that this is all we want or need out of life. Now, deep down, we all know that the Sunday school response would be, "God is the only one who knows what we want because He created us and knows everything." This would be correct. Look what happened to Peter! He was top man without a care in the world, and then Jesus comes along and shows him a whole new meaning to his life. Jesus was his savior when Peter did not even know he needed one. But God knew what Peter needed. So, if we let God make our choices, everything will fall into place according to God's plan.

I have had experiences like this. All through my life I have pretty much achieved everything that I set my eyes on -- from grades, to sports, to toys, to whatever. One of my goals was to achieve a certain level of play in soccer by a certain age. When I did not achieve that goal, I was devastated. I thought that my year was ruined, that I had been sent all the way back to the starting gate, and that all my hard work that summer had been wasted. I later talked with my mom, and she suggested that maybe God has another plan for me, and maybe I was meant for something else. Maybe I had not learned something earlier in my life that I needed to learn. Maybe I needed to step back in order to move forward.

It turns out that I did indeed need to take a different path -- other than the one I had intended for myself in order to achieve my goal. It turns out that the path I needed to take had very good benefits, which helped me address issues I had no idea I had. It also brought to my attention that maybe I was not as good as I thought I was. Now, at this present time, I have achieved my desired level of play. So the journey proved to me that while I do not always know what I want, there is Someone who knows what I need. That someone is God. This journey has brought me a whole new light on trusting God.

When we trust God and allow God to make our decisions, God fulfills our "needs." The most obvious thing that I can think of that humankind needs -- especially in times of emptiness, frustration, fear -- is really love for each other. When we rely on God for help, we can always help each other, no matter what the predicament. We can be certain that all we have ever needed or will ever need has been right here with us the whole time.