Joel Osteen - You're Still Going to Make It
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I want to talk to you today about "You're Still Going to Make It". We all have dreams and goals and things we know that God has promised us. We start off excited, we're sailing along fine, making progress, then a storm arises, an unexpected challenge: a sickness, a breakup, we lose a loved one, a contract we were counting on doesn't go through. It's easy to get discouraged and think it's never going to happen, but God doesn't promise something and then change his mind, he doesn't put a dream in your heart and then take it back. What he starts he finishes. You may not see a way, but God hasn't run out of options. We think natural, but God is supernatural. He has ways we've never thought of and God wouldn't have allowed that storm if it was going to keep you from your destiny.
If that bad break, that lost, that person that walked away, if that was going to stop your purpose God would have kept it from happening. We may not like it, but it's a part of the process. Storms come to us all, the good news is: God is in control of the winds, he's in control of what's trying to stop you. And all he has to do is shift the winds and instead of holding you back, they will propel you forward. They were meant for your harm, but he knows how to turn them around and use them to your advantage.
You may be facing a situation where you don't see how it could work out, in your health, your finances, a relationship. Every voice says, "There's no way, it's too late. The obstacles are too big". God is saying: "You're still going to get there. I'm still on the throne, I'm working behind thу scenes. I'm fighting your battles, I'm arranging the breaks you need, I'm lining up the right people". What God promised will come to pass, you're still going to get well, you're still going to meet the right person, you're still going to break that addiction you're still going to accomplish your dreams. Where you are is not an accident. God may not have sent the storm, but he is in control of the storm. Here's the test: when you trust him, when you don't see any sign of things improving, will you stay in faith, when every thought tells you, "It's never going to work out"?
This is what the apostle Paul did. He was a prisoner on a boat headed to Rome. He'd been arrested in Jerusalem for causing a disturbance, even though he was found not guilty he had appealed to Caesar. While they were sailing on this several month journey, 276 people on board, they encountered a huge storm, with hurricane-force winds. The waves were so big, they were battering the boat back and forth. For 14 days they didn't see the sun nor the stars. The boat had become so beaten up, it was taking on water. The crew started throwing cargo and supplies overboard. They were despondent, they had quit eating, the scripture says: all hope of them being saved was gone. But in the middle of the storm an angel appeared to Paul, he said in acts 27:24, "Don't be afraid Paul, for you will surely stand before Caesar. God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you".
Paul had this promise that he would make it to Rome, but all the circumstances said he would never get there. Everywhere he looked - the winds, the waves, the crew - said he wasn't going to make it. He could have thought, "God, I must have heard you wrong. You said I would stand before Caesar, but I'm in a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean, stuck in a hurricane". Sometimes what God promises looks just the opposite of what we see. "God, you said I was going to get well, all I see is sickness. You said I would lend to not borrow, but I see debt, lack, struggle. You said my children would be mighty in the land, but I see addictions, compromise". Here's the key: you can't be moved by what you see, you have to be moved by what you know. Don't let that storm talk you out of what God promised.
In the middle of the storm, when it looked impossible, no sign of things improving, Paul went up to the crew and said: it's going to be alright, get something to eat, God promised that I would not only stand before Caesar, but that all of your lives would be spared. The next verse is the key: he said, "And I believe it will be just as God said". See God can make all these promises, but if we don't take the next step and say like Paul, "God, I believe, what you promised me will come to pass", then the promises won't do any good - we have to mix faith with them. When Paul told the crew that their lives were going to be spared, no doubt waves were splashing him in the face, wind so strong almost knocking him down, had to hold on to the boat. It had been this way for two weeks, he could have been depressed like the rest of them, complaining. Instead he was talking about what God promised, he was speaking life in the face of death, he was talking victory in the middle of defeat.
What you're saying in the storm will have a great impact on whether you stay there or whether you come out. If you're saying, "I'll never get well, I can't break this addiction, I've had it since high school. Joel, these people that did me wrong, this injustice, it ruined my life". If you talk defeat, you're going to have defeat. If you think I'll never get out of this trouble, then you never will. In the middle of the storm you need to declare what God promised you, "I am coming out. This too shall pass, I am not moved by the waves, the winds, the opposition. I know, God being for me is more than the world being against me. I will get well, I will prosper and succeed, my children will serve the Lord". Get an agreement with God.
The angel said: Paul, every one sailing with you will be saved. Here Paul was a prisoner on the boat, he didn't have any influence there, the crew saw him is secondary, just another inmate we have to transport. They thought Paul was sailing with them, but notice how God sees you, he said Paul: everyone sailing with you will be saved. You may have some enemies, people that look down on you, they think they have the upper hand. Don't worry, you're not sailing with them, they're sailing with you. Nothing can snatch you out of God's hands. You may feel like you're on the boat of the opposition, like you're at a disadvantage at work, at school, but people don't determine your destiny, they cannot stop God's plan for your life. You may be on their boat, but remember, they're sailing with you. God is going to get you to where you're supposed to be.
Without Paul on the boat all the people would have perished. The hurricane would have caused it to stink, there was no chance in the natural, all the circumstances said: it was doomed, just a bad break, but there was a man on that boat with a calling on his life, a man with a purpose, with the destiny. This is showing us: a storm cannot stop what God has purposed. You may be in a situation it doesn't look good, it would stop a lot of people, but it can't stop you. Why? You're a Paul, you have a purpose, you have an assignment. There's a calling on your life, something God has ordained you to accomplish. You're not just filling up space, you're a person of destiny. There's a Caesar you've been called to stand before, there's a dream God put in your heart. It's not an option, God has purposed it.
There's a giant you've been called to defeat. Maybe it's a generational curse, something that's held your family back. That's why the storm is so bad, the enemy would love to convince you to get discouraged, give up, think you heard God wrong. Know that storm is a sign you are close to your destiny. The enemy would not be sending the winds, the rain, the trouble, the sickness if he didn't know Caesar was right up ahead. What you've been called to do, your greatest accomplishment, something more than you can imagine, freedom that your family has never seen is right past that storm. The reason it can't defeat you is: you're a Paul.
Here's the key: the destiny in you is greater than the storm around you. The purpose in you cannot be stopped by the waves, by people, by opposition. Stay in faith and keep declaring what God said about you: I will stand before Caesar. That means: I will fulfill my destiny, I will set new standards for my family, I will break these cycles of defeat, depression, dysfunction that have been passed down. I will pay my house off, I will keep my family together, I will take new ground. If you're going to come out of the storm, you have to know you're a Paul, there's a calling on your life. The enemy knows it, he wouldn't be fighting you if he didn't know: you were destined to do great things. He knows it, God knows it, now make sure that you know it.
See what God has spoken over you it's not just a nice thought, it's not just something that he hopes will come to pass - it's a command: Paul, you will stand before Caesar. He didn't say, "I think you will, if the weather holds up, if these people don't get too upset". What God speaks the only thing that could keep it from happening is not the storm, not the opposition, not people, not the sickness, the only thing is if we don't believe. God works where there's faith. If Paul would have said, "God, I don't think I can stand before Caesar, I'm a prisoner, I'm in a hurricane, these people don't like me". Don't let doubt stop your purpose. Don't let the storm talk you out of your destiny. You don't have to figure out how it's going to happen, all you have to do is believe. In the face of that storm with the winds, the rain coming against you, dare to say like Paul: I believe God, just what you said will come to pass.
Here's how good God is, he told Paul that everyone sailing with him would be saved. Even Paul's enemies had the promise that their life would be spared. If it was up to us, we would say: God, wipe them out, they don't deserve it, let them have it. But God is so merciful, some of your enemies will be blessed because of you. When the favor on your life helps them to rise higher, they'll have a change of heart. Instead of being against you, they'll be for you. Instead of trying to push you down, they'll lift you up.
After two weeks of being battered around by the storm, the crew noticed a small island off in the distance. They tried to steer that way, but the winds were too strong. When the boat got close, it hit the bottom and broke totally apart. Now all the people were in the water. They grabbed pieces of the boat and begin to swim to shore. In a few hours all 276 had made it safely to the island, no one lost their lives. But when the boat hit bottom, broke apart, I'm sure some of them panicked and thought, "Oh, great, we're done now, we don't even have the boat, there's no chance. But they made it to the shore without the boat". God is saying you're going to make it without what you thought you had to have. You're going to make it without what you've lost. You're gonna make it without what didn't work out.
I was very close to my father, I worked 17 years with him behind the scenes at Lakewood, and we had traveled the world together. I used to think: what's going to happen, when my father is not here? 1999 he suddenly went to be with the Lord. I still miss him, but I realize now, I made it without my father, I made it without going to seminary, I made it without the formal training - all these things I thought I had to have, I didn't need them. When I stepped up to pastor the church, most of the people were for me, but there were a few that I had known for years, they were very for my father, but they weren't supportive of me. They loved me, but they wanted me to do it their way. I've learned: you have to be you. There's no anointing on your life to be like somebody else, you're anointed to be you.
At first it kind of bothered me that they weren't for me, I'm worried about what if they leave or if they don't support me. Eventually they did leave, but it wasn't what I thought. Things didn't fall apart, I made it without their support. I made it without their encouragement. I made it without the boat. Sometimes God will take things away that we think we need, so we have to depend on him and not people, not the contract, not the position. Can I tell you? You're going to make it without that person that walked away, without that friend that betrayed you, without that spouse that left you. I know, it's painful, but they weren't your Savior, you already have a Savior, he's got you in the palm of his hand.
If they left you, then you didn't need them. If you had to have them to fulfill your purpose, they would have stayed. You have to accept that they weren't a part of your destiny and move forward. As long as you're looking back, focused on what you lost and why didn't they stay, why did my boat break apart, you will miss the new things God has in store. You can still get to the shore, it just may not happen the way you think. God's ways are not our ways. We can get so set on how we think it's going to happen, what we need, who's going to be there, that we get discouraged if it doesn't fit into our plans. We have to stay open, God knows what's best for us.
You're going to make it without the contract, that didn't go through. You worked hard, but you weren't chosen. You deserve the promotion, but you got skipped over. That's not the end, that means God has something better, he knows how to open new doors, how to cause opportunity, promotion, contracts that you didn't see, coming finds you. Don't sit around discouraged, "Oh, just my luck. Why did this happen to me"? I can tell you why: there's a calling on your life, there are new levels in your future. That storm cannot stop you. God knows how to get you to the shore, but it may happen an unconventional way, without the boat. You may have to swim to the shore, but the grace will be there to do it. You're going to make it like I did, without that loved one you lost. Sure you still miss them, but that didn't cancel your destiny. It may feel like the end, but really it's a new beginning. You are stronger than you think, you have more in you: more talent, more courage, more determination. God is not going to leave you in that storm. The boat may have broken apart, but you're still going to get to the shore. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning.
In the scripture David made it without his family believing in him. I'm sure he was discouraged when his father didn't call him in, when the prophet Samuel was choosing one of the sons as the next king. He was tempted to be offended when his older brother made fun of him for being the youngest in heaven to take care of the sheep. He could have thought, "God, is not fair. My own family doesn't believe in me". But David understood this principle, his attitude was, "I can make it without their support, I can make it without their approval, I don't have to have their encouragement". Instead of depending on people to approve you, why don't you go to God and get your approval from him? Instead of counting on others to courage you, why don't you start encouraging yourself. Start speaking faith, favor, victory, blessings over your own life.
But if God would have let the boat make it to shore, would have been so much easier, it wouldn't had to go through all this drama and distress, they could have just pulled up like a cruise liner and God often enjoyed the island, but sometimes the boat doesn't make it. Paul and the crew grabbed the broken pieces, the wood that was floating, they used that to help them swim to the shore. We think we have to have the boat, but God is so amazing, he has a plan even for the broken pieces, the remnants, things most people would discard, God will use them to take you to where he has prepared. Their brokenness became their breakthrough.
Now quit being discouraged over what you've lost, what you have left is what you need. God didn't let you lose so much, that you can't make it to where he's taking you - you didn't need the boat. What they thought was of no use, discarded pieces of wood, was actually what they needed to make it to the shore. When you're in a storm you have to do like Paul: grab on to the broken pieces, that means keep believing that you're coming out, keep declaring favor over your life, keep thanking God for his goodness, he didn't change his mind. The boat may have fallen apart, but you're still going to stand before Caesar. What God promised is still going to come to pass.
My father had a dream as a 17 year old boy, that one day he would pastor a church with thousands of people. Back in the 1930s that was unheard of, there weren't any large churches. Against all odds he was able to go to college, he started pastoring a successful, growing church. They had almost a thousand members. They just built a beautiful new sanctuary, everything was going great until a storm hit. My sister Lisa was born with something like cerebral palsy. My father began to search the scriptures in a new way. He started speaking to his congregation about how God is a healer, how he wants us to live an abundant, victorious life. Much to his surprise they didn't like his new message of faith and they asked him to leave. He was devastated, he had spent years pouring into those people, now it looked like his dream was over. But that storm is not keeping you from your destiny, it's leading you to your destiny. God is directing the winds.
He and my mother went out and started Lakewood. My father had lost over 90% of his congregation. He was no longer affiliated with his denomination, he didn't have support from his colleagues. Lifelong friends never spoke to him again. But God says: you're going to make it without the support, without what you've lost, without the new building. The boat may have fallen apart, but God is still on the throne. What you lost is not near as important is what you have left. My father was faithful. Lakewood grew and grew. Just like God promised, he pastored a church of thousands. But suppose he would have been bitter because they asked him to leave, suppose he had given up because of the bad brakes, the betrayals, he'd have never made it to the shore. He would have never stood before Caesar so to speak.
You don't know what God is up to. These storms that none of us like are a part of our destiny. Are you sitting on the sidelines, discouraged over what you've lost, what you didn't get, who didn't stay? God is saying, "If you'll get your passion back, if you'll start believing again, you're still going to get there". Despite what you've lost, despite who was against you, despite the mistakes you've made, God's calling is still on your life, his assignment is still in your future, new levels are still waiting on you.
In the scripture there's the story about a little boy named Mephibosheth. He was the grandson of king Saul and the son of Jonathan. David and Jonathan were best friends. Mephibosheth was born into royalty, destined to one day take the throne. But life didn't turn out the way he thought, his father and grandfather were killed on the same day in a battle. The maid that took care of him, when word reached their city, she grabbed Mephibosheth took off running out of the house, trying to hide him from enemies that were coming. She tripped on the steps, dropped Mephibosheth and both of his legs were broken. He became permanently crippled, he could no longer walk.
Years had passed. Now, instead of living in the palace like he thought, he was living in one of the poorest, most rundown cities of that day. Seemed like a bad break, just bad luck, wasn't even his fault the maid dropped him. But God is not dependent on what someone else does or doesn't do to get you to your destiny. People may have dropped you, but God knows how to pick you back up.
Years later king David was reminiscing about how much he loved his good friend Jonathan. He asked his men if any of Jonathan's relatives were still alive. They said, "Yes, his son is, but he's crippled living in the slums". David said, "Go, find him and bring him to me". You can imagine as these officials from the palace start searching the slums, word quickly spread: they're looking for Mephibosheth. When he hears, he thought, "Oh, man, I'm done. Now they have finally found me". He expected the worst, but they picked him up and carried him to the palace. They cleaned him up, put new clothes on him, brought him before David. He was afraid, didn't know what was going to happen. David said, "Mephibosheth, don't worry, from now on you're going to live in the palace with me. Every night you're going to eat dinner at my table. Not only that I am giving you all the land that belonged to your father and your grandfather".
Like him, it may look like there's no way what God promised you could still come to pass. It's too late, you've had too many bad breaks, the odds are against you - if Mephibosheth were here, he would tell you: you're still going to get there. Despite who dropped you, despite how unfair it was, despite how impossible it looks. You're going to make it without the boat, without what you thought you had to have. God has the right people already lined up to help you, people that will make up for what you didn't get. Now, don't stay focused on what you've lost - what you have left is what you need. There's power in the broken pieces. May not look like much, but when God breathes on them, you will make it to the shore. Now believe and declare: you're still going to get well, you're still going to meet the right person, you're still going to accomplish your dreams. Favor is coming, healing is coming, promotion, vindication, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.