Joel Osteen — When The Water Breaks
I want to talk to you today about "When the water breaks". Years ago, when Victoria was pregnant with our first child, she was at a downtown office building headed to an appointment. She was in the final stages of pregnancy, and standing in a crowded elevator, minding her own business, all of the sudden, her water broke. Water came pouring out on the ground. Victoria was kind of embarrassed, she tried to stand back and not effect anyone else, but the people on the elevator didn't get upset, they weren't panicked thinking something was wrong, they knew the water breaking was a sign she was about to give birth. They knew it was all a part of the process, that her baby was about to be born.
Victoria got off the elevator and drove straight to the hospital. Not long after that, she gave birth to our son, Jonathan, and when the water breaks in your life, when you face an unexpected difficulty, you didn't see it coming, you were going along, being your best, and you came down with an illness, a relationship didn't work out, the company had to lay you off. It's easy to get discouraged and think it's never going to get better, but have a new perspective.
When the water breaks, that's a sign you're about to give birth. God's about to do something new, something that you haven't seen. Without the water breaking, you would get stuck, you wouldn't reach the fullness of what God has in store.
And that's what's happened to all of us here in Huston. Hurricane Harvey came and our water broke, there was a flood, and looking at it on the surface, at the damage, it's easy to get discouraged. "That ruined my house. That flooded my car. That disrupted my life," and what you have to remember is the water breaking means a birth is coming. The trauma indicates transition is on the way, and God never brings you out the same, he's birthing you into something greater.
Your house may have flooded, but you're going to give birth to a new house, an improved house, a remodeled house. God is transitioning you into another level. He has new things he wants to birth, not just through you, but in you, and in the difficult times, if you'll keep the right attitude, you'll develop a greater strength, a greater confidence, a greater trust in God.
Don't complain because the water broke, get ready, favor is coming, increase is coming, new levels are coming. What you give birth to will be greater than anything that you've lost. You may have lost your car, you're going to give birth to a better car. You may have lost a relationship, somebody walked away, you're going to give birth to a better relationship. The company had to downsize, said they don't need you, you were loyal, you didn't see it coming, don't get bitter, God has a better job in a higher position with more influence, more income, more benefits where your gifts can come out in a greater way.
Now, I'm not just encouraging you, I'm prophesying, you're going to give birth to something greater than you've imagined. God is going to open doors you never dreamed would open, give your resources, opportunities, influence that is amazing. But the floods, the disappointments, the betrayals, they are all a part of God's plan.
Without the water breaking, you can't give birth, and when we give birth, there will be labor pains. You're going to have to push, stretch, and be willing to be uncomfortable, but when you understand it's a part of the process, when you realize you can't go to the next level without the water breaking, then you'll go through it with a good attitude. You could be negative, complaining, instead you have a smile on your face, you have a song of praise in your heart, expectancy in your spirit.
You know the trauma means transition is coming. You know it's just a matter of time before you give birth to the new things God has in store, and the process may be uncomfortable, but the purpose is worth it. If you could see where God is taking you, if you could see the new things on the horizon, the favor, the influence, the opportunities, the friendships, then you wouldn't be bothered by what you're going through.
Paul said, "These light afflictions are for a moment, yet they work in us an eternal weight of glory". What you're going through is temporary. The birthing process doesn't last forever. The discomfort is for a moment, but what you give birth to, the blessings, they will last for a lifetime.
And what's interesting is, Victoria didn't choose where her water broke. If she knew when it was going to break, she would have stayed at home, had it all planned out, been prepared, but you can't choose where your water breaks. You can't choose when the flood comes, the disappointment, the loss. We can't decide when we're going to give birth, that's in God's hands, and we may not understand it, but God knows what he's doing.
There is a purpose for every challenge, and most of the time, we can see the challenge, but we can't see the purpose. The problem is visible, but the purpose is hidden. This is when we have to say, "God, I trust you. I don't see what you're doing, doesn't make sense to me, God, my house flooded," or, "My child got off course," "My finances went down, God, I don't understand it, but I know your ways are better than my ways. My life is in your hands".
I've learned God will not mismanage your life. He will not allow things to happen that don't somehow move you towards your destiny. He can see things that we can't see. He knows the end from the beginning, and there are times it feels like God's taking us the wrong direction. We were about to pay the car off, and the flood hits. We have to start all over. Somebody spread rumors and you didn't get the promotion. We think, "God, where were you, you could have stopped the flood, God. You could have kept me from this rejection". What we can't see are the disappointments, the betrayals, the bad breaks are all a part of God's plan. We don't like it, it's uncomfortable, but without them, we wouldn't reach the fullness of our destinies.
We see this in the scripture with Joseph. He was doing the right thing, but he was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused by a lady, put in prison. For 13 years, it was one bad break after another. But one day, Joseph interpreted a dream for the Pharaoh, and Pharaoh was so pleased he put Joseph in charge of the food supply in all of Egypt. Joseph was second in command of the nation, one of the most powerful people of that day.
But why did God allow Joseph to go through all these difficulties? It didn't seem fair, but God wasn't just making his life miserable, he had a plan. God knew years later there would be a famine in the land, and Egypt would be the only place that would have food, and God had to put someone on the inside of Egypt that would be favorable to the Israelites so they could survive. So, God ordained Joseph to be betrayed. He ordained him to be falsely accused, ordained him to be put in prison.
That whole time, God was ordering his steps, yet if we looked at the steps individually, we would think, "Wow, Joseph, you got a raw deal. God must not like you". The truth is, God trusted Joseph so much, he knew he could count on Joseph to go through the things he didn't understand with a good attitude. If Joseph would have become bitter, angry, held a grudge, he would have gotten stuck, he wouldn't have made it to the throne, and when you face things you don't understand, that are not fair, be a Joseph.
Dare to believe that God is in complete control. Dare to believe that he's still directing your steps. It's all a part of the plan to get you to where you're supposed to be, and I know you can trust God, but can God trust you? Can he trust you with difficulties, to be a Joseph? To keep a good attitude, even when life doesn't seem fair?
Sometimes we're trying to pray away what God has ordained. Joseph could have prayed, "God, please keep my brothers from betraying me," and his prayer wouldn't have been answered, not because God didn't love him, but because God can see the big picture. God knew that betrayal was an important step that was leading Joseph somewhere amazing. Had God kept Joseph from the betrayal, he would have kept him from his destiny, and God loves you too much to answer a prayer that's going to keep you from your purpose, and when it doesn't happen our way, it's tempting to get discouraged, and, "God, why didn't you turn it around, why didn't you answer me"?
Your way may be more comfortable, but it will limit how high you can go. That's why God won't let us be comfortable all the time. There will be seasons of stretching, growing, where we're not getting our way, where the wrong thing is happening. The good news is, God has given us strength for every battle, grace for every season, there's nothing you're facing that's too much for you. You can handle it. You've been equipped, empowered, and anointed, and here's the key, just because you have difficulties doesn't mean you don't have favor.
While Joseph was a slave, he had favor with Potiphar, the man that he worked for. Potiphar put him in charge of his whole house. In the prison, Joseph had favor with the guards. They put him in charge of the prison. He should have been at a disadvantage, but because of the favor on his life, it caused him to keep rising to the top. The scripture says Potiphar saw the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did.
You may be in a storm, forces are coming against you that seem bigger, stronger, more powerful. Stay encouraged, you have the favor of God. You can shine even in the storm. You can excel even when people are trying to push you down. God's favor will cause you to overcome what you could not overcome on your own. You will defeat giants that are bigger, accomplish dreams where you didn't have the experience. The favor on your life gives you an advantage.
I love what David said in Psalm 30, "God's favor lasts for a lifetime". The adversity is temporary, the favor is permanent. You didn't have favor before the storm, look what happened, you must not have it now. Favor doesn't come and go. The right attitude is, "I'm favored in the flood. I'm favored in the hospital. I'm favored in the financial difficulty".
Favor doesn't leave you. You used to have favor, no, you have favor right now. Favor is what's going to help you overcome the challenge, and instead of thinking, "Oh man, look what I've been through, it's not fair," turn it around, "Father, thank you for your favor. Thank you that good breaks are chasing me down. Thank you that blessings are headed my way".
Isaiah said when you go through the flood, you will not drown. When you go through the fire, you won't be burned. Psalm 37 says, "When you're in the famine, you will have more than enough". Notice the three F's, through the flood, through the fire, through the famine. The good news is, God has one more F, it's called favor, and when you're in the flood, don't complain, get ready for favor. The Psalmist said we didn't win the victory in our own strength, it was because you favored us.
In difficult times, remind yourself there is something God has put on you that no person can stop, no bad break, no sickness, no hurricane, all the forces of darkness cannot hold you down, you have the favor of God. Now, God wouldn't have allowed the difficulty if it was going to keep you from your destiny. Like Joseph, that difficulty is going to launch you into your destiny.
Now, quit losing sleep over what God ordained. He may not have sent it, but he controls the universe. Nothing happens without his permission. If it happened, don't get bitter, don't try to figure it out, stay in faith, the favor on your life is going to cause you to rise above every obstacle. That opposition is going to be what God uses to birth you into a new level, a new level in your career, in relationships, in finances, a new level in the anointing.
I've seen this in my own life. Every time I've had major increase, it came out of a difficult time. When my father died, I lost one of my best friends. I'd worked with him 17 years behind the scenes, every day, and we'd traveled the world together. Nothing seemed good about my father's death, but what I couldn't see was God was using that loss, that dark time, to birth something new in me.
I didn't realize it then, but the loss of my father was my water breaking. Gifts and talents were birthed in me that I didn't know I had, and I wouldn't be up here now if my father was still alive. I was comfortable behind the scenes, I didn't have to stretch. But sometimes, God will use the storm to push you out of the womb. It's because the womb is too small. It was designed for a limited time, and when the water breaks, ready or not, here you come.
The key is to come with a good attitude. Come knowing that it's ordained by God, that it's a part of his plan. Come knowing that the favor on your life is going to cause you to succeed. After all Joseph went through, you never read where he complained, where he got sour, where he blamed people. Deep down, Joseph knew that God was in control and he would not mismanage his life.
God will not allow negative things just so you can go through them. He's not up there in heaven thinking, "Let me send them a flood and make their lives miserable. Let me take their loved one away. Let me cause this person to cheat them". God is our Heavenly Father. If you're a parent, you know how much you love your children, how you go out of your way to watch after them, protect them, be good to them. God is that way, but billions of times more. You are his most prized possession.
There's nothing he cares more about than you. He knows the number of hair on your head. He's closely watching over you. He sees every bad break, every difficulty, every unfair situation, and when you go through things you don't understand, you need to remind yourself that your Heavenly Father is in control and he has your best interest at heart. What you're going through may not feel good, may not be fair, but God knows what he's doing, and when he brings you out, you're not going to come out the same, you're going to come out better off than you were before.
1 Peter 5 says, "After you have suffered a little while," it doesn't say after you've suffered your whole life, it says, "A little while". One translation says, "This suffering isn't going to last forever". It won't be long before this generous God puts you together, back on your feet, for good. He gets the last word, yes, he does, and you may feel like you've been knocked down, be encouraged, this generous God is about to put you back on your feet for good. Harvey doesn't have the final say, God has the final say.
Harvey is simply a set-up. The sickness, the disappointment, the betrayal. It may not make sense to you, but without it, God couldn't launch you to a new level. It's setting you up to give birth to something greater than you can imagine. The process may be painful but the purpose will be well worth it. One day, you're going to look back and see how God used everything that you went through. If the flood hadn't have come, you wouldn't have met this person, you wouldn't have moved into this new house, you wouldn't have taken this different job. It's all working for your good. Stay in faith. It's a set-up.
In acts chapter 2, the disciples were all in Jerusalem in the upper room. The Holy Spirit came in like a rushing, mighty wind. It was a great sign of God's blessing and favor. I'm sure they were excited, they knew God was on their side, and they were going to do great things. But in chapter 8, a man named Saul showed up. He hated these disciples, and he was having them arrested and put in prison. The scripture says Saul wreaked havoc in Jerusalem on the church. Havoc is a strong word. That means he turned the city upside down.
Things were thrown into disarray, confusion, and in the midst of this calamity, a young man named Stephen, a follower of Christ, was stoned to death. Saul was standing right there giving his approval. It's interesting that Saul came to Jerusalem and caused so much turmoil. Jerusalem means, "The city of peace". This was home to many of the disciples. This is where they felt secure, they could relax and be at ease, but now, their city of peace was turned into a city of chaos.
Where was God? A few chapters earlier, he sent the rushing, mighty wind. It's not like God couldn't have stopped Saul from wreaking havoc, but God doesn't stop every difficulty, they're a part of his plan, and because of the persecution in Jerusalem, Phillip had to go to Samaria. In Samaria, the scripture says, Phillip performed all kinds of miracles, great favor was on his life, blind eyes were opened, the lepers were cured. What's my point? Saul was a setup. Saul wreaking havoc was to push Phillip into this new level of ministry.
Sometimes God will allow your place of peace, your home, where you're comfortable, to be disrupted. It's what's happened to us here in Houston, and I'm not saying that God sends the storms, but God will allow storms. He will allow Saul's to come along. This is where you have to know who God is and what he's up to. Number one, God is a good God, he is for you. Number two, he's going to use that discomfort to launch you to a new level.
The storm is your water breaking. You're about to give birth. Like Phillip, you're going to see things you've never seen, accomplish what you've never accomplished. When Saul shows up, when Harvey hits, things that disrupt your place of peace, be still and know that he is God. He has you in the palm of his hand. The enemy sent that storm to harm you, disrupt you, what he didn't realize is God saw it coming and he already has a plan to use it to promote you, to increase you, to launch you to a new level. But none of us like to be uncomfortable, to be under pressure, in situations that are unfair. The truth is, giving birth is uncomfortable.
I've been in the delivery room when our children were born, and Victoria is as nice as can be, easy going, fun to be around, but when she was in labor, when those contractions hit, I saw a new side of this lady. They tell you in the birthing classes beforehand that the husband is supposed to be the coach, and tell the wife when to breathe.
When I saw how much pain she was in, I thought, "You can breathe whenever you want to. I'm not going to tell you what to do". But what's funny, one moment she was in great pain, uncomfortable, but when she gave birth, when she held her little son, saw how amazing he was, she forgot all about the pain. She was so overjoyed, so grateful to God, she didn't think about what she had been through, and yes, the birthing process can be painful, we don't like it, we have to endure, but can I encourage you? When you give birth to what God has put in you, when you see the new things he has in store, you're not going to remember all the trauma, you're not going to think about what didn't work out, and how unfair it was.
When you see your baby, so to speak, your new house, your child back on course, your health restored, when you give birth, you're going to be so grateful to God, so amazed at his goodness, you won't have time to think about the process, you'll be too caught up enjoying the blessings.
Now, my challenge, keep looking ahead, your baby is coming. It may be painful now, you feel flooded by challenges, have the right perspective, your water broke, that means you're about to give birth. That difficulty is a setup for God to do something new, something that you haven't seen so you can take new ground for the kingdom, so you can set a new standard for your family, and you may have been through the flood, through the fire, and through the famine, but get ready for the fourth F, favor is coming.
What you give birth to is going to be greater than anything that you lost, and this is not the time to be discouraged, this is the time to stir your faith up. God has not brought you this far to leave you. The flood may have interrupted your life, but it did not interrupt your destiny. God is still on the throne. Like with Joseph, it's all a part of his plan. You may not understand it, but God will not mismanage your life, and I believe and declare for everything that you've lost, God is going to give you back more. For everything that was unfair, you're going to come out better, stronger, healthier, promoted to a new level of your destiny, in Jesus' name.