Joel Osteen - Your Wings Are Coming
I want to talk to you today about your wings are coming. We all face situations that look like they'll never change: in our career seems like we've reached our limits, we have much bigger things in our heart. We know what God has promised, but when we look at the circumstances, it says we're stuck. When we look at the medical report, look at the bank account, there's no sign of things improving. But the scripture says: "The things we see are temporary, but the things we can't see are eternal".
Don't be discouraged by what you see, it's not permanent. One translation says: the things we see are subject to change. Your child may be off course, but he's subject to change. Your health may not look good, it's subject to change. Your dream may seem impossible, that's subject to change. When thoughts tell you that it's permanent, you'll never get well, never meet the right person, instead of being discouraged, turn it around: "Yes, it may look that way, but I know a secret, it is subject to change". You can't be moved by what you see, you have to be moved by what you know. God is on the throne, he's working behind the scenes, what he promised is on the way.
When a caterpillar is crawling on the ground, barely moving, I can imagine he looks up and sees a beautiful butterfly flying through the air. The more he watches, the more depressed he gets, thinking: "It's not fair. Why can't I fly? I'll always be grounded". When he looks at his circumstances, there's nothing about them that says he will ever fly, no sign of him ever getting off the ground. If an expert examined him, he would give him no chance of taking flight, he has no wings. If you put him up next to a dozen other worms, none of them have ever flown. But there's something different about the caterpillar, in its DNA it's been programmed at a certain time to develop wings. Even though it seems impossible, even though every thought says it will never fly, one day it does the impossible, it transforms into a beautiful butterfly, that can soar through the air.
All that time he thought he was stuck on the ground, he didn't realize it wasn't permanent, his wings were coming. Like that caterpillar all your circumstances may say: "You'll never fly. You don't have the training, the experience, you come from the wrong family". Thoughts will tell you, you'll always be grounded, you'll always struggle in your finances, always be addicted. No, get ready, your wings are coming. Where you are is not permanent. God did not create you to crawl to go through life lonely, addicted, struggling, he didn't make you in his own image, breathe life into you, crowned you with favor, so you could barely get by. He created you to soar, to take new ground, to go further than you thought possible.
Now quit being discouraged by what you see. What you see is subject to change. You don't know what God is up to, you don't know what he's doing behind the scenes. But it would be different, if a caterpillar was born with wings that didn't work and eventually they were activated. Be much easier to believe that it could fly, if the wings were already in place. But I believe, one reason God made the caterpillar, a worm without wings that crawls on the ground, that's the least likely one to fly, was to encourage us, there when it seems the least likely for you to fly.
When circumstances say: "There's no way you'll get well, no way you'll accomplish your dream", you can remember the caterpillar. If it went from being grounded with no wings to be in a beautiful butterfly, that can soar through the air, then God can change what looks impossible to you. Now you may be in the caterpillar stage, not making much progress, things don't look promising. God is saying: don't worry, your wings are coming, your healing is coming, your promotion is coming, your breakthrough is coming. You're not going to just get ahead, you're not going to just have a little bump, you're going to see supernatural opportunities, supernatural increase, things that you couldn't make happen.
When a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, gets its wings it doesn't just have the ability to crawl faster, just be better at what it could already do, it comes into a whole new dimension: from crawling, to flying. When you get your wings, you're not going to just be better at what you can do right now, God is going to catapult you into a new dimension, into favor that you haven't seen. Acceleration: things are going to happen sooner than you thought, should have taken you 30 years to work your way into management, but suddenly you were promoted. What happened? You got your wings. Should have taken you a lifetime to pay your house off, but you did it in a fraction of the time. What happened? You went from crawling to flying, you got your wings. That's the hand of God thrusting you ahead.
That's what happened to us here at Lakewood. We were doing great at the other location, we were blessed, growing. But when we moved into the Compaq Center, things exploded. We didn't just go to a new level, we went to a new dimension, we got our wings, this put us 50 years down the road. What am I saying? Your idea of flying and God's idea of flying are totally different. You think you're doing good, wait till you get your wings, you haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store. He's going to open doors you never dreamed would open. He's going to bring strategic people, divine connections, he'll use their influence to push you ahead, you're going to discover gifts, talents, creativity that you didn't know you had. You think: where did this come from? You got your wings, that's God taking you places, that you could never go on your own.
In 1 kings 18, the people of Samaria were in a great drought. Hadn't rained for three years, the crops had dried up, people were barely making it. The prophet Elisha showed up and said the king Ahab, "I hear the sound of the abundance of rain". When he said that there wasn't a cloud in the sky, there was no sign of rain, yet he chose to believe what he heard in his spirit over what he saw with his eyes. He saw drought, famine, crops dried up, but he heard an abundance of rain.
Are you believing what you're seeing or what you're hearing? What you see maybe lack, struggle, caterpillar on the ground, but what God is speaking to your spirit is abundance, healing, breakthroughs, new levels. What you're hearing is more powerful than what you're seeing. What you see is temporary, what you hear is eternal. And if you stay focused on the drought and how big the problem is, how it's never going to change, that's going to keep you in a caterpillar mode.
The scripture says, "We are transformed by the renewing of our mind". That word "Transform" is the same word used for when a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. You have to get your mind going in the right direction. You can't think caterpillar thoughts and live a butterfly life. If you think "Joel, I'll never get well. I can't get ahead, I've reached my limits". Your own thinking will keep your wings from developing. You have to do like Elijah: everywhere he looked, he saw drought, but in his spirit he heard abundance. He chose to believe what God said over what he saw.
He went on top of mount Carmel to pray. He told his assistant to go look on the other side of the mountain to see, if there was any sign of rain. The young man went out, came back, said, "No, there's not a cloud in the sky". Elijah could have been discouraged, thought: "I must have heard God wrong", but he understood this principle, that what he saw was subject to change. And instead of accepting that it was never going to happen, he told the young man to go back and look again, and again, and again.
It takes faith to keep looking. You have to be more confident in what God said than in what you see. What you see may be a caterpillar, no chance it can fly, you'd be wasting your time thinking that worm could get off the ground. For some people that would seem foolish, but faith is not always going to make sense. What God promises you is not always going to be logical. There will be a battle taking place in your mind between what you see and what you hear. "I hear I'm a butterfly, I'm created to soar, I'm destined to do great things", then that other voice, "Well, where are your wings? How come, you're still on the ground? How come, it's taken so long"? You're right where Elijah was. "God, you said an abundance of rain, but I don't see a cloud in the sky. God if it's you, at least give me some drizzle, at least let the weatherman say 10% chance of rain".
Sometimes there will be no sign that it's going to happen, that's when you have to dig down deep and say: "God, my mind says I'm crazy, people say I'm far out, but I still believe: what you promised is on the way. God, you said you would restore health backin to me, I don't see any side of it, but I choose to believe: healing is coming. God, you said, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. My child is off-course, but I'm not moved by what I see, I know you have the final say. God, you said, I would leave an inheritance to my children's children. I don't see how it can happen, God, I'm struggling to make ends meet, but I believe my wings are coming. In my spirit I hear abundance, I hear increase, I hear lend and not boring".
The seventh time the young man came back, he said to Elisha, "This time I saw a small cloud in the sky about the size of a man's hand". Elisha sent word to Ahab, said "You better take off to the next city, there's about to be a downpour". All he saw was a small cloud, but Elijah was so full of faith, so full of expectancy, he knew that little cloud was about to turn into big rain. It wasn't long before the three-year drought came to an end.
What you see may seem small compared to what God promised you. It's easy to dismiss it, think that it's nothing, but God knows how to take a small cloud and bring a big blessing, he knows how to take something that looks insignificant and caused it to multiply and turn into something amazing. But I wonder if Elijah would have ever seen the rain if he had not kept looking? If he would have gotten discouraged after the second time or the fifth time or the sixth time, maybe the cloud would have never formed. Maybe God would see how bad he wanted it, maybe the clear skies and no clouds were all a test. God wanted to know, "Elisha, are you going to believe what you're hearing or what you're seeing? Are you going to believe your wings are still coming, while you're crawling on the ground, while there's no sign of it or are you going to let circumstances talk you out of it".
Part of this test is sometimes the situation will get worse before it gets better. Elijah was doing all the right things in the face of the drought, the odds against him. He declared the Ahab what God promised: the abundance of rain is coming. He went on the mountain and prayed, he thanked God in advance, he looked for it, but nothing changed, no clouds no rain. Here he was doing everything he was supposed to be doing, but the drought got worse. If you will pass this test of things getting worse while you're doing the right thing, then like him you will come into abundance, you will see what God promised. The getting worse is a sign, that the breakthrough is coming.
Even with the caterpillar, before it gets its wings the caterpillar goes into a cocoon, that's where it transforms. In the cocoon it's dark, it's uncomfortable, he can't move. At least when he was a caterpillar, he could crawl around. Couldn't go fast, but he could move. Now, he's totally restricted. I'm sure, he thinks: what's happening to me? I was believing for wings, I was hoping to fly, now I have no mobility, it's worse than ever. But in a little while after that dark season, after that uncomfortable time, he comes out of the cocoon not the same, but with its wings, now it's a butterfly.
Now you may be in the cocoon today. You feel like you're going backwards, you're believing to get better to take new ground, but it's gone the other way - it's all a part of the process, that's a sign that your wings are coming, that's a sign that the clouds are starting to form. Don't get discouraged, you're about to come in to who you were created to be. That time in the cocoon, that uncomfortable season, when you were doing the right thing and the wrong thing was happening, it wasn't a mistake, it wasn't bad luck, it was a test. God has you in the palm of his hand, nothing can happen without his permission. And because you stayed in faith, because you kept looking for the cloud, because you kept declaring abundance is coming, you're going to come out with your wings. No more crawling, no more barely getting by, living mediocre, struggling with addictions, depression, dysfunction, this is a new day.
If the enemy would have known what was going to happen, he would have left you alone. He took you into that difficulty thinking he was going to stop you he didn't realize it was the cocoon. God was using it to transform you. He meant it for harm, God turned it to your advantage, you came out with your wings. Now you can soar, now you can take new ground, now abundance is in your future.
December of 2002 the Houston city council voted for us to have the Compaq Center. We were so excited, we had worked a year and a half trying to convince the councilmembers, this was a dream come true. A few weeks later I was in another city, my brother-in-law Kevin called and said: the company that owns all the property around the Compaq Center had just filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. They said we would violate the deed restrictions. They were a huge company, one of the biggest tax payers in Texas. We met with our attorneys and they weren't very encouraging, they said we might possibly win the lawsuit, but even if we did, it could be tied up in the courts for ten years.
Month after month went by, nothing was happening, they weren't going to budge. I had to do what I'm asking you to do, I said: "God, I'm not going to be moved, but what I see. What I see is a stalemate, what I see is Goliath, what I see is a lengthy legal battle. It looked like we could always be grounded, like that setback would be permanent, but I knew this secret, it was subject to change. That people don't have the final say, God has the final say". Instead of talking about how bad it was, how it would never work out, I'd go around saying, "Father, thank you, that you being for us is more than the world being against us. Thank you, that you are fighting our battles".
About eight months end we received word that the ceo of this large company wanted to fly down and meet with us. Our attorneys told us not to get our hopes up, that it was probably a ploy, a negotiating tactic, to try to pressure us and intimidate us. They expected the worst, but deep down I believed it was the hand of God. We had had no contact with him except through the courts. The ceo walked in the room, the first thing he said was, "Joel I watched you every week on television and my son-in-law is a youth pastor".
God knows how to put the right people in your path. By the end of that day they had not only agreed to drop the lawsuit and let us have the building, but to lease us eight thousand covered parking spaces that surround this building. We thought we were stuck, but we got our wings. It could have taken years, God did it in a fraction of the time.
What you're up against may look bigger, stronger, the odds are against you - don't worry, the most time God is for you, he knows how to defeat giants, he knows how to turn things around. No person can stand against him, no sickness, no addiction, no obstacle, what's trying to stop you is not permanent. The God who created the universe is breathing in your direction right now, pushing back forces of darkness, making your crooked places straight, changing people's minds in your favor. Not only are you going to come out, but in the process you're going to get your wings, you're gonna rise to heights, that you never thought possible.
In the scripture God promised Abraham and Sarah, that they were going to have a baby, but they were both way too old. Even though it seemed impossible, they believed for a while, but years went by and no sign of his child. Sarah finally told Abraham to sleep with her maid. Her attitude was: "I'll never get my wings, I'll always be grounded". She thought somebody else would have to fly for her, that she would have to ride piggyback so to speak, they would have the baby. But you never see a butterfly flying around with a caterpillar on its back. The promise God put in you is not going to come through somebody else. Yes, sometimes people lift us, sometimes they do us a favor, but God didn't create you to be dependent on others to fulfill your destiny. You are not going to have to ride piggyback, your wings are coming. There is greatness in you. You have gifts, talents, businesses, babies in you.
Abraham had a baby with Sarah's maid, but that was not the promised child. And when it looked like there was no way, against all odds, at 80 years of age Sarah gave birth to a son, the promised child. What God put in your heart is still on the way. Maybe the reason it seems so unlikely, is like Sarah, you don't have your wings yet. When you're in the caterpillar stage it's easy to talk to yourself out of it, the way to stay in faith is keep reminding yourself: my wings are coming. When Sarah heard the promise that she was going to have a baby, the first thing she did was laugh. She thought: "That's so far out, it's funny". Because she couldn't comprehend it, she found the maid to try to make it happen.
Here's the key: don't reduce what God promised you to fit your faith. Don't bring it down to your level and go find the maid, come up to his level. Don't be limited by your faith, stretch your faith. If you could do it on your own, you wouldn't need wings. If you could accomplish your dreams by yourself, it wouldn't take faith. What God has in your future is so big, so amazing, it's going to be intimidating. While you're excited, at the same time you'll be tempted to swing back and think: there's no way, that's never happened in my family. God wouldn't have given it to you if he didn't have a way to bring it to pass. He is not asking you to figure it out, he's asking you to believe. When you believe, supernatural doors can open. When you believe, God can make things happen, that you could never make happen. But the mistake we make too often, is we reduce what God promised us to what we think is possible.
A young couple came down for prayer one time, they said: "Joel, will you pray that this furniture we really want to buy will go on sale, so we can afford it"? And there's nothing wrong with being frugal, I'm all for getting good deals, but God is not dependent on what somebody else does to bring your dream to pass, he's not hoping they give you a good break, so that promise will be fulfilled. I told them, "It's great if it goes on sale, but I would rather pray, that God will give you the funds to purchase it, even if it doesn't". Sometimes we're praying for things to come down, when we should be praying for us to go up. The same God that can cause it to go on sale, can bless you with such abundance, that it doesn't matter if it doesn't.
See, my father came out of poverty, he was raised very poor. Went to high school with holes in his clothes, holes in his shoes. When I was 10 years old, I was at a clothing store, my father was about to purchase a suit. When the salesmen found out he was a pastor, he said: "Let me go see, maybe I can get you a ministers discount". And of course, my father was grateful, but something about that hit him wrong. He said, "Sir, I appreciate it, but that won't be necessary, my father is extremely wealthy". The salesman looked so surprised, he didn't know he was talking about his Heavenly Father. But my father's attitude was, "I was grounded long enough, I crawled around for years, this is a new day, I've got my wings and I'm not going back to that worm mentality. I was born to fly".
Sometimes we're waiting for God to take us higher, God is waiting for us to bring our thinking up higher. Get rid of that worm mentality, don't reduce what God promised you to fit your faith - stretch your faith. How you were raised is not how you're supposed to stay, God has new levels. You may not see how this can happen, there are big obstacles in your path, don't be moved by what you see, what you see is subject to change. Like Elijah, I can hear the sound of abundance, I hear the sound of healing, the sound of breakthroughs. You may have been grounded, I have good news, your caterpillar days are over. I believe and declare: your wings are coming, you're going to accomplish more than you thought possible. It's going to happen sooner than you think: acceleration, promotion, healing, new opportunities, new levels, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.