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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - Where Is God?

Jentezen Franklin - Where Is God?

Jentezen Franklin - Where Is God
Jentezen Franklin - Where Is God

If you have your Bibles, I'd love for you to open them with me, please, to the Book of Job 23:8. Job says "I look, and I go forward, but He," speaking of God, "He is not there and backward, but I cannot perceive Him. When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him and when He turns, and I turn and go right, I can't see Him then". Verse 10, "But He knows the way that I take, and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold". Powerful, powerful words. It's obvious that Job is in a time in his life where he's saying God, where are you. That's what I'm preaching on, "Where is God"? He's saying, "God, where are you"? He's saying, "I'm searching. I'm looking. I'm going forward, backwards, left, and right, and I cannot find, perceive, or see you at all. You seem unconcerned, absent, and silent when I need you the most".

He had lost his family, his children. He had lost his wealth. He had lost his health. He had lost his friends. He had lost everything good in his life, and now in Chapter 23 He's lost his God. I mean, that's when you really hit the place about as low as you can go when you can't find, you feel like you're God abandoned. The absence of God. It's unexplained. He's not there. God, where are you? Listen to his description. He said, "Behold, I go forward, but He is not there".

In other words, he's saying, "You know, I didn't turn back when I got in hard times. I didn't quit. I kept going forward. I'm hurting. I don't understand. I don't know what's going on, but I'm not a quitter. I didn't abandon my faith. I haven't given up. I'm moving forward," but he's being honest, and he's saying, "I went forward, and I'm waiting. Everybody told me, you know, hold on. God's coming," and he said, "I'm going forward, and I don't see him anywhere out there, and I haven't quit. I haven't given up. I'm still moving in the right direction," but he said, "I don't see God". He said, "I just don't see Him. I just keep going through it".

And then the second thing he says is, "I went backward". I thought that was an interesting way to describe it. Kind of thought, well, maybe there's something in my past that can explain why I'm here. Maybe there's something in my, almost like Job lays down on the psychiatrist's couch, and he says, "Take me back to my childhood. Take me back to my teenage years. What happened? How did I end up here? What series of events? What did I do that made me end up in this place"? He's going backwards. He's saying, "Is there anything in my past? Is there anything back there? Is there anything in my birth or my heredity"? You know, "Is there anything in my genes"? How in the world?

He goes back, and he can't find any peace and any answers. He goes forward. He doesn't see much hope. He doesn't see any change and still trying. Then he really takes a turn. He said, "I went left". Did you see that? He said I turned left. In other words, I'm going way out in left field. He got aggravated now, and he's saying like some people do, "I'm going out in left field. It ain't working. That ain't working. Prayer's not working. God's not working. Church is not working anymore for me. Faith isn't working. I'm going in left field. I'm gonna try Eastern," I'm preaching it my way. It's my sermon. I'll preach it like I want.

"I'm gonna try Eastern religion. I'm gonna try Buddha. Buddha, Buddha, Buddha. I'm gonna try, I'm gonna try Mohammad. I'm gonna try this. I'm gonna try spiritualism. I'm gonna try nature. I'm gonna try. I'm not going to church. I'm going into left field. I'm gonna try something new. I'm gonna try something. My friend did yoga, and that's their new religion, and they're getting into this, and they're getting into that. All right. May have even been I'm gonna get way out in left field. I'm gonna try witchcraft, or I'm gonna try spiritual, the spiritual world of chanting and burning incense to gods and all kinds of religions". But you know what? He didn't find anything out there. And then he said lastly, "I turn back right. I turn back right". He said, "I went on the left hand, and He wasn't there. I went before me, behind me, and then I turned right on the right hand".

You know, you can't ever go wrong if you go right. You keep, you know, you keep doing the right thing and nothing right is happening. You keep saying the right thing, and you still aren't getting the breakthrough. You keep going to church and doing everything you're supposed to do and trying to read the Bible, but it's like it don't really, it's not. I'm doing the right, I went right, but right is wrong. Nothing's right. Y'all act like y'all don't know what I'm preaching about, but I know what I'm preaching about. This is right in the Bible. But I love what he said at the end of the conclusion of it all. His conclusion is, "I don't know where I am anymore. I don't know what's going on anymore". But he said, "I don't know where He is, but He knows where I am. For He knows the path that I take".

Did you hear that verse? "He knows where I am even when I don't know where He is, and I can't perceive Him, and I can't, He knows my name. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows my fingerprint. He knows everything about the path that I am on," and then he ends with a powerful faith confession, "and when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold". Wow! That's powerful. I wanna tell you about a man in the New Testament in a family that went through what I just described Job went through in the Old Testament. It's in the Bible in the Book of John, the 11th chapter. This family really loved the Lord. I mean really. They knew Him meaning the Lord Jesus Christ, they knew Him intimately.

So much so that when He had time off, He went to their home. He ate at their table. You don't get as close, I mean, you talk about the inside track. You talk about His click. You talk about people on the inside of the circle. It was Martha and her servitude. It was Mary and her amazing love and devotion, and then there was Lazarus. Lazarus and Jesus were just good friends. It clicked. You know how it is with a real friend, an old friend? You don't even have to work at it. You don't care if they call you and you call them. It's when you see each other it's just there. And now Lazarus gets sick. Something is wrong. His fever is burning. His breathing is erratic. He's even losing all of his strength. He's dying, and they knew he was dying, and they sent for Jesus.

A runner goes and finds Jesus and says, "Your friend whom you love is sick, even unto death, and they need you, and Mary and Martha, you know, your friends, the ones that you're really close with want you to hurry up and come heal Him". And the Bible said that Jesus affirmed that He was aware and that He would be there and the servant goes back and all the neighborhood, all the community knew that family has a real relationship with Jesus right there. And so, we know Jesus is gonna come and deliver them, and we're about to have a praise party in this city and in this community and this neighborhood 'cause when Jesus comes, Lazarus is gonna be healed.

And so, they're waiting and they're waiting and one hour, and they start asking that runner. You know, "Did He say He was coming"? "Yes, He's coming". "Where is He"? "He's on the way. He's coming any minute now". A whole day goes by, and he's sicker and sicker. He's breathing. He's got the death rattle in his throat. He's sick. "Where is He? Where is He? He promised He would come. Where is He? Why is He not here"? They start asking, "What did He say? Did He say He was coming"? "He said He was coming". But Jesus did not show up for days. I want you to understand something. "Sure, He's coming". "You're sure He told you"? "I'm sure He told me".

You know what? We smirk 'cause we know the rest of the story. We know that He showed up and raised Lazarus from the dead. No big deal to us, but that family felt like God had failed them, felt like God was not there, that God did not care, but then John 11:15 when Jesus arrives they kind of are upset with Him, and He says these words, "And I am glad for your sake I was not there when he was sick and dying". Well, wow! Isn't that beautiful. Thank you, Jesus. "I was glad for your sake that I was not there". The brother's sick. He stayed away deliberately for 48 hours until he dies and when he gets there in the yard, he says, "I'm glad I didn't come and give you the miracle that you were asking for".

I wanna give you a quick three lessons from this story that you don't need to ever forget. "He's dead and I'm glad for your sake that I wasn't there". Number one, this story teaches us that God is still working when you think your situation is at its last sickening conclusion. They thought it was over. He's dead. He's buried. The funeral is over. There's nothing good to come of this. It's finished. It didn't happen. God didn't hear us. God didn't do what we expected Him to do. I held on. I came to the end of my rope. I tied a knot on the end of the rope, and the knot gave way, and I fell, and it's finished. But this story tells me that when you think it's over, God is still working.

Number two, God's delays are always deliberate. John 11:5-6, "And when Jesus knew Mary and Martha and Lazarus and when He heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days in the same place". It says clearly, number one, He loved them. It says clearly, number two, to prove it. He stayed away and let them go through pain and sorrow and heartbreak and mental anguish like you could not believe. Weeping, grieving, crying, breakdown, grief, and Jesus did not get there and let them not go through that, and He loved them. Why was He late? Because all they could believe could come good of that was a healing, but He knew and saw beyond the healing.

If Lazarus's suffering had been averted, then the tremendous miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus, he would've been just another healing that Jesus did, but I'm standing in a pulpit thousands of years later, and I'm preaching and telling the testimony of the Lord who raised Lazarus from the dead, and the only reason is because if Jesus would have spared that family from mental anguish, they would have missed the greater joy of a resurrection that would touch the community, that would touch the nation, and that would touch the world and outlive their family with that testimony of all things that God was doing that they could not perceive or understand. God's delays are always deliberate because He's going to work a greater miracle than what you think you need.

And you know what? If that's what we have to go through to get every one of us in heaven, if it absolutely requires us going through tears and suffering and yet not missing the thing that matters which is our soul's name written in the Lamb's Book of Life, it's worth any and everything. You don't know the mind of God. Clap your hands and say amen. Oh, this is what touched me. I want you to just turn to somebody and say He's working something greater for you. I know you've been a little discouraged. I know you've been a little down. I know you've turned backwards and forwards and tried to figure it out, but He's working something greater.

Third point, Jesus wept. He gets there. Think about it. He knows that what He's doing is greater. It's gonna be bigger than what they're even at asking Him to do. He allows them to go through mental anguish, and they're screaming and they're crying, and "God failed us. God wasn't there. Where was God? Why didn't He do something? How could a good God allow this? Where are you"? I'm not making fun of you. The reason I preach that is 'cause that's me. Yeah, even preachers struggle. Even preachers go through times where you question everything. Oh, you want a perfect preacher? This one ain't one. Look at him. My goodness, but you want a preacher who has a perfect Savior and who's waiting and that Savior's ways are right and that Savior's ways are working for the good and that Savior is faithful and that Savior loves us?

I gotta keep preaching, but I just feel like shouting. I just feel like shouting. I'm not trying to work you up. I'm not trying to pump you up. I'm just here to tell you today that God knows the path that you take. And Jesus wept. He knows that He's gonna end up doing good, but He weeps because the present plan for their lives, this family, the present plan for their lives is causing Mary and Martha heartache and sorrow, and even though He knows it's a set up, "Guys, y'all acting crazy. I'm about to bless your sock. I'm about to do something that you cannot imagine," but He's so caring that He weeps and He hurts when we hurt. He knows it's gonna all work out according to His eternal plan.

Read Ephesians 3 sometime. My goodness. "All things are working toward the manifold wisdom of God that will cause even principalities and powers to marvel". The Bible says that. "According to the purpose of God, He's preordained everything". It's like the parts of a puzzle. Some months ago, Cherise got into puzzles, and she started laying this big, massive puzzle out on the table, and she would put it together, piece, piece, piece. It would take her weeks to do these, she'd just do it when she had some time, and I got in right at the end when there were just maybe 40 pieces left, and I sat down. She said, "Do it with me one day".

And so I sat down, and I found a piece, and she couldn't find it, and I was so proud of myself, and I put it, and she said, "That's not the one," and I said, "But it fits". She said, "Look," and I said, "They make mistakes. You know, it doesn't have to be just, it really fits, and it kind of lines up and it's the same color and stuff. It's gotta be the one. We've looked at all of these. It's not here". That's what we do. We pick up a piece of the puzzle, and we isolate it, and we say this doesn't fit. This doesn't fit in our family. This doesn't fit in my life. How could God let? This doesn't fit. Well, it does fit. We pick up one isolated piece, and we say God's not in it. God's not in it.

There was a mistake here. All these other pieces, they fit, but this doesn't fit. All things. The reason that it doesn't fit is because it's not all together, but when you take that one piece that doesn't fit and you build everything else, you know what you're gonna find if it's the last piece? I couldn't find it anywhere else, but now that it's there it fits. It's not all together yet. That's why it doesn't fit. When we all get to heaven on streets of gold and our families are there, then we'll be able to say it all fit. He used it for, if that hadn't happened somehow, the enemy thought, but God used it for our good. You can stand up at every campus.

Every head bowed, every eye closed at every campus. There are young people listening to me, and to you I apologize for my generation of preachers that has not preached enough truth to you. You cannot go to heaven and live like hell. You cannot die in your sin and expect to end up in heaven. Somewhere you're gonna have to walk through a sword and say, Lord, I know you don't require perfection, but I'm not playing God games. I wanna serve you. I wanna live for you. I wanna give my life up so that I can gain my life. "Pastor, pray for me. I need God today. I'm going through what you're preaching. I need that Savior that will weep with me. I need that Savior that will take all things and make it good. I need to know that I'm connected to His purpose and not far from Him. Pray for me. I wanna get right with God today, Pastor. Pray for me".

If that's you in this house or any of the campuses. I want you to raise your hand high right where you're standing. No shame in it. It's only victory in it. Oh, there are so many hands. Every one of you that got lifted your hand get out of your seat. Please don't try to compromise. Walk into the swinging sword as you get out of that pew, as you get out of that section and you begin to walk down that aisle you are walking into the swinging sword, and the Lord says I can set you free. I can cut you loose. I can sever you from your past. I can heal you. I can help you. I can deliver you. Come on. Lift your hands all over this building. Come on as they come. Come, come, come, come. He loves you. Come on. Right there where you're watching this in your homes. Just surrender. Just throw your hands up and say:

Lord Jesus, oh God, I give you my life. Oh, God, I lay my life down for you.

You know, He doesn't want you to die. He wants you to live. He wants you to know hope, know peace, know Jesus. He's available. Call on Him. Come on. Anyone else? This is your altar call. This is your altar service.

Now all of you who came forward this morning, say these words:

Jesus, save me. Write my name in the Book of Life. Set me free. Sever with your holy sword everything that's not like you, that's hindering me. Set me free. I receive it because you love me. I don't earn it. I don't have to deserve it. You love me. You know the path I take and you know my name. Thank you. Thank you for forgiving me.

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