Joel Osteen - Designed to Withstand
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I want to talk to you today about Designed to Withstand. There are times in life we can feel overwhelmed, like the pressures too much, we go through a loss, we're dealing with an illness or we're not being treated right. A lady told me how things had come against her at work and look like she was going to lose her position, she said, "I can't take it anymore, the worry, the stress, the demands is too much to handle". She felt like she was going to collapse under that weight, like it was unbearable, but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:13 "God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted with more than you can bear. But with the temptation, will make a way of escape so you can bear it". Paul was saying: God will not let you face more pressure, than you can handle. He won't let more weight come on you, that you don't have the strength to bear.
When an architect designs a building, a big skyscraper, he doesn't just design the outside: what it's going to look like, the color, the size, the shape. That's important, but it's of no use if he doesn't design the inner structure: he calculates all the loads, how much each floor will weigh, how much wind it will face, how much equipment will be on it, then he'll know how big to the steel beams should be, how deep the piers in the ground, how thick the foundation.
In California where they can have earthquakes you have to put special reinforcements in the framing, more than we do here. In Florida the glass has to withstand hurricane-force winds. I was at a hotel in colorado during the summer and I noticed on the sloped roof all these cables and wires, I didn't know what it was and I asked the man he said: those are heaters to melt the snow. He explained that if you don't keep the snow off, it can pile up and that wave can cause the roof to collapse. The architects specifically designed each structure, so it can withstand the pressure, so it can bear the weight.
The good news is: your architect is the Most High God. He not only designed solar systems and mountain ranges, but he designed you. When he laid out the plan for your life, he calculated everything you would face: all the pressure, all the weight, all the winds, he took into account every hurt, every loss, every injustice, every mistake, and he designed your beams big enough, your foundation thick enough. He put in you the determination, the courage, the stamina, that no matter what comes against you, it will not be too much to bear. You've been designed to withstand the storms, designed to outlast the opposition, designed to endure until the dream comes to pass.
God wouldn't be just, if he knew we were going to face 120 M/H winds, but he only designed us for 80 M/H winds. That wouldn't even pass code, you couldn't get that design through city planning. How much more has God put in you exactly what you need? You may not be able to see it, but your walls are strong enough, your foundation is deep enough, you can bear whatever comes your way. God didn't miscalculate when he designs you, he didn't forget about what environment you'd be in, what conditions you would face, he didn't accidentally leave out a beam, now you can't handle the weight. Nothing you face will cause you to collapse under the weight.
Now, tougths may tell you: it's too much, you can't handle it. You need to remind yourself: I've been designed to withstand, I have what it takes, I am determined enough, I'm strong enough, I'm bold enough, I am well able. An architect doesn't wait till the pressure comes to see what kind of beams to put in, he doesn't wait till the middle of the storm to check the force of the winds, to see how much resistance, to decide what kind of structure to build. It's all calculated ahead of time, it's designed before one concrete truck shows up, before one hammer is lifted: the specs are studied calculated and approved, before construction ever begins. In the same way before you were formed in your mother's womb, your specs were carefully designed, everything was strategically and precisely put in you for what you're going to need. When you face big challenges, that means you have big beams, you have strong infrastructure. You don't really know what's in you, until you get some weight on you. You don't know what you can handle, until the pressure comes.
When something happens that we've never faced: a loss, a disappointment, a setback, it's easy to think, "I can't handle this, it's going to sink me". The truth is: you wouldn't be facing it, unless you could handle it. If it was too much to bear, God wouldn't have allowed it. The very fact that it happened is a sign that you are well able. Now, you may have never put that kind of pressure on your beams, the glass walls of your building so to speak may have never experienced winds so strong, that's why you're tempted to feel overwhelmed, you don't realize, the structure has been designed for that pressure. It's not an accident, your architect, it didn't catch him by surprise, he knew ahead of time. That's why he made the glass so strong, he took into account winds that you never knew you would encounter. Nothing you face will cause you to collapse, you've been designed to withstand.
Now you can collapse in your mind, in your thinking, you can give in and think: this is too much, I'm overwhelmed, I can't handle it. That's why the scripture tells us "...Don't faint in your mind". Your structure is strong enough, now get your mind strong enough. Quit telling yourself: "It's too big, it's been this way too long, I can't take it anymore", you are well able. No weapon formed against you is going to prosper. That difficulty didn't come to stay, it came to pass. But to say we can't handle it is to say: when God designed to me he miscalculated, he didn't make my foundation deep enough, he left out a beam, I can't carry this weight.
God doesn't make mistakes. The Psalmist said you have been fearfully and wonderfully made. It's not just talking about the outside, our looks, our size, our talents, that's talking about your specs as well, your infrastructure. How God designed things that you can't see, how he planned ahead of time for challenges and obstacles. Things you would think would cause you to collapse, but out of nowhere strength rises up, a courage comes, a faith to overcome, a determination to stand strong and outlast the opposition.
When we acquired this building it didn't have any rooms for children's and youth facilities, two big sports arena. We needed some classrooms, so we built a five-story building on the end, that connects through the lobbies, it's our family life center. We told the architects: one day we're going to want to add five more storeys, we're going to need to expand, so they designed the foundation, the piers, the underground to accommodate 10 storeys, but when you see the building what you see is a five-story building. Unless you have the plans, unless you have the specs, you don't realize, it's designed for 10 storeys. People driving down the freeway, think the building's finished, its peaked, that's as tall as it will ever be. They don't know what's underground, what enables it to go higher is the weigh that the beams can handle, the thickness of the foundation.
In the same way you may think you've reached your limits, you've been at that same level a long time. Can I encourage you? You have more floors in you, you've handled this much pressure fine, you've gotten comfortable carrying this much weight, it's no problem. But if you could look at your specs, if you could see the plans God has for you, you would notice: your beams are much bigger, than what you're carrying right now. You could think God over designs you, he put things in you that you don't need. Now, it's coming, God has new levels and with that increase comes more weight, you're going to have more pressure. Now I don't mean pressure in a bad sense, this is pressure that makes you stretch, makes you grow, makes you release your faith, believe bigger and take on new challenges. Not just difficulties, but positive pressure, where you discover, you can handle things that you never thought you could handle.
For 17 years I worked behind the scenes here at Lakewood, doing the television production. In 1999 when my father went to be with the Lord I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church, but I didn't know how it was going to work out. I had never faced that much pressure. Not only having to get up in front of people, thoughts telling me I wasn't qualified, nobody was going to listen. But losing my father was very traumatic, I had worked with him every day for years, we had traveled the world together and now he was gone. I should have been overwhelmed, the pressure should have called bittersweet back and be discouraged, but in the midst of that turmoil I felt a strength that I had never felt, a determination, a resilience, a confidence that didn't make sense to my mind.
When I stepped up to minister, yes, I was nervous, I was afraid, but down deep I believed I could do it, I believed I had what it takes. There was a boldness, that I had never experienced. I realize now, that wasn't just me being strong, I had been designed for this, I was designed to withstand the pressure, I was designed to overcome the loss, I discovered, my beams were big enough, my foundation was strong enough, that this didn't catch God off guard. What am I saying? You've been designed for everything you're going to face. When you come into things that seem too hard, too big, too unfair, things that should cause you to collapse, don't worry God knew they were coming, he already made you're beings big enough, you will be able to bear it.
Now, it may be uncomfortable, you may have to stretch, but that pressure is not going to stop you, you're going to discover ability that you didn't know you had. Even now I have some opposition, people that don't understand me, but that no more bothers me, I never pay any attention to it. For some people that would cause them to be negative, bitter, spiteful, but God's given me the grace to handle it. The pressure that would cause some people to collapse doesn't affect me. Whatever is in your future you have the grace to handle it. Nothing you face will be beyond what you've been designed for.
But if you would have told me back in my 20s, when I was behind the scenes, that one day I would be up here in front of you, every week and have to have something to say and we would own the Compaq Center, I'd be responsible to raise the funds, I'd say: there's no way, I can't carry that much weight. It's because I couldn't see the infrastructure, I'd never been put under that kind of pressure, but when it comes like with me, you'll discover your beams are in place, your foundation is strong enough, your steel is big enough.
Now the key is: don't lose the battle in your mind. Your mind will tell you your 5 storeys, when you're designed for 10 storeys. Your mind will say: it's too much, it's not fair, it's never going to work out. I might believe you, if your architect lived down the street. You might convinced me, if your architect worked for a firm downtown, he could make a mistake. But can I remind you, your architect is the God, who spoke worlds into existence, he doesn't miss calculate. You will never face a situation that is too much for you to handle. You will never have weight, that will cause you to collapse, a problem that's too big, a dream where you can't carry the weight.
And when I look back over my life, at the critical points where I could have been overwhelmed: my mom being diagnosed with terminal cancer, the death of my father, the lawsuit with the Compaq Center, every time it was uncomfortable, I could have been discouraged and given up, but I discovered not that the pressure went away, but that I could handle more pressure. I discovered: I was designed to carry more weight. If you don't face the pressure, you'll never know who you really are. And the higher you go, the more pressure there will be, the good news is you have the beams to handle it. At some point that pressure will subside and you'll see, you're stronger than you think.
Some of the things that overwhelmed you 10 years ago, you can look back now and say like me: it's no big deal. That trouble at work, that almost gave you a nervous breakdown, but you came through it, now things like that don't bother you anymore. It's not so much that God changed the circumstances, it's that God changed you. He showed you who you are. You thought you would always be at five storeys, you better get ready, there's a skyscraper in you, there are new levels, new mountains to climb, new giants to conquer, new skills to learn. With the new comes more opposition, more weight, more pressure. Don't let it overwhelm you, let it inspire you, that means God is about to add another floor, he's about to take you higher.
"Well, Joel, I didn't have a good childhood, nobody was there to encourage me, to cheer me on". That wasn't fair, but you have the beams to handle it, you have the infrastructure to rise above it, that didn't stop your future. "Well, I came down with this illness, that's why I'm overwhelmed". Isaiah said: take hold of God's stream. It will be overwhelming if you don't remind yourself, that it's not a surprise to God. He wouldn't have allowed it, if you couldn't bear it. Since he did allow it, that means you were well able. Now all through the day you need to take hold of his strength: "Father, thank you, that I am strong in the Lord. Thank you, that you are fighting my battles. Thank you, that you being for me is more, than the world being against me".
The apostle Paul faced all kinds of unfair situations: three times he was beaten with rods, he was put in prison without a trial, he was shipwrecked spent the night on the open sea, bitten by a poisonous snake. He could have collapsed under all the pressure, lived overwhelmed. Yet, he's the one that said: thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph. He knew, God won't let us face things, that we can't handle. If you'll stay in faith, you'll discover like Paul, you've been designed to withstand the pressure, that the enemy didn't somehow come up with the scheme to outwit the God who created you. He can't send a storm so powerful to knock your walls down, he can't put so much weight on you, that your beams can't hold up. Paul said: "We are pressed on every side, but we are not crushed". He was saying in effect: we've been designed to withstand the difficulty, our architect took into account all the trouble, the wind, the bad brake, and he's put in you the courage, the stamina, the endurance to withstand.
As a young man, David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. But he didn't go to the palace, he went back to the shepherd's fields and took care of his father sheep for years. I'm sure of thoughts told him: David, you're never going to be the king, you're stuck out here, nobody pays attention to you. He could have been discouraged, but he kept doing the right things. He eventually defeated Goliath, he went to the palace to serve king Saul. David was good to Saul, faithful, loyal, but Saul was jealous of David, he could see the favor on his life. And while David was playing the harp for Saul, trying to make him feel better, out of nowhere Saul threw a spear across the room, barely missed David, he had to take off running for his life. He spent months in the desert, hiding in caves, living on the run, with Saul constantly on his trail.
David thought it was difficult, those years in the lonely shepherd's fields, but he had never faced this kind of pressure, the king trying to kill him. He could have been overwhelmed, given up, faded into the sunset, but David understood this principle, his attitude: was I've been designed to overcome this injustice, I know God wouldn't have allowed it, if I couldn't handle it. On the way to your destiny there will be opposition, things that are not fair, people that should be for you, but turn against you. You have to remind yourself: you've been designed for it, you're not going to collapse under that weight, your beams are big enough. You don't have to live bitter, you don't have to get revenge, you can forgive, you can stay on the high road. May not have been fair, but like with David you've been designed to overcome the injustice, you've been designed to outlast the opposition.
If David would have complained about the shepherd's fields, let king Saul overwhelm him, we wouldn't be talking about him. He knew, God would never let him face more than he could bear. He didn't like it, he was uncomfortable, but he didn't let the pressure cause him to lose focus and miss his destiny.
We all have these times where we can be overwhelmed, but the reason you have big opposition is because you have a big destiny. The good news is: God took that all into account, when he designed your infrastructure. He didn't give you a big future with weak walls, little beams, small foundation. You are stronger than you think, you have more stamina, more endurance, more grace, more forgiveness. Those challenges are a sign, that new floors are coming. God is about to take you higher, to show you new levels of increase and favor.
Now don't complain about the difficulties, that's when you discover what's in you. David discovered courage, perseverance, faith like he had never seen. If you'll keep the right attitude, that pressure instead of breaking you, it will develop you. You'll grow and mature, so you can take your throne. You maybe in a time of testing now, you feel like the weight is too much to bear, people at work aren't treating your right, that situation with your child has you're overwhelmed. Have a new perspective, God is saying: you've been designed to withstand. Now, you have to do your part and take hold of his strength. Instead of thinking all day about how difficult it is, turn it around: I can do all things through Christ, I've been armed with strength for this battle, I'm a walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but I know a secret, I'm now staying here, this valley is not my home, I'm coming out better, stronger, victorious, into new levels of my destiny.
A friend of mine came to see this building a few years ago, he's an engineer. I took him through the lobbies and into the auditorium, I brought him here on the platform, showed him the lights, the sound system, the screens the things that are impressive to me. He liked it, but then he asked me something that no one has ever asked. He said: can I see the mechanical rooms? I said: the what? He said: the mechanical areas, the power plan, the heating and cooling system, the chilled water pipes. I didn't even know where they were. I had to get my brother-in-law Kevin, he took us to areas of this building, that I've never seen.
Huge rooms filled with equipment, generators, pumps, electrical panels. He showed us big beams that allow this building to spend over a hundred yards, without a column. My friend couldn't believe it, he stood there in awe. Well, I left that day with the new appreciation for this building. It has all kinds of things behind the scenes, things we can't see: design and infrastructure, that make what we can see so amazing.
In the same way God has put incredible things in you, that you can't see. You have beams, that can take you much further, than you are right now. You have infrastructure to take you to higher levels, to add new floors. God didn't designed you to reach a certain level and stay there. You may be at five storeys now, you're blessed, God's been good to you. What you can't see is you have a 10-story foundation. Where you are is not your final destination. He not only designed you to increase, but to withstand the storms. As you take new ground, there will be new obstacles. The greater the opportunity, the greater the opposition. In religious terms: new levels, new devils.
Whatever you face, remind yourself, you can handle it. Not necessarily because you're so great, but because you're architect, the Most High God, has designed you with everything that you need. You will never face a situation, that you cannot bear. You and your thoughts tell you: it's too much, I'm overwhelmed, I can't handle it. If you could only see your mechanical room, if you only knew what God put in you, you would realize, you can't handle it, you've been designed to withstand. Now, I believe and declare, strength is coming into you in a new way, courage is rising up, you will withstand every storm, outlast every attack, overcome every obstacle and become everything God's created you to be, in Jesus name.