Joel Osteen — From Patient to Physician
I want to talk to you today about from patient to physician. We've all had times where we've seen God's goodness. We weren't feeling well, the medical report didn't look good, but God turned it around. Now, we're healthy and whole. Or we lost a loved one, we didn't think we could go on. But God gave us strength and peace, and here we are stronger than ever.
At one point, we were the patient. We needed healing, we needed restoration, we needed favor, and God made a way where we didn't see a way, and we're grateful that he brought us out, we know that was his goodness. But here's the key. It's not enough to just be a grateful former patient. You have to take it one step further and go from patient to physician. You've been healed, now go help somebody else get healed. You broke the addiction; help someone else break their addiction. Your son got back on course, God answered your prayers. Go help that mother that's struggling with her son. Encourage her. Speak life into her. Let her know that God did it for you and he can do it for her.
God didn't heal you just so you could be well. That's one reason, but not the only reason. He healed you so you could become a healer. He didn't bless you just so you could be blessed, he did it so you could become a blessing. He favored you so you could show other people favor. He brought you through the loss, he gave you a new beginning so you could help others make it through their loss, and it's not enough to just bask in what God has done, thank him for his goodness. That's fine, but you have a responsibility to help someone else in that same situation. You're no longer the patient, you become the physician.
A friend of mine has had real bad back pain, it's been on and off again for a couple of years, and he recently found a new doctor that he really likes, and what made him so special is this doctor has had the same back pain that my friend had for over ten years. He's gone through several surgeries and now his back is perfectly healed.
My friend was excited because this doctor had been through what he's going through, and some things you can't fully understand by taking a class or by reading a book. But when you've been through the pain, through the loss, through the struggle, that experience gives you a unique perspective that others without it don't have. They can't fully appreciate it. I don't know what it's like to struggle with an addiction, or to go through chemotherapy, or to have been raised in abuse and dysfunction. I haven't been there. I can encourage you, I can cheer you on, but when you've been through something, you've been through cancer treatment, you've been through a divorce, a loss, a rough childhood, in one sense you've been given a gift.
You are uniquely qualified to help someone else in that same situation. You know what it's like. The pain, the discouragement, the battles they fight in their mind, you can help them in a way that others can't. God has done it for you, now don't stay a grateful patient, become a physician. Reach out to them. Your encouragement carries more weight. You're speaking from experience, you've been there.
Paul said in Corinthians, "The comfort we receive in our difficulties, we can share that same comfort with others in their time of need," and we all have something to give because we've all been through things, and it doesn't have to be something big, something tragic. You made it through that tough course in college. You worked hard and studied.
That friend came over and helped you. You prayed and believed. You were the patient. It wasn't easy, but God breathed on your efforts and you passed that course. Now, maybe you have a friend in that same situation. They don't understand it. They're stressed, they're struggling. You're no longer the patient, now you're the physician. God brought you out not just for your sake, not just so you can shine, he brought you out so you can help somebody else shine. Take time to mentor them. Give them your notes, your strategy, your tips. Send them an encouraging text. Do what you can to help them pass.
Every one of us have had experiences that qualify us to be the physician. I know what it's like to stand in faith when your mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. I know what it's like to lose a father that you dearly love unexpectedly. I know what it's like to step up and pastor a church when you don't feel qualified. I know what it's like to fight for the Compaq Center when a company much bigger and stronger is against you. I know what it's like to ignore opposition and critics and do what God's put in your heart.
God has brought me through those things. He's given me strength when I was weak, he opened doors that I couldn't open, he healed my mother of terminal cancer. He'd given us the Compaq Center when every expert said there wasn't a chance. I recognize God's goodness in my life. But I don't just thank him for it. I'm not just a grateful former patient. I become a physician. Practically every week, I talk to other pastors that are about to step up and pastor a church, maybe unexpectedly.
Now, I'm no expert, but I tell them what I know, that I didn't feel qualified, I didn't have the experience. But God gave me the grace and he'll give them the grace too. People tell me often how, when they've heard me talk about making it through the loss of my father, that's helped them to make it through the loss of their loved one.
God told Abraham, "I will bless you and you shall be a blessing". It infers if you're not going to be a blessing, then you're not going to be blessed. The two are tied together. God is saying, "I will heal you if you'll become a healer. I'll free you if you'll help somebody else break that addiction. I'll give you the Compaq Center if you'll help other people accomplish their dreams". He's saying, "I'll deliver you from being a patient if you'll make a commitment to become a physician," and it's not only about being good to others, but the way you're going to keep your blessing is by being a blessing.
The scripture says, "Give and it will be given to you". If you're not giving away what God has given you, then that blessing is not going to continue in the way that it should, and this is the reason some people don't keep their healing. It's not because they're not grateful, it's because they're not helping anyone else. If you will give away healing, healing will always come back to you. God freed you from that addiction. If you want to stay free, go help somebody else get free. Keep giving away what God has given you.
My mother was healed from terminal cancer back in 1981. For over 30 years, she's been healthy, whole, and strong. One reason is she didn't stay a grateful former patient. She didn't just go around saying, "Lord, thank you that I'm well". That's the first step, but she went to step two and became a physician. For years, she's gone up to the medical center every week to pray for people that were sick. Her encouragement carries more weight. She tells them, "I've been where you are. I've been given no hope. I was told I had a few weeks to live, but God has the final say". Every month here at Lakewood, she has different healing services. She keeps giving away what she's been given. No wonder she's almost 85 years young and still going strong today.
At one point, we were all the patient. We were lonely, we were fighting an illness, we were believing for a dream, working hard, being our best, and God made it happen. Now, we're blessed, we're married, we have the Compaq Center, my mother is well. We're grateful, but we can't stop there. We have a responsibility to help somebody else get well, help them get their Compaq Center, their promotion, their spouse.
We've switched from being the patient to becoming the physician. Now, we're looking for people we can lift, people we can speak light to their darkness, healing to their brokenness, freedom to their strongholds. Back then, we needed healing. Now, we are the healer. We need an encouragement, now we are the encourager. We needed a miracle, now we are their miracle. If you'll let what God gives you flow through you, then he'll continue to give it to you. But it's tempting to think, "I got the Compaq Center, God, I'm satisfied. God, you brought me Victoria, I'm happily married, you blessed me". That's going to cause us to get stagnant.
If you're not giving anything away, nothing new is going to come, and whether or not you keep the blessing, the healing, the favor, the influence depends on what you do with it. When you're always lifting people, encouraging someone, making their life better, then blessings are always going to come to you.
I know this young lady that was raised in a dysfunctional environment. Growing up, her parents weren't around, and she was taken advantage of and passed from foster home to foster home. It was a very unfair situation that she had no control over. By the grace of God, this loving family took her in. They spoke life into her and nurtured her. Instead of becoming a statistic, bitter and angry, today she's healthy and whole. She got married, graduated from college, has three beautiful children. She's extremely grateful.
She knows that's God's goodness that was protecting her and bringing the right people. But she didn't stop with just being grateful. She's constantly helping other young ladies that were like her, mentoring them, having them over to her house, taking them shopping, making them feel valuable and loved, telling them that how they were raised doesn't determine who they are or where they're going.
What's she doing? Being a healer. She's not just a grateful former patient. She's not just saying, "Look what God has done for me". She's gone on to step number two. She's become a physician. No wonder she continues to see blessings and favor. She keeps giving away what was given to her, and one reason God could bless her is he knew he could trust her to take the restoration and share it with others. He knew she wouldn't stay a patient, she would become a physician. I wonder if we're not seeing healing, blessings, favor, increase because we're not committed like her to give it away.
God is saying to us what he said to Abraham, "I will bless you if you will make a commitment to be a blessing. I will restore you. I will even make the enemy pay. I will take what was meant for harm and turn it to your advantage if you'll do like her and help restore others".
I talked to a lady whose son was killed in Iraq while he was serving. She was so devastated, she didn't think she could go on. Month after month of grieving turned into year after year bitter, depressed, angry. She couldn't understand why it happened, and she would hear me talking about how life is not always going to make sense, but how we have to keep moving forward, how you can't let a season of mourning turn into a lifetime of mourning, and I know that's not easy. I haven't been there, but I know living depressed and bitter is only going to pull you down and make it worse.
When she would hear me say that God is in control and that he has new beginnings, she would get so angry, she would scream at the television, "Joel, you don't know what I've been through". Deep down, she knew what she was hearing was true, but the pain was so real.
After six years of listening week after week, she finally decided to move forward. She got involved with the program that helps veterans and people that have been wounded in the military. She started a chapter in her hometown. She said, "I cannot tell you how blessed I am and how much I have received from helping these families in need". She ended by saying, "I want to apologize for screaming at you all those times".
I thank God I couldn't hear it, but here's my point. When she made the decision to help others, that's when her healing came. As long as she was bitter, angry, focused on how unfair life was, nothing got better. It's when she decided to become a physician, to reach out to others, then God gave her beauty for ashes, joy and fulfillment like she never dreamed.
Is God waiting for you to be a blessing so he can really bless you? Is he waiting for you to give away healing, give away encouragement, make somebody else better? Then like this lady, he's going to take you to a level that you've never imagined.
Luke chapter 22, Jesus said to Peter, "Satan has tried to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith would not fail. When you have turned again, strengthen your brother". Jesus was telling Peter that forces were trying to keep him from his destiny, but he prayed for him, and Peter was going to make it. Then he said something significant. "When you have turned again," that means when you come out of this trial, when you're on the other side blessed, free, restored, what are you to do? Strengthen your brother. He was saying, "Use what you've been through to help somebody else get stronger".
Every blessing, every healing, every breakthrough was not designed just for you, it was to strengthen your brother. You would think Jesus would say, "Peter, when you get out, go to the temple and celebrate. Call some friends and a have a victory party. You're free, you're healed, you're blessed". Instead, he said, "When you come out, go strengthen someone".
God gave health back to my mother. You know what she's been doing the last 37 years? Strengthening people. God gave me the grace to step up and pastor when I didn't think I could do it. What have I been doing? Strengthening others. Whatever God has brought you through, whatever he's turned around, whatever he's made happen that you couldn't make happen, that's an opportunity to strengthen someone.
Maybe you've been through a divorce, your heart was broken, you didn't think you could go on. Didn't look like there were any good days up ahead. What you may not have realized is like with Peter, Jesus was praying for you that your faith would not fail, and it's one thing to have people praying for you, have a friend praying for you, a pastor, a priest, a rabbi. That's all good, but the scripture says Jesus is at the right hand of the father praying for us. You wonder how you made it through that tough time, how you made it through that loss, how you broke that addiction that seemed like it was permanent. Here's how, the Creator of the universe was praying for you.
We've all come through things that should've stopped us. We've all seen good breaks that we couldn't make happen, doors opened that we couldn't open, addictions broken that we couldn't break on our own. Now, we're on the other side. What's our responsibility? What are we to do? Strengthen someone. Strengthen that person that has cancer. Strengthen that friend that's going through a divorce. Strengthen that co-worker that's fighting an addiction. Strengthen that neighbor that's lonely. We should live on a mission. I'm out to strengthen somebody today. I'm going to encourage someone, I'm going to help heal someone. God's brought me out. I'm not going to stay a grateful former patient, I'm going to become a physician.
God's blessed you, now help somebody else get blessed. God delivered you, why don't you help them get delivered? And yes, it's okay to stay a patient for a little while, of course we all have difficulties and fight battles, and we need encouragement, people to lift us when we fall and carry us when we're weak. There are seasons when we're a patient. But when God turns it around, when he brings us out, now we're blessed, we're healed, we meet the right person, we need to shift into a different mode.
Now, I'm looking for somebody to strengthen, I'm looking for somebody to bless. I have a story to share. I have encouragement to give. No more, "I need something. I'm a patient". It's not just a grateful mode, "God's been good to me". We have to shift into this physician mode, "Who can I bless? How can I help heal? Maybe my son was off course, God turned him around. Lord, thank you for that. Now, where's another son I can go after"? Or "God, you gave us the Compaq Center, you made a way when I didn't see a way. Where is somebody I can encourage with this? Where is a pastor I can call that doesn't think he'll ever get his building"?
As long as you let the blessings keep flowing, the encouragement, being good to people, comforting them, helping them to overcome, then the blessings will keep coming in. The healing will keep coming, the right people, the joy, the fulfillment. Now, I'm not saying you won't have difficulties. That as you give away what God's given you, as you strengthen others, you will always have the strength that you need.
But sometimes, we can live ingrown, focused on ourselves. We're grateful, we thank God for his goodness, but that's not enough. That's not going to cause it to sustain. The real test is, are you strengthening someone? Are you taking time to encourage people? Are you going out of your way to be good to them? Maybe they need to be in an uplifting environment. You go pick them up and bring them to church. You just strengthened your brother.
The truth is none of us got to where we are on our own. Somebody encouraged you, somebody brought you to church. Somebody took time to teach you, to train you. Somebody believed in you. They took a chance and gave you a position. Somebody prayed for you. It may have been a great great great grandmother, you've never even met them, but they were instrumental in you being where you are today. They helped you, why don't you go out and help somebody else? Keep giving away what God's given you and it will always come back.
My father grew up in a family that didn't have anything to do with God. They were good people, but faith wasn't a part of their life, and in his teenage years, he was partying and staying out all night, not doing well in school. But he had a friend named Sam that was always talking to him about the Lord. Sam would get to school early and write scripture verses on the chalkboard.
My father was so embarrassed, but no matter how many times he told Sam NO, he wouldn't leave him alone. Sam stayed after him. At the age of 17, daddy was coming home from a nightclub, 2 o'clock in the morning, and he looked up at the stars and began to think about God and what he would do with his life. The next morning, he called Sam and said he wanted to go to church with him. At the end of the service, the pastor invited people to the front to receive Christ. My father wanted to go, but he was too afraid. Sam said, "John, if you'll go, I'll go with you". They walked down the aisle together and my father gave his life to Christ.
Fast forward some 40 years later, my father was a successful pastor with a church of thousands, known around the world. One night, he went to a friend's church across town to hear a special speaker. He arrived late, so he sat in the back. He looked down the row and noticed this young man that looked very troubled. He was planning on speaking to him when it was over. But in the middle of the service, the young man got up and walked out.
My father felt so strongly about it, he got up and went looking for him. He looked all over the lobby and couldn't find him. He went out in the parking lot and searched and searched, he wasn't there. Came back in and checked the restroom, opened the door, the young man was standing there. He said, "I know you don't know me, but God has a plan for your life. He has something for you to do. He sent me after you to let you know that he cares about you".
The young man started weeping and weeping. He was addicted to so many drugs, so depressed that he was planning on ending his life that night, but decided to go to church one last time. By the grace of God, my father was there. That night was a turning point, a new beginning. The young man not only got free, but he too became the pastor of a large church.
Here's my point. Forty years later, my father was still giving away what had been given to him. If it had not been for Sam, he would've missed his destiny. My father wasn't just a grateful former patient. He didn't just go around saying, "Look what God has done for me," he became a physician. He lived with this attitude, "I'm on a mission. Sam tracked me down and changed my life. Now, I'm going to track somebody else down and help change their life. I'm going to strengthen my brother".
No wonder my father lived with favor and influence, God's goodness. He kept letting what was given to him flow to others. God knew if he would bless my father, he could trust him to be a blessing. He knew if Sam would be relentless and track him down, that my father would live with that same attitude when it came to helping others.
Can God trust you to be blessed? Will you pass it on and be a blessing? Can he trust you with healing? Will you become a healer? Can he trust you with influence, with new levels, with freedom? Will you let what he gives you flow out to others? I believe he can. I know I'm looking at faithful, committed, trustworthy people. Not just grateful former patients, I'm looking at physicians. You may not realize it, but you're a healer. You're a lifter. You're an encourager. You're a blesser. Now, I believe and declare as you strengthen your brothers, as you strengthen your sisters, not only are they going to rise higher, but you're going to rise higher. You're going to see new levels of blessing, healing, influence, favor, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus's name.