The Old Testament book of Job is a story about a man who faced the question of what is a desire and what is a need. This man, Job, is literally stripped of all of the things that made up his life. It is not an easy book to read or understand, but it’s very instructive in determining desires versus needs.
At the beginning of the book God and Satan have a discussion about Job, and God agrees to allow Satan to test Job’s commitment to God. In the first test, God allows Satan to take away all of Job’s possessions, including his children, but doesn’t allow him to harm Job physically. In the course of a single day, all of Job’s livestock, sheep, camels, servants, and children are killed or taken away fron him.
At the end of this single day, Job still praises God.
Not to be deterred, Satan comes again and this time asks to remove Job’s health from him. God agrees but says Satan may not take his life. Satan promptly strikes Job with painful boils from head to foot.
God establishes the bottom line with Satan where Job is concerned. Throughout the book of Job, no matter what else happens to him, Job has his physical needs met enough for him to continue to live. Job’s desires for understanding, vindication, relief, and restoration have to wait. With nearly everything taken away from him, it becomes clearer to see what constitutes a true need. In our own lives, we need that kind of clarity.
SOURCE: Chapter 1, “The Power of Want,” in Gotta Have It! by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.