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Joel Osteen - Divine Detours


Joel Osteen - Divine Detours

I want to talk to you today about Divine Detours. We all have times in life where things go wrong: unexpected challenges, close doors, people that walk away. It's easy to get discouraged and think "We must have missed it because it didn't work out". But God uses the wrongs to move us into our purpose. What looks like a setback is really a divine detour, the hand of God taking us through wrongs that are leading us to rights. We don't understand it, doesn't make sense to us, "The door closed, that was wrong". "They lied about me, that was wrong". "The pandemic hit, Joel, right when my business started, that was wrong".

I know it seems unfair, I know it doesn't feel good, but the wrongs are necessary to get to the rights. They're a part of God's plan. You couldn't become who you were created to be without the wrongs. If you don't understand this, you'll fight everything that goes wrong: upset over that co-worker that left you out, bitter because that person walked away, discouraged over that plan that fell through. But what if you knew it had to happen? That God was using the wrongs? That what you thought was a setback is really a divine detour? Then you'd stay in peace. You'd say, "God, I don't understand it, feels wrong to me, but God, I trust you. I know you're ordering my steps. I know, you know what's best for me".

Jesus was on the Mount of Olives about to be arrested and crucified. The soldiers showed up, Judas kissed him on the cheek, said "That's the one". They went to apprehend Jesus, but Peter said, "I don't think so. This is wrong". He got his sword out and cut off the soldier's ears, said "Take that. You're not taking my Messiah". It was wrong that Jesus was falsely accused. It was wrong that people mocked him, was wrong that he was betrayed, wrong that the religious leaders condemned him. Peter had a good point, "I'm going to do something about these wrongs". The other disciples were about to follow suit, they said (Luke 22:49), "Lord, should we fight them too? We brought our swords". Jesus said to them, "Don't resist anymore". He was saying, "Put down your swords. Quit fighting these wrongs: they're a part of my destiny".

What you can't see is all these wrongs are leading to a right. The wrongs are necessary to get us into our purpose. Without the betrayals, the rejection, people not accepting him Jesus would have never gone to the cross, we wouldn't have salvation. It wasn't the enemy leading him into the wrongs, it was the hand of God. Now, I'd love to tell you that if you'll honor God, keep him first place, you'll only see favor, promotion, good breaks - that's not reality. God uses the wrong. There will be delays, setbacks, things you don't understand. And like Peter, you'll be tempted to fight, get upset, live frustrated, "God, where are you"? No, God is saying, "Put down your sword. Quit fighting everything you don't like. Quit being frustrated by the wrongs". God is in complete control. All those wrongs, I can assure you, they're leading you to a right. You have to get through the wrongs to see the awesome things God has in store.

But too many people get stuck in the wrongs, "Why did they leave me? Why didn't the loan not go through? Why didn't I get that position". Here's a good thought: don't fight it, flow with it. Yes, it's wrong. Yes, it's painful. But God wouldn't have allowed it if it wasn't leading you to the right thing. It's a divine detour. Every wrong is not the enemy, sometimes it's God working out his plan for your life. How you handle the wrongs will depend on whether you see the right. If you see every wrong as the enemy, get upset, try to pay people back, "I can't believe this happened", then you'll get stuck. But when you understand that God has divine detours, that he uses the wrongs, things we don't understand to move us into our destiny, you won't fight it, you'll flow with it.

This is what the apostle Paul did. He was doing the right thing, going to different cities and building churches, writing the New Testament when he was arrested for sharing his faith. He was on a boat, headed toward Rome. In the middle of the journey there was a huge storm. For 14 days they didn't see the sun or the stars. The waves were so high, and the wind's so strong, got to the point where they couldn't steer the ship. And God had promised Paul that he was going to stand before Caesar. Now, the captain of the ship, the crew, they'd all given up. They were throwing the cargo overboard, trying to keep the ship from sinking. Paul told them not to worry, that their life was not going to be lost. The scripture says, "The captain took down the cells, and let the wind blow the ship wherever the storm wanted it to go".

And I know we stand against sickness, we stand against addictions, but there are some storms that you don't fight. You have to take down yourselves, quit trying to make it work out your way, quit trying to fix it, it's a divine detour. You fighting that storm is fighting the purpose of God. You're not going to win. What you can't see is the wrong, the storm is leading to a right. It's taking you to where God wants you to go. Sometimes trouble is transportation, it's moving you one step further to where you're supposed to be.

Paul told the captain in effect, "Don't fight it, flow with it". Paul understood this principle that the wrongs weren't keeping him from his destiny, they were taking him to his destiny. The ship crashed on some rocks. He and all those on board swam to an island. There were a bunch of natives living there, Paul shared the good news and some became believers. There were sick people Paul prayed for they were healed. It wasn't a bad break, it was a divine detour. The storm was a part of God's plan to move Paul to an island in need. Instead of fighting the wrongs, look around at who's in your life, who can you be a blessing to, who can you encourage, who can you pray for, who can you mentor? Maybe that storm was God moving you into position to impact someone else.

How about putting your sword down? How about not resisting everything? Instead of fighting it, try flowing with it. God will never allow something that he's not going to use for your good. And we know God will take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good, but what I want us to see is many things are not the enemy. God uses wrongs to move us into our purpose. If you see every setback, every betrayal, every negative thing as the enemy, then you'll live frustrated, wondering "Why God let it happen? Maybe I did something wrong"? Or could it be like Paul, you're in the perfect will of God, but you're on a divine detour.

You see, Joseph was a teenager when God put a dream in his heart that one day he would be in leadership, that he would do great things. What happened? Doors opened good? People showed up, promotion? No, his brothers became jealous and threw him into a pit. Betrayal - that was wrong. He was sold as a slave, went to a foreign country, didn't speak the language - that was wrong. He was working hard, being his best when the owner's wife lied about it, falsely accused him, he was put in prison - another wrong. One night the Pharaoh, the leader of the country had a dream that he didn't understand. Someone told him that Joseph, this prisoner could interpret dreams. The scripture says (Genesis 41:14), "They brought Joseph quickly to the palace". All these wrongs, now he's about to meet the most powerful person of that day. He interpreted the dream. Pharaoh was so impressed, he made Joseph the prime minister of all of Egypt, second in command only to him.

Notice how all the wrongs were leading to a right. Without one of the wrongs he'd never gotten to the palace. If he'd skipped the betrayal, if his brothers wouldn't have been jealous, the whole plan wouldn't have worked. If he hadn't have been sold as a slave, if the lady hadn't lied about him, we wouldn't be talking about Joseph. All the wrongs were necessary to get to the right place. Now, maybe you're having some wrongs in your life: people that didn't keep their word, the pandemic set you back, the door closed on that dream you worked so hard for. How do you know you're not a Joseph? Do you think somehow that when God was planning your life he was having a bad day? No, those are divine detours. You are still in the palm of God's hand. Now what you do in the detour, what you do in the wrongs will determine whether you come out or whether you stay there.

If Joseph was bitter, upset, "God, I can't believe it! I know you promised me this, why did you let my brothers do this to me"? If he'd been trying to get revenge, he wouldn't have made it to the right place. Joseph's attitude was, "I don't like it, it's not fair, but I'm not going to fight it, I'm going to flow with it. I know God is still on the throne. And what's his purpose for my life will come to pass".

Are you fighting or are you flowing? Do you have your sword out, trying to straighten people out, fix this problem, manipulate this situation, worn out, trying to get rid of the wrongs? Try a different approach: put your sword up. Quit fighting and start flowing. That storm is leading you to your destiny. God wouldn't have allowed it if it was going to stop your purpose. If that person that walked away could stop your destiny, they would be more powerful than God. If that betrayal, disappointment, the closed door could keep you from your purpose, then it would be stronger than God. Yes, it was wrong. I'm not saying it wasn't hurtful, I know it didn't feel good, but you have to understand: it's leading you to a right. It's not random, it's strategic. It's not the enemy, it's the hand of God, leading you into something more amazing than you've ever imagined.

Joseph said to his brothers, Genesis chapter 50:20, "You did this for evil, but God meant it for good, so I could save the Israelites". That phrase "Meant it" means "God put me in this position". We think God is always just fixing what the enemy does, working overtime trying to keep up. "Oh, man, what happened? Joseph got betrayed? You mean his brothers threw him into a pit? What am I going to do?" "What do you say? Paul's in a storm about to lose his life? I thought he's going to Rome?" "Red alert! Jesus is being arrested". Like all these alarms are constantly going on, God's having to play catch-up. No, God is not caught off guard. Many of these things we think is the enemy, the truth is: it's the hand of God moving us into our purpose. The wrongs are leading to a right.

But if you don't know how to go through the wrongs with a good attitude: trusting, knowing that God is still in control, then you'll be frustrated. Have a new perspective: the detours aren't random, they're divine detours. No more fighting, start flowing. No more resisting, put down your sword. You can live out of a place of rest, knowing that the wrongs, the things you don't understand, they're not stopping you, they're leading you in to the perfect plan that God laid out for you.

Few years after I began pastoring the church started to really grow, and we needed a larger auditorium. We found this 100 acre tract of land on the freeway, about two miles from the other church. I talked to the owner, he said, "It had been on the market for over 20 years, and he had never had one offer". I thought, "God saved this just for us". It was perfect. The owner said, "You can do your preliminary drawings, and soil samples, well, we're drawing up the contract, there's no big hurry". Several months later we went to close on the property, we had an eight o'clock meeting right over here in greenway plaza, we showed up 7:45 in the morning, the men's secretary came out said, "I'm sorry, but the owner sold the property to someone else last night". I couldn't believe it, didn't keep his word. I was so disappointed, I just knew that was the devil taking our property.

Well a couple of months later we found a better piece of property, had more space for parking, they were building a new off-ramp from the freeway to give it better access. I knew that's why the other property didn't work out. We went to close on it, believe it or not, the same thing happened, they sold it to someone else. I was discouraged. I didn't understand it. I had to do what I'm asking you to do: I said, "God, I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to fight it, I'm going to flow with it. I know these closed doors mean you have something better, so I'm going to take down my cells and let these winds blow us to where you want us to go".

Six months later a friend called, hadn't spoken to him in a long time, and he told me how the Houston rockets basketball team was going to move out of the Compaq Center, the city was going to put it up for sale. When I heard that something came alive on the inside. By the grace of God things fell into place, three years later it was our building. The reason our plans don't work out many times is because they're too small. What God has in your future is bigger, better, more rewarding than you can imagine.

Don't fight the wrongs: the wrongs are necessary to get you to the fullness of your destiny. It was wrong that the first man didn't keep his word. It was wrong that the second group sold the property out from under us. But I've discovered in this case: two wrongs were leading to a right. It was all a part of God's plan. I don't fault that first man anymore, it wasn't his choice, he was a pawn in the hand of God. He had to say no. He couldn't override God's purpose. That second group, they had to turn us down. God wanted that door closed. That wasn't rejection, that was protection. That was to keep us from missing the best plan God had for us.

Now, there may be things in your life right now that you're disappointed over, that weren't fair, you don't understand. One day you're going to look back and say like me, "It had to happen. They had to say no". "Judas had to betray me". "My brothers had to throw me into the pit". "The door had to close". "The storm had to come". All these things had to go wrong, so you could get to the right place. It's not just a detour, it's a divine detour. It's the hand of God ordering your steps.

Years ago Victoria lost her wedding band. This ring was very sentimental, it had been passed down from her grandmother to her mother, and now to Victoria. For months we looked everywhere for that ring, in every drawer, underneath every cushion, in her purse, her pant pockets, we combed the house, but nothing. I finally gave up just, thought "It's gone". Three years later, one Sunday after service we drove to Victoria, Texas, where I was going to speak for my sister and brother-in-law that night. It's a two-hour drive.

After the service I was tired, and ready to get back home, there wasn't a car on the road out there in the country, 11 o'clock at night. The speed limit was 60, but I was going a little bit over. I would tell you how fast, but my mother's on the front row. Victoria said, "Joel, you better slow down, you're going to get a ticket". I said, "Victoria, there's nobody out here, it's wide open". About that time I saw these flashing red lights behind me. I looked over at her and she just shook her head like "I told you so". No mercy, whatsoever.

This officer came to my window, a young man, was very nice, and I handed him my driver's license. He looked at it and said, "You're that minister, aren't you"? I said with a big smile, "Yes, I am". He said, "My father is the head usher where you spoke tonight at faith family church". I said, "That's amazing, I talked to him, he's such a fine man". Lord forgive me...

He has to see our insurance card, he wanted the insurance card, so Victoria started digging around the glove compartment, couldn't find him anywhere. It was dark, couldn't see anything. She finally pulled everything out and had it on her lap going through it. Then she reached deep into the back of the glove compartment, and felt something hard, something strange, she maneuvered a little more, pulled it out lo and behold - it was her ring. She shouted like she had won the lottery. I thought, "Girl, you're rejoicing, I'm about to go to jail". She was like, "I got my ring back, I'll come and get you in two weeks".

We told the officer and he was very happy for us. He said, "Hey, I've been wanting to come to your church. If I do, will you give me a seat"? I said, "Officer, I'll get you a whole section". He handed me my license, said "I'll see you next week". That was a divine detour. I didn't like getting pulled over. The fact is: I was in the wrong, but even my mistake was leading to a right. That's how good our God is.

Mary was a teenager living in Nazareth. She was engaged to get married to a young man named Joseph. You can imagine how excited she was. She was planning a wedding, picking out her flowers, her girlfriend's giving her a shower. Joseph was a great catch, fine upstanding man. This was one of the best times of her life. Then an angel came, and told her she was going to have a baby without knowing a man, that he would be the Messiah. She couldn't believe it. This was an amazing news. Out of all the women in the world she had been chosen to carry Jesus. What the angel didn't tell her was there were a lot of wrongs going to take place before the right came. In a sense, she was pregnant at the wrong time, she wasn't married yet.

When she told Joseph she was going to have a baby, but it wasn't another man, it was the Holy Spirit, he said "Yeah, right. What are you joining the real housewives of Nazareth? I don't think so". He was so upset, he was about to break off the engagement. He wasn't going to be embarrassed, humiliated, his fiancée having a child that wasn't his. The angel had to come to Joseph. He said, "I know this seems wrong. I know it's out of the ordinary, but Mary is telling the truth. Stay with her".

I could hear people in town begin to talk, "Look at Mary! Look at her, she's pregnant not even married". Gossip, slander, that was hurtful - another wrong. Nine months in she was about to have the baby, and king Herod called for a census, said everyone had to travel to Bethlehem to be accounted for. It was the wrong time to travel. She was tired, can't sleep, feet swollen, back hurts. "And Joseph, you want me to get on a donkey and travel 90 miles to Bethlehem, bouncing up and down? You better go back and pray again, that word was not from God".

They arrived in Bethlehem late one night. Joseph went to a hotel and asked for a room. The innkeeper said, "Sorry, no room tonight. We're full". "Please, can't you do anything? My wife's about to have a baby! We've traveled a long time". "Sorry sir, we have nothing". Closed door - another wrong. I'm sure Mary wanted to tell that angel, "You said I was going to give birth to Messiah! You said something awesome was going to happen, but you didn't tell me about all these other things".

God was showing us: you have to go through the wrongs before you get to the right. God will give you the promise, he'll drop the dream in your heart, but if you don't know how to handle the wrongs, if you don't realize the wrongs are all a part of his plan, that the wrongs are leading you to rights, then you'll get discouraged along the way, give up on the dream.

Joseph located a barn, the only place he could find it. Mary went in and gave birth to Jesus in a manger. The wise men showed up, the Eastern star was over their head, and the Messiah was born. We see the Christmas card so beautiful, the manger scene: there's Mary holding baby Jesus with a pleasant smile, the wise men standing by, the stars shining so brightly. We think "What a peaceful glorious night". But if Mary were here she would tell you, "Don't let the postcard fool you. Yes, it was a glorious night. Yes, I'm honored to have been the mother of Christ, but there are a lot of things you didn't see. You're seeing the right moment, you're seeing the culmination of God's faithfulness and purpose, but you're not seeing all the wrongs that were necessary to get me here. I got pregnant at the wrong time. My fiance wanted to put me away. People tried to ruin my reputation. Had to travel on a donkey while I was pregnant."

But without all these wrongs she wouldn't have fulfilled her destiny. The wrongs were all a part of God's plan. If she had not been faithful through the wrongs, she would have never made it to the rights. When you're dealing with these wrongs, know this: God has graced you for everything you will ever face. God won't allow a wrong and not give you the strength, the favor, the endurance to go through it. Don't complain about what comes against you. "Why did it happen? God, it's too much, it's not fair". No, stand strong: you are well able, you've been equipped and empowered for every season that comes your way.

The scripture says in Matthew 1:22, "All these things that Mary went through was to fulfill the prophecy that was spoken long ago". Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would conceive. She had to get pregnant at the "Wrong time". It was prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Herod had to call for his senses at the "Wrong time", to get them from Nazareth to Bethlehem. All these "Wrongs" were necessary. Can I tell you? There is a prophecy over your life, there are things that God has ordained for you to do that he's already written in his book before time began. Like Mary, you're not going to understand everything that happens. This feels wrong, this isn't fair, this is not the right time - it's all necessary. It had to happen. It's leading you to the birth, to the promise, to things bigger than you can imagine, favor, influence, opportunity like you've never seen.

And it's significant that the angel had to come to Joseph, and say in effect, "Stick with her. I know it looks wrong, I know it's the wrong timing, I know it doesn't make sense, but what you think is wrong is really the purpose of God". Maybe God sent me like that angel to tell you: "Stick with it. It may feel wrong, it may be unfair, but God is up to something. Those wrongs are not random, they're strategic. It may be a big wrong, that's because there's a big right in your future. You're going to see the plan of God unfold".

Now, do your part: don't fight the wrongs, flow with it. Put your sword down. Quit resisting and let those winds blow you to where God wants you to go. He's in control. Yes, you may be on a detour, my encouragement: is it's a divine detour. The enemy didn't get control of your destiny - God is ordering your steps. He has not failed you in the past, he's not going to start now. You keep going through the wrongs with a good attitude, I believe and declare: like Mary you're going to see favor that you've never seen. Like Joseph, suddenly new doors are going to open, negative situations turning around, promotion, healing, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?
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