Joel Osteen - In The Middle of a Miracle (2023)
I want to talk to you today about In The Middle of a Miracle. When we go through challenges it's easy to live worried and stressed. And we wonder when it's going to change, and when God is going to do something, when in fact God is doing something. He's keeping the from taking us out, he's holding back the opposition, he's not letting the addiction defeat us. We don't realize it, but we're in the middle of a miracle. God is in the process of bringing us out. Without his favor we would be overcome. Without his protection we would be defeated. One day we'll look back and say, "Look what the Lord has done. Look at how God sustained me in that tough time. Look at how he healed me from that disease. Look at he promoted me despite the opposition". Right now God is working behind the scenes, making things happen that you can't see. If it wasn't for his goodness, his favor, his mercy, you wouldn't be able to withstand what's trying to stop you. You're not in the difficulty by yourself, the Most High God is pushing back forces of darkness.
One time Joshua and his men were in a valley fighting the Amalekites. They had attacked the Israelites, and they were bigger and stronger, but against all odds Joshua was winning the whole time Moses was up on the hill holding his staff in the air. As long as he had his staff up, Joshua was winning. I can imagine Joshua thought he was defeating the opposition in his own strength, he didn't realize the only reason he was prevailing was because Moses was holding up his staff. Sometimes we think we're making it through the difficulty because we're tough, we're determined, we're smart, and that's part of it, but what you can't see is the Creator of the universe is breathing in your direction. The God who spoke worlds into existence is sustaining you, favoring you, healing you.
Like Moses up on that hill you can't see him, but God is causing you to win. That's why that car barely missed you on the freeway. That's why that addiction couldn't finish you off. That's why that person that did you wrong couldn't stop your destiny. The forces that for you are greater than forces that are against you. Paul said (2 Corinthians 2:14) that, "God always causes us to triumph". If you're not seeing victory yet, don't panic, you're in the middle. That's not how your story ends. God is holding up the staff so to speak. You can't be defeated. The enemy can't stop God's plan for your life. Healing is coming, freedom is coming, breakthroughs are coming. God is about to show out in your life. He's going to things you can't do on your own. It's going to be uncommon, that's why you can't figure it out. It's not going to be natural, it's going to be supernatural.
But in the middle it can be frightening, in the middle all you see is the opposition, how big the obstacle looks, how bad the problem is. Thoughts will tell you, "It's never going to work out. You'll never get well, never break the addiction, never meet the right person". You have to remind yourself that things are happening that you can't see. It may look permanent, you don't see anything improving, the truth is: it's only the middle. Your time is coming. God wouldn't have allowed it if it was going to keep you from your destiny. Now keep the right perspective: you're not just fighting cancer, you're in the middle of a miracle. God is in the process of restoring your health. That test one day will be your testimony. You will say with David, "Where would I be without the goodness of God"?
You're not just struggling in your finances, you're in the middle of a miracle. The enemy thought he was setting you back, he didn't realize he was setting you up. Your story doesn't end to defeat, God is about to do a new thing: promotion is coming, opportunities are coming, the right people. "You know, Joel, but the stock market is down. I don't have the work I used to". The economy is not your source, God is your source. The stock market may be down, but God is not having a bad year, he owns it all. One touch his favor will put you into overflow. When you keep God in first place, when you honor him with your life, you are connected to a supply line that will never run dry. The scripture (Psalm 37:19) says, "Even in famine you will have more than enough". When things are drying up all around you, you should be in lack, struggling, barely making it, you will see supernatural provision, increase, promotion, opportunity that doesn't make sense.
Isaiah 43:19-20 said that, "God makes rivers in the desert. He makes streams in the barren places". You can't have a river in a desert. If it's barren, you can't have water freely flowing. This is showing us: God is going to do unusual things. He's going to take you up when all the circumstances say you should be going down. He's going to bring opportunity and promotion when things should be drying up. You're not only going to be amazed, but people are going to see the favor of God is on your life.
"Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I don't know, it's tough in my life, things are slow at work, I lost a contract, I don't see how I'm going to make it", that's calling in more defeat. Turn it around, "Yes, things are slow, but I know a secret: I'm in the middle of a miracle. God is working behind the scenes. He's supplying all of my needs. He has a hedge of protection around my family". Get an agreement with God. You can't talk defeat and have victory, you can't think negative and live positive. You can't go around worried, afraid, panicked and reach your destiny. You're drawing in what you're thinking about. Don't use your energy to worry, use your energy to believe.
After God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, they headed toward the Promised Land, but Pharaoh changed his mind and set 600 of his fastest chariots, and most skilled warriors to recapture them. These two million Israelites were at a dead end at the Red Sea, they had nowhere to go. Moses held up his staff and the waters parted. It's interesting how God brought them out: we read about it now and it's so encouraging and inspiring, these huge walls of water being held back, the people walking through on dry ground.
In the movies they're going through so peaceful and calm, rejoicing at what God had done, but I don't think that's how it happened. Imagine being there with 20 feet walls of water on each side, not knowing if in any moment those walls were going to collapse. Mothers were holding their babies for dear life, rushing through. Fathers grabbing their little children's hands, running as fast as they could. People carrying the elderly: wasn't peaceful, it was chaotic. The wind was holding back the water, it was incredibly noisy. There was confusion, turmoil, people were panicked, worried, thinking any moment those walls could come crashing down. They weren't calm and collected, they were afraid. They finally made it to the other side, and they started rejoicing, they started giving God praise.
But when you're in the middle of the miracle, sometimes it will feel chaotic. You may not hear angels playing harps, and the heavenly choir singing. The circumstances may not be calm and reassuring, may look like all hell is breaking loose, the medical report looks worse, your child won't do what's right, inflation is rising. It's easy to panic, live worried not able to sleep at night. God is saying (Psalm 46:10), "Be still and know that I am God". Those walls of water may look scary, you could think of a 100 things that could go wrong, but God didn't bring you this far to leave you.
He's the one holding up the walls, he's the one pushing back the forces of darkness, he's the one keeping the trouble from defeating you. It may look frightening, the circumstances seem overwhelming: stay in peace, you're in the middle of a miracle. God may not deliver you from the trouble, he may take you through the trouble. Those walls of water that look so intimidating, that's not a sign that you're done, that's a sign that breakthroughs are up ahead, promotion, freedom, healing is in your future. Yes, the winds are strong, the opposition is bigger than anything you face, but it's not a surprise to God. He's not let the water collapse. He's going to bring you through safely to the other side.
It's interesting how God brought the Israelites out. He didn't give them a bridge to cross the Red Sea, that would have been much more peaceful, they wouldn't have had to worry and about those walls of water. He could've sent them a big ship, had carnival crews pull up with several of their cruise liners. The Israelites could have gone across in comfort, secure, not had any fears. But God doesn't always bring us out the most comfortable way. He doesn't always make it easy to where we don't have any opposition, any reason to live worried or afraid. This is what faith is all аbout: trusting him in between the walls of water, being at peace when others are panicked, staying calm when you don't know how it's going to work out.
The scripture (Exodus 14:21) says that, "God sent a strong east wind to blow the back". Imagine how strong that wind had to be, to blow back 20 feet of water and sustain it. That means it had to keep blowing, it was loud, noisy, chaotic. In one sense God sent a storm on top of another storm. You could think, "This couldn't be God. Things are getting worse instead of better". You don't know what God is up to. Those winds that are so noisy, the trouble, the opposition, that's not going to keep you from your destiny, it's leading you to your destiny. You're not close to your miracle only when everything is calm and peaceful, sometimes it's the opposite. When it's chaotic, when you're tempted to panic, live afraid and worried, that means your miracle is on the way.
There's a lot going on in the world today, and with all the uncertainty we could live worried, "Man, what about my finances? This sickness is not improving, and I'm concerned about my children". Come back to a place of peace. We may not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. God is still on the throne. You can't see it, but he's holding up the walls of water. He's keeping you from evil and harm. He's sustaining you in the famine. He's bringing healing and wholeness. He's protecting, providing, favoring. You're in the middle of a miracle.
Now, do likes and Silas: they were arrested for sharing their faith and put in the deepest dungeon, locked behind prison doors with chains on their feet. They could have been depressed, complaining, but they understood this principle that they were not just in the middle of a dungeon, they were in the middle of a miracle. They knew the same God that sent the wind to blow back the Red Sea for the Israelites could make a way where they didn't see a way. And at midnight they started singing praises to God. When you can sing in a storm, when you can praise through the pain, when you can thank God that he's working instead of complaining about the trouble, get ready your miracle is on the way!
All of a sudden it was a great earthquake, prison doors flung open, the chains fell off their feet, they walked out as free men. God sent an earthquake, he used another storm to get them out of storm. Don't be surprised if God does it an unusual way. Like Paul and Silas, you may feel like you're in the middle of trouble, dealing with an illness, worried about your finances, concerned about your children. What you're up against seems bigger and stronger, you have to do like them and recognize: you're not just in the middle of a difficulty, you're in the middle of a miracle.
If you will start thanking God that he's working, thanking him that he's bigger than what you're facing, thanking him that he's holding up the walls of water, then you're going to see situations suddenly turn around, suddenly you get well, suddenly your child gets back on course, suddenly the problem resolved. When you're in the middle of a miracle, you have to turn up your praise, "Father, thank you that no weapon formed against me is going to prosper. Thank you that this difficulty didn't come to stay, that it came to pass. Thank you, that even now things are changing in my favor".
I know a young man named Chris, he's been attending Lakewood with his family since he was nine years old. And he grew up healthy, and very active, but at seventeen he started having fever and fluctuation in his weight. He eventually lost the strength and mobility in his legs. After two weeks in the hospital, he was diagnosed with a rare form of lupus. He could have been discouraged, give it up on life, but Chris is a fighter. He knew he wasn't just in the middle of a rare sickness, he was in the middle of a miracle. He decorated the walls of his house with scripture verses, "I will live and not die, and declare the works of the Lord", "By his stripes I am healed". Chris started volunteering here at Lakewood. I would see him faithfully serving, helping others year after year. I've never heard Chris complain, never seen him without a smile. If you ask him how he's doing, he's going to tell you that he's blessed, that he's healed, that he has the favor of God.
It's one thing to believe when everything is going your way, that's easy. The real test comes when life has thrown you a curve, when you're facing something that's out of your control. Chris continued to struggle with his health, one day he looked like he'd gained 50 pounds, and another day he looked like skin and bones. He spent time and out of the hospital, fighting the good fight of faith. Didn't seem like he was in the middle of a miracle, the medical report said he would never get well. But God can do what medicine cannot do. Medical science may run out of options, but God never runs out of options. He breathe life into you, He has the final say. Nothing can snatch you out of his hands.
When Chris was 40 years old, after fighting for over 20 years, his heart and kidneys begin to fail. He was hospitalized and given a temporary pump to keep his heart beating. The doctor said his only chance of survival was a heart transplant. He was placed on the waiting list, but there were so many ahead of him, seemed unlikely that he would make it. He'd been in the hospital for five months in icu. Doctors told him that all of his organs would start shutting down. Chris wouldn't hear of it, he kept declaring health, wholeness, victory, and much to their surprise he defied the odds, and his other organs remained healthy. One night his wife unexpectedly received the call that they've been praying for so long: there was a donor for Chris. It just so happened it was a perfect match. Not only a heart like they were praying for, but there were two kidneys as well.
The family stood outside, took pictures of that ambulance arriving with Chris's new organs. He had the heart and the kidney transplant at the same time. The surgery was successful, and Chris is well on his way to the life he's been dreaming аbout: healthy and whole. There was a prayer that he prayed everyday from Psalm 51, "God created me a clean heart". He said, "God, not only gave me a new heart, but he gave me kidneys as well". That's the way our God is, he exceeds our expectations. It may look like that sickness is permanent, that addiction is never going to change, you'll never see your family restored, it's too late, the problem too big... Can I encourage you? You're in the middle of a miracle! God already has the solution, he's already lined up the good breaks, the healing, the right people.
Don't believe the lies that you've seen your best days, do like Chris and live from a place of faith, a place of trust. You look at the circumstances, you could be worried, negative, thinking it's never going to change. But if Chris were here, he would tell you: God is a faithful God! Your time is coming! He's not only going to what you ask, he's going to exceeds your expectations. The scripture (Genesis 18:14) says, "Is there anything too hard for God"? He spoke worlds into existence, he flung stars into space, he has you in the palm of his hand. What he's destined for your life will come to pass.
Now, I believe right now faith is rising in your heart, dreams are coming back to life, promises you've given up on are about to be fulfilled. You may be difficult time, but have a new perspective: you're in the middle of a miracle! The enemy wouldn't be coming against you if he didn't know something amazing was in front of you. This is not the time to live worried and afraid, the God who breathe life into you is watching over you. He's keeping the walls up, he's pushing back the opposition, he's ordering your steps, putting you at the right place at the right time.
Isaiah 3:10 said, "Say to the righteous, it shall be well with you". You are the righteous, you wouldn't be listening if you didn't have a heart after God. There's a lot of fear and panic in the world, but that is not going to stop your destiny. It shall be well with you! The medical report may not look good, you've been dealing with that sickness for years, it's not permanent, it shall be well with you! Healing is on the way! You lost a loved one, you don't think you could go on, it's not the end, God has a new beginning. Let this phrase sink down in your spirit: it shall be well with you! Or you had a setback in your finances, business slow, you don't know how you're going to make it. God has it all figured out, he's your provider, he clothes the lilies of the fields, he feeds the birds of the air, he knows how to take care of you. New doors are going to open, opportunities are going to come looking for you. It shall be well with you!
Now the circumstances may look the opposite, things are coming against you in your health, your finances, your relationships. It may not be well now, but you have the promise: it shall be well. The opposition, the trouble, the lack it's not the end. Why? You're in the middle of a miracle! Victory is coming, healing is coming, freedom is coming, new levels are coming!
2 Kings chapter seven, the Syrian army had surrounded the city of Samaria, and cut off their food supply. The Israelites were starving and faced certain death. There were four lepers sitting outside the city gates. They said, "We're going to die here anyway, let's go down to the enemy's camp and see what they're doing". They started walking toward the Syrians, God caused the sound of their footsteps to be multiplied. The scripture (2 Kings 7:6) says, "The Syrian army heard the clatter of thousands of speeding chariots and the sound of a vast army approaching". They were so afraid, they panicked. They took off running into the desert, fleeing for their lives. They left in such a hurry, they didn't take any of their possessions, any of their food, their supplies, their gold, their silver. They left everything behind.
When the leper arrived they couldn't believe it! They didn't know what happened, they went back and told the Israelites. They came and gathered up all their food and belongings, it was a great victory. What's interesting is when the lepers were walking to the enemy's camp, they didn't hear anything different. Even though God multiplied the sound of their footsteps, they couldn't hear it. Everything seemed normal to them. They were just doing what they knew to do. What they couldn't see was God was working behind the scenes, doing things they never dreamed. In the natural they didn't have a chance, but we serve a supernatural God. They thought it was the end, that there was no way they could live, all the odds were against them. They didn't realize, they were in the middle of a miracle. God was making things happen that they knew nothing about.
When you're doing the right thing, making decisions that honor God, you may not see anything improving: you still have that problem at work, your health hasn't gotten better, your finances look just the same. What you can't see is God is behind the scenes, orchestrating things in your favor, lining up the breaks you need, moving the wrong people out of the way. Seems like where you are is permanent, but God is causing people to hear what they need to hear. He's multiplying what you know nothing about. You're going to see things fall into place that don't make sense.
Like these lepers, you'll be scratching your head, thinking how did that happen? You thought you were stuck in your career, gone as far as you could, but out of nowhere promotion came to you, a door open that you could never open. You thought you would never get well, but it wasn't the end. Like Chris, you were in the middle of a miracle. Against all odd your health begin to turn around.
Now, what if these left would have thought, "Man, we don't have a chance, no use walking down there, that's just wasting our time", they would have missed their miracle. Every circumstance said they were done, they were outnumbered, they had a dreaded disease, but when they dared to take that step of faith things supernaturally turned around.
You may have opposition, things coming against you, you don't see how that situation could ever resolve, but if you'll just keep moving forward in faith, knowing that God is the process of bringing you out, that he's making things happen that you can't see, not believing those lies that where you are is permanent, then you're going to come into these times where God shows out in your life, where he makes things happen that you could never make happen. Don't let the fact that it's stressful, you're tempted to be panicked and worried convince you that it's not going to work out.
Most of the time when you're in the middle of a miracle it's not peaceful. There are walls of water on each side that could collapse, there's a Pharaoh chasing you, there's wind and noise: don't panic, God has you right where he wants you! He's in control! He's keeping the opposition from defeating you! it's just a matter of time before you make it safely to the other side. I'm asking you to live from a place of peace, a place of trust. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: forces that are trying to stop you are being broken right now. Things are change in your favor. Healing is coming, freedom is coming, promotion, breakthroughs, all will be well with you, in Jesus name. And if you received it, can you say amen?