Joel Osteen — You're Coming Out
I want to talk to you today about you're coming out. We all face situations that look permanent in our health, our relationships, our career. It's easy to think that that's the way it's always going to be. "I'll always struggle with this addiction". "I'll always have to deal with this depression". "I'll always be at this same level". I'll never break out of the rut, do something great".
But just because it seems permanent to us doesn't mean that it's permanent to God. God doesn't allow you to get into anything that he can't bring you out of. Even if it was your own fault. You brought the trouble on yourself. God wouldn't have allowed it if he didn't have a way out. He knew how to get you out of the trouble before you got in the trouble. He knows the end from the beginning. He had the solution even before you had the problem.
It may look to you like it's never going to change but God is saying it's temporary. You're coming out of that sickness. You're coming out of chronic pain. You're coming out of loneliness. That debt, that addiction, that legal trouble, is not going to last forever. It didn't come to stay. It came to pass. God has already made a way of escape. He has already planned your coming out party. It's just a matter of time before you see the breakthrough, the healing, the abundance, the restoration, the new level.
The scripture says in Job that God has set an end to the difficulty. He has set an end to that trouble. God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He has already set an end to the sickness, an end to the addiction, an end to that injustice at work. Your coming out date has already been established.
Now when thoughts tell you, "It's never going to change. You might as well accept it. This is as good as it gets". No, you have to remind yourself, "I will not always be lonely. God has set an end to this loneliness. He is bringing somebody great into my life". "I will not always struggle in my finances. God has set an end to this lack. He has promotion, increase, abundance, coming my way". Or, "This child that's off course is not always going to cause me heartache. The Creator of the universe, the one who spoke worlds into existence, has already decided the final date". Or maybe, "This addiction, these bad habits, are not going to hinder me my whole life. God has already put the end on his calendar. My time is coming. Freedom, wholeness, victory, is in my future".
That's what happened to a young lady I met. She had been a cocaine addict for fourteen years. She knew it was destroying her health, her family, her future. She was about to lose her job again. And she had done everything she could in her own strength to try to quit, gone through counseling and treatment with no success. She wasn't a quote "Religious person". She didn't grow up in church like me but she watched us on television. Every morning she started praying, "God, please help me. I can't do this on my own. God, I need you". Simply acknowledging God. The scripture says, "Call out to God and he will answer you".
Month after month went by. She didn't see any sign of a change. She continued struggling. But one morning while she was praying she felt this warmness come all over her. She couldn't explain it. She said, "I felt such a peace, such a joy, that I began to weep and weep". As she sat there weeping it was like that was cleansing her. A healing was taking place.
From that moment forward she never had a desire for the cocaine. She didn't have to go through withdrawals. She didn't have to gradually get off of it. Instantly, that addiction was broken. I saw her about six months later in the lobby. She looked like a different person. She was very thin and fragile before. She had gained weight back. Her skin had cleared up. She had this beautiful smile, so radiant.
What happened? She came into the end date set by the Creator of the universe. If you will stay in faith there will come a point where God says, "Enough is enough. That's my son. That's my daughter. I didn't create them to live with addictions, with sickness, in lack, mediocrity, being taken advantage of. I created them to be victorious, to be healthy, to be free, to lend and not borrow".
God may have allowed it but he wouldn't have let you get into it if he couldn't bring you out of it. He has already set the end to the sickness, to the legal problem, to the family situation, to the struggle. You don't know, that end date could be today. It could be this week. It could happen this month. What if you knew that on August 22nd of this year that was the final date God set for the difficulty? You wouldn't drag around discouraged, thinking, "Oh, man. I never get any good breaks. I'll never get over this illness". No, you would go out each morning with a spring in your step, a smile on your face, talking like it was going to happen, acting like it was going to happen.
That's what faith is all about. You've got to believe it before you see it. You've got to act like it's true before you see any sign of it happening. If somebody asks you, "Are you still dealing with that sickness? Are you still under the weather"? Don't give them a 20 minute update of everything wrong with you, how bad the medical report was. Your answer should be, "Yes, I'm still dealing with it but can I tell you I'm coming out. I'm getting better. God is restoring health unto me. The number of my days he will fulfill".
"Well, are you still struggling in your finances? You're still in debt"? "Yes, I'm still there but I'm coming out. It's only temporary. I will lend and not borrow". "Are you still with that same company, that same position? I thought you wanted to do something better"? "Yes, I'm still there but I'm coming out. My new job is on the way. God is opening doors that no man can shut".
You've got to get in agreement with God. He is saying where you are is not where you're staying. You're coming out of the drought into abundance. You're coming out of fear and worry into peace. You're coming out of depression into joy. You're coming out of constant struggle, bad breaks, into the favor of God. You may not see how it could happen but don't believe those lies. The end date has already been set.
David put it this way. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..". He didn't say, "I stay in the valley. I built my house in the valley. I'm stuck in the valley". He said in effect, "I'm coming out of this valley". The valley is temporary. You're supposed to go through it. That is not your permanent home. But if you let it become permanent in your thinking it will keep you from your destiny.
And every one of us is going through something: a health issue, a financial difficulty, a struggle at work. Too often we settle in the valley and think, "Ah, man. I'll always struggle". "Joel, I'll always have this back pain". "I'll always have strife and division in my family. That's just who we are". We put our stakes down and build our house in the valley.
I'm asking you to do what David did. Pack up your belongings. Pull up your stakes. The valley is not your home. You are just passing through. You are not a citizen of the valley. You don't belong there. You're illegal in the valley. You are not a citizen of debt. You are not a citizen of cancer. You are not a citizen of mediocrity. That's a temporary position. You may be there for a season but the good news is your day of departure has already been set. God has already purchased your ticket.
Now you may be in the valley of sickness right now. The medical report doesn't look good but take heart. Your ticket says you are headed for good health. Your ticket says you will live and not die. You may be in the valley of struggle, lack, not enough. But your ticket says you are headed to more than enough, to overflow, to abundance. Maybe you're in the valley of loneliness. You don't have much company. Stay encouraged. Your ticket says divine connections are coming, new friendships, the right people.
Perhaps you're in the valley of disappointment. Something didn't work out. You went through a breakup. Business didn't make it. A friend betrayed you. Don't stay discouraged. Don't let the self-pity and bitterness take root. That is not your final destination. Your ticket says, "Beauty for ashes". Your ticket says, "What was meant for your harm God will use to your advantage". If you will be a prisoner of hope, Zachariah said, "God will bring you out with twice what you had before. He will pay you back for the unfair things that have happened".
A friend of mine recently lost her father. She was very close to her dad and it was really difficult on her. She's in the valley right now grieving that loss. But what I want us to see is we're not supposed to stay in the valley. Weeping may endure for a night but joy is coming in the morning. Your ticket says, "New beginnings". Now don't get stuck in the valley. Don't put your stakes down in the disappointment, the loss, the heartache, thinking you've seen your best days.
Psalm 84 says, "Passing through the valley of weeping you'll find pools of blessing". That means when you're in the valley, if you'll stay in faith, knowing that God has you in the palm of his hand, God will take your tears and turn them into pools to refresh you. You'll have the strength you need for every situation.
In Genesis 15, God told Abraham, "I'm sending your people, the Israelites, into a foreign land. They will be enslaved there for 400 years. Afterwards, they will come out with great substance". What's interesting is God is the one that sent them into slavery. He said, "I'm taking you into a place that's going to be difficult".
If that was the end of the story that doesn't sound like a good deal. We'd think, "God, don't do me any favors". The truth is that setback was a setup for God to do something greater. God brought them out with great substance, with more than they had before. When you go through a difficulty, a disappointment, you may not understand it but God wouldn't have allowed it, not only if he couldn't get you out, but God is going to take it one step further and bring you out with great substance, better off than you were before.
A friend of mine, a young man, he recently had his car stolen. Went out early in the morning to go to school and his car wasn't there. This was the first car he had ever owned. His father had bought it for him. They filed the police report. A week went by and they didn't find the car. Another week and another. From time to time I would ask the father, "Hey, have they found your son's car yet"? He would say, "No, but we're not worried. We know God is in control. He is fighting our battles. He will make our wrongs right".
About six weeks later the insurance company paid them for the car because it was never found. The young man thought he would go buy another used car like he had before but God never brings out the same. If you'll stay in faith he will bring you out with greater substance, greater joy, greater peace, greater resources. His father had a very nice high end sports car. He kept it perfect, looked brand-new. One day a friend of his father called his father and said, "Hey, come over to my house. I want to give you something".
His father had helped this man from time to time. He thought he was going to buy his dinner or do something nice like that but this man gave his father one of the most expensive top-of-the-line luxury cars made today. His father couldn't believe it. He was amazed. He thought, "Well, I don't need my sports car anymore," so he got it all cleaned up, all detailed, gave it to his son.
Here's how God works. Before the car was stolen, the young man had a car payment. After it was stolen the insurance company had paid off that car. He had no payment. Plus, he and his father both had better cars. That car being stolen was a setup for God to bring them out with great substance.
Psalm 66 says, "We went through the fire, through the flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance". You may be in the fire right now. You may be in the flood, in the famine. Well, get ready. Your next step is great abundance. God is going to do more than you can ask or think. The fact is God could have kept the car from being stolen. He's God. He controls the whole universe. When you go through a difficulty, when you face a bad break, you may not understand it. You may not like it but God wouldn't have allowed it unless ultimately he was going to use it to your advantage. Recognize it's a set up for God to do something greater.
In exodus 14, when God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the people go, the scripture says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart and caused him to say no. Here God was the one that told him to let the people go yet God wanted Pharaoh to say no. It goes on to say, "I have planned this so I will receive great glory at the expense of Pharaoh".
There are enemies God will allow into your life, not to defeat you, not to make you miserable, but so that God can receive great glory. Every time I see my friend's new car I think to myself, "Look what the Lord has done".
You may be in a tough time but when God brings you out, when you beat the cancer, when you break the addiction, when your marriage is restored, when you pay your house off, when you accomplish your dreams, everyone will know it wasn't just you. It was the favor of God. God wants to show out in your life. He wants to make you an example of his goodness.
But we pray, "God, keep me out all the difficulties. God, don't let me face any opposition". But if that happened, number one, we wouldn't grow like we should. Our character is developed in the tough times. That's when our faith is tested and strengthened. And number two, if we never had obstacles to overcome, if we never faced impossible situations, we wouldn't see the greatness of God's power.
When we have difficulties a lot of times we think, "Oh man. Why is this happening to me? What am I doing wrong"? No, you may not be doing anything wrong. God just may want to show out in your life. He may want to use that situation to bring him great glory. One time Jesus saw a man that had been blind since birth. His disciples asked him, "Who sinned, this man or his parents"? Jesus said, "Nobody sinned. He was born this way so that the glory of God might be seen". Jesus touched his eyes, healed him, brought him out of blindness. For the rest of his life that man was a testimony to the goodness of God.
When the Houston city council members voted for us to have this facility we had worked on it for nearly two years. It was a dream come true. We were so excited. But a week later a company filed a lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. This company was the largest taxpayer in Texas. My first thought was, "God, this is impossible. We will never win this lawsuit. This company is huge. They've got more money, more resources, more experience".
It was David versus Goliath. But one day I was reading this passage in exodus 14. It says, "When I get through with Pharaoh all of Egypt will know that I am the Lord". I could hear God saying to me right down in here, "Joel, you just stay in faith and when I give you that building everyone will know it is the Lord your God". This building is a testimony of the greatness of our God. We can all say, "Look what the Lord has done".
Your situation may look impossible like ours did. The obstacle looks too big, the sickness too bad, the business too slow, the marriage too far gone. No, get ready. You're a prime candidate for God to show himself strong. God specializes in cases that look too big, impossible, no chance. That way when he turns it around, you will give him great glory at the expense of your enemies.
The scripture says, "God caused Pharaoh to harden his heart". That tells me that God is in control, even of our enemies. When Satan wanted to test Job he had to ask God for permission to even touch him.
In the book of acts, when Saul was persecuting the church he had to get permission from the chief priests to arrest believers. He was headed to Damascus with papers in hand thinking, "I've got permission to make their lives miserable. I've got permission to bring them down". But as he was traveling, a bright light shined down from heaven, knocked him off his horse. He fell flat on his back.
What's my point? Even though he had permission God stopped it. There are times when God will give the enemy permission to test us. The enemy has papers in hand but just like with Saul, God will stop it. That young lady addicted to cocaine fourteen years, God said, "That's it. I'm stopping it". God can stop the cancer, stop the addiction, stop the legal situation. Every one of us can look back and see times where we know God stopped it.
I was on the freeway one time. I was in my early 20's and it was raining really hard and I lost control of my car. It started spinning around and around. At one point I looked up and I was going the wrong direction on the freeway. There was an eighteen wheeler right in front of me. It looked like I could reach out and touch its front grill, just a few feet away.
My life flashed before me. I thought, "That's it. I'm done". But God doesn't let you get into something that he can't bring you out of. That truck should have run over me. The enemy had the papers in hand but God said, "No, I'm going to use this to show my power in a greater way". God stopped it. Somehow that truck missed me. The driver pulled over to the side of the road where I was. He looked like he had seen a ghost. His first words were, "Boy, you must be living right". He told how he felt like a big gust of wind picked up his whole rig and moved it one lane over just in the nick of time.
What am I saying? Whatever comes against you God can stop it. He can stop the accident, stop the addictions; stop the family trouble. The enemy is not going to have the last laugh. You will. David said in Psalm 129, "From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me but they have never been able to finish me off". Can I tell you that difficulty is not going to finish you off? That bad break, that disappointment, that sickness, is not the end. God has the final say and he is saying you're coming out with greater substance. You're coming out better off than you were before.
I read about a small fish called the Moses Sole. It's a little flounder that's found over in the Red Sea. There are also sharks in those waters. Typically, those sharks would eat this kind of fish but in the 1970's researchers discovered something interesting about the Moses Sole.
All the other fish in the same category, same size, same weight, they would be eaten by the sharks but the sharks could not eat the Moses Sole. It's because it has a unique defense system. When it senses any kind of danger it naturally releases poisonous toxins from his glands. Those toxins literally cause the sharks jaws to freeze.
They showed a picture of this Moses sole swimming inside the shark's mouth. All the shark had to do was bite down and there was dinner. The only problem was the shark couldn't do it. God put something on this little fish to protect it. As long as the shark was there it couldn't close its mouth. It had to go away for a few seconds before its jaws would be released.
In the same way, as a child of the Most High, God has put something on you where you cannot be defeated. At times it may look like those jaws are going to close down. The medical report isn't good. Business is going down. The odds are against you. But Isaiah said, "No weapon formed against you will ever prosper". It may form. It may look impossible. But the good news is God will stop it. It's not going to prosper. That's what David said, "My enemies cannot finish me off". Stay in peace. God's got your back. He is fighting your battles. He has done it in the past and he will do it again in the future.
The three Hebrew teenagers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to king Nebuchadnezzar's golden idol. He was furious. He was going to have been thrown into a fiery furnace. I'm sure they prayed, "God, please keep us out of the fire. God, this is dangerous. We could be killed in there". They wanted God to do it one way but God chose to do it another way.
Sometimes God will deliver you from the fire. Other times God will make you fireproof and take you through the fire. Those teenagers had their hands and feet bound with cords. They were thrown into the furnace. It looked like it was over. It looked like they were done. But God never lets you get into something that he can't bring you out of. The only thing that fire burned off were the cords that were holding them back.
The king came to check on them, looked through the window in the furnace, he couldn't believe it. He asked the guards, "Didn't we throw three men in here bound? I see four men loose and one looks like the Son of the Living God". King Nebuchadnezzar said, "Hey guys. From this day forward we're all going to worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego".
Friends, your enemies cannot finish you off. They don't have the final say; God does. You may feel like you're in the fire right now. You don't see a way out but stay encouraged. Where you are is not permanent; it's temporary. You're coming out, not the same, but better, with great abundance. When you come out all of your family, friends and enemies will know the favor of God is on your life. You're going to be a living testimony of God's goodness.
Now remember, the end of the difficulty has already been set. The end of the trouble, the lack, the addiction, the final date has already been established. The good news is it could happen this week. Get up every morning thanking God that it's on the way. If you'll do this I believe and declare you're coming out of sickness. You're coming out of depression. You're coming out of addictions. You're coming out of lack and struggle. The tide of the battle is turning. You might as well start planning your coming out party. Like the Israelites, God is going to bring you out with great abundance, great joy, great peace. Great victories are in your future. In Jesus name.