Joel Osteen - It's Worth The Wait
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I want to talk to you today аbout: it's worth the wait. We all have things that we're waiting for: a dream to come to pass, problem to turn around, to meet the right person. When it's taking longer than we thought, it's easy to get discouraged, to become impatient and think, "When is it ever going to happen"? But sometimes it's not happening because we're not prepared for what God has prepare. You're ready for what you have in mind, but if you could see what God has in mind, you would realize: you couldn't handle it right now, you need more time to grow, to develop, to gain experience. The scripture says (James 1:4), "Let patience have it's perfect work".
Patience is developed in the wait room. When I was playing sports in high school, the coach would have a spend an hour a day lifting weights. I didn't want to do that, I wanted to play basketball. That seemed like a waste of time. But in that wait room we were getting stronger, building endurance, so we could succeed on the court. Before you see what God promised, before you get on the court, God will send you to the wait room. You may not like it, you don't see anything happening. Other people are in the game, making progress, you're stuck waiting, but that time in the wait room is critical. You may not see anything changing, but something is happening: patience is working, your spiritual muscles are getting stronger, you're growing, developing. Patience is building you, getting you prepared, so you can sustain what God has coming.
Don't discount the waiting periods, don't get discouraged because it's not happening as fast as you would like. The longer it takes, that means the more God has in store. When it's your time, when he knows you're ready, what you give birth to is going to be much bigger than you've imagined. Hebrews 10:36 says, "You have need a patience... So you can receive the promises". We know we need to have faith, we know we need to believe, those things seem obvious, but this says we need patience, if we're going to see promises come to pass.
Maybe you've been praying, believing, being your best, but you don't see anything changing, you're tempted to live stressed. Have a new perspective, you're in the waiting room. You're not missing out, you're not falling behind, God has you right where he wants you, that promise is right on schedule. Now do your part and wait with a good attitude. Not upset, complaining, when is it ever going to happen. No, turn it around, "Father, thank you, that what you started in my life you will finish. Thank you, that what you promised is on the way". If you will wait with the right attitude, after patience has done its work, you're going to see promises come to pass.
But we see waiting as negative, we don't like it, nothing is happening. We're interested in the destination, but God is interested in the journey, he's working on us along the way. When we understand that waiting doesn't mean nothing is happening, doesn't mean God has forgotten about us, it's all a part of the process, then we can stay in faith, knowing that at the right time, God will get us to where we're supposed to be.
David waited 13 years to take the throne, after the prophet Samuel anointed him to be the next king. God could have taken him straight to the throne, but David wasn't ready, he had to go through a time of testing. And during those 13 years he faithfully took care of his father's sheeps. Seemed like a menial position, he knew he had bigger things in him, he had heard the prophets say that he was a king, but had David not passed the test in the wait room, he would have never made it to the throne. He had to show God he would take care of his father's sheep,, before God would trust him to take care of his sheep the people of Israel. While you wait be your best where you are, that's a very important time, God is watching to see if you're ready. Here's the key: if what you're praying about isn't changing, then God is using that situation to change you. If it's not working out, then it's working out something in you. All things are working for your good.
When we acquired the Compaq Center, a company filed a lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. I had already announced to the congregation that it was ours. People had given to help renovate it, now there was a chance it wasn't going to happen. Thoughts told me, "Joel, you're going to look like a fool, you're gonna have to give the funds back, it's gonna be a big mess". I was tempted to worry, live stressed out, but I prayed like I had never prayed. When I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking the opposition is too big, it's never going to happen, I'd turn it around, "Father, thank you, that you being for me is more than the world being against me".
This went on month after month, even year after year, I was in the wait room. I had the promise, but nothing was improving. I didn't like it, but something was happening, that I couldn't see: I was growing, I was developing a greater trust in God. In that wait room I learned to stand strong, even when it seemed impossible. I lift weights now at home, when I'm on the bench, I push the barbell up and down, but what's interesting is the weight never changes. The only thing in the wait room that ever changes is me. The situation you're in may not be changing, then you're in the wait room. If it's not changing, don't worry, you're changing, patients is working, you're getting stronger, more determined, it's preparing you.
Almost three years later that company that filed the lawsuit they dropped it and we got the building, it was a great victory. But think of this: God could have given me the victory the first week just as easily, he could have done it suddenly and turned it around right away, and I wouldn't have had to spend all that time in the wait-room. Would have been so much easier, the problem is, I wouldn't have been prepared for what was coming, I wouldn't have been able to handle the growth, the influence, the opposition. God had to get me stronger, he didn't use the good times, he used the resistance. You don't grow when everything is easy.
In those three years I learned to trust God in a new way, I developed a greater resolve, a greater confidence. You can't get that overnight, that doesn't happen on a weekend, it takes time. When Joseph was in prison unfairly all those years, says in songs, his feet were in chains of iron and his soul entered into that iron. He didn't like it, but those challenges were developing something in him: courage, straight, endurance, that he couldn't get any other way. It happened in the wait room. And all it meant: I don't like to wait, I like to move fast, I like to make progress, I like to get things done. My prayer used to be "God do it now, do it in a hurry, do it fast", but I've learned, some things take time.
We live in a microwave society, but we serve a crock-pot God. You can't get microwave maturity, microwave broke, microwave anointing, so much is developed in the process. Sometimes people say to me, "Joel, pray that God will give me your anointing". I know, they're being respectful, but I want to say: you can't have my anointing without going through what I've been through, without the sacrifices, without the closed doors, without the laws, without facing the giants. There's a price to pay be prepared. In that wait room, when you're doing the right thing, but nothing's changing, you have the promise, but you're not making progress, remember, something is happening: you're growing, you're developing. You may not like it, but you can't bypass the process, you can't skip the wait room and reach the fullness of your destiny.
When my father went to be with the Lord and I stepped up to pastor the church. Things begin to grow, all of the sudden I was in the spotlight, people were watching and coming. Someone referred to me as an overnight success, said that I had come out of nowhere. But the truth is: I had been in the wait room for 17 years, behind the scenes here at Lakewood. I didn't know it then, but God was getting me prepared for what I'm doing now. Had I not been my best where I was, had I not been faithful to serve my father, to trying to make him look good, carrying out his vision, then God couldn't have trusted me with my own vision. What am I saying keep a good attitude when it's not happening as fast as you would like.
David said, "God, my times are in your hands". It's very powerful when you can say, "God, I'm not only trust your ways, but I trust your timing. I know at the right time, when I'm ready, when I can handle it, you will take me to new levels of my destiny". But the mistake we make too often is we get in a hurry and try to make things happen in our own timing. This is what the young man did in the story of the prodigal son, he went to his father and said, "Give me the portion of goods that belonged to me". They were rightfully his, it was his inheritance, but a blessing given at the wrong time is not a blessing. And something may have your name on it, you know God has put it in your heart, but if it happens too soon and you're not prepared, the blessing will become a burden. A good father won't give a good gift at the wrong time.
When our daughter Alexandra turned 18, we got her a car. I loved her just as much when she was five years old, I would have done anything for her, I had the funds, but I knew, giving her a car at five wouldn't be a blessing. Sometimes God proves his love to us by what he's not letting us have. Does it mean that it's never going to happen? We just have to spend more time in the wait room: growing, developing, gaining experience, learning to trust God, learning to forgive, learning to keep a good attitude, when things aren't going our way. The sooner we pass these tests, the sooner God will release what belongs to us.
See the prodigal son got his inheritance too soon, he went out and wasted it, spent it all living wildly. I used to pray: "God, give me everything in a hurry". Now I've learned to pray: "God, don't give me anything too soon, don't take me anywhere that I can't handle, don't open a door that I don't have the grace to be there". The prodigal son wanted his prepared blessing, the problem was he was unprepared, he couldn't sustain the weight of what God had in store for him. And one reason we get in a hurry is we think we're falling behind. Our friend is getting married, our co-worker got promoted, the neighbors moved into a new house, we got to make things happen, we're being left out. Well, here's the key: what has your name on it will not go to anyone else. What belongs to you will not go to another person.
"Well, Joel, this guy may get away, if I don't do something now, if I don't compromise, he may not stick around". If you have to compromise, he's not the right one. God has somebody ordained for you, somebody better than you can imagine. You won't have to beg him to stay, talk them into calling you, convince them to spend in time, they'll be so in love with you, you can't get rid of them. They'll treat you like a queen, like a king. Stay in that wait room, be patient, you may be ready, but God still working on the other person.
David was out in the shepherd's fields, when the prophet Samuel came to his house to anoint one of the sons as the next king. David's father Jesse didn't even bring David in, he thought "There's no way it's David, he's too young". But when Samuel went to pour the oil on the other seven sons, the oil wouldn't flow. I can imagine him turning the bottle upside down, hitting it, nothing would come out. God was showing us: no matter how hard someone tries to get what's yours, they may manipulate, connive, ignore, leave you out, the oil is not going to flow to them. What has your name on it is coming your way: the person, the job, the house, the opportunity, the promotion cannot go to anyone else. That's why we don't have to live jealous or envious of other people.
"Well, Joel, my co-worker got the promotion that I worked so hard for. They played politics, it wasn't fair". If it was supposed to be yours, you would have it. Stay in the wait room, keep a good attitude, keep growing, keep passing the test. What God has for you is on the way, the reason it's taking longer, is because it's much bigger, much more rewarding than you thought.
When you see what God did, you'll say: it was worth the wait. When you see the person God brings into your life, somebody better than you dream, you'll say: it was worth the wait. The contract didn't go through for the last house, you were disappointed. When you see the new door God opens, you're going to say: it was worth the wait. When we were trying to buy property, to build a new sanctuary, twice the land was sold out from under us. I was disappointed, I thought the dream was coming true, but God sent me back to the wait room. Seemed like we were stuck, out of nowhere, the Compaq Center opened up. I didn't go after it, it came after me.
I can tell you: standing here today it was worth the wait. You couldn't pay me to take those other properties, this is what God had in mind, something more than we could imagine. When you see what God did, you'll say: it was worth the wait. When you see the person God brings into your life, somebody better than you dream, you'll say: it was worth the wait. Now maybe the door didn't open for you, the job, the position, the relationship didn't work out, that means God has something better. Stay in faith and one day you'll see: it was worth the wait.
I read where an elephant is pregnant for almost two years, the animal is so large, takes a long time for the baby elephant to develop. An elephant's give birth to only one baby per pregnancy. A dog on the other hand is pregnant for only 63 days. After two months, the mother can give birth from between five and eight puppies typically. Imagine the elephant and dog having a conversation. The dog says, "I don't think you're pregnant, I gave birth after two months. Something is wrong with you". The dog goes out and gets pregnant again and again, giving birth every several months.
Two years later the dog comes back to the elephant with thirty puppies followed in, he says, "I know, you're not pregnant now. Look at all these puppies, I've given birth multiple times". The elephant says, "Now, here's the difference: the reason you've given birth so many times and I'm still pregnant is because what I'm carrying is not something common, not something usual. I'm about to give birth to something big, something out of the ordinary".
Maybe you've been in that wait room a long time, you've seen people accomplish dreams, get married, move into their houses. That's great, be happy for them. But the reason it's taking so long for you, is because what you're carrying is not a puppy, it's not something small, you're about to give birth to something you didn't know was in you, God's about to open a door, that you didn't see coming. I thought I was carrying a puppy, I didn't know a Compaq Center was in me. Don't get discouraged because it's taken longer, that's a sign that you're carrying an elephant. What you give birth to is going to surprise people: a dream, a ministry, a business that touches the world. You're going to go further than you thought, make a greater impact than you've imagined. That's why you've been in the wait room so long.
When people tell you, "I don't know, I don't think you're pregnant, it would have happened by now. You still think you're gonna meet the right person? Still think you're gonna get the promotion? Still think you're gonna pay your house off? You've been believing a long time". Just say, "Yeah, I know a secret, I'm carrying an elephant". When you give birth, you're gonna say "Look what the Lord has done". It's going to be more than you've imagined.
A friend of mine that attends Lakewood with his family, he grew up in South America, he got involved in the management of professional basketball right out of college. He's worked for the Houston rockets as an assistant to the general manager for years. His dream is to become a general manager. Several opportunities opened up, he went and interviewed, big positions, had his hopes up, but it didn't work out.
I talked to him a couple of years after he was turned down by another team, he was so close, but they said no and chose somebody else. These doors kept closing, he didn't understand it, but he kept being his best. He was in the wait room. Others were being promoted, seemed like he was being bypassed. But what has your name on it, it's not going to go to anyone else. In the same way, you can't open a door that God has closed. And sometimes God has to shut the door, because what we're believing for is too small. God has something much bigger, he loves you too much to let you miss your destiny.
After being turned down again and again, a few months ago he flew to Minnesota to interview with the Timber-wolves professional basketball team. They didn't just offer him the position of general manager, like he was hoping, they offered him the position of president of the whole organization. One report said, they gave him the keys to the car. Now, my friend Garson Rosa's is the highest-ranking Latino in all a professional basketball.
When it's taking longer than you thought, it's because you're going to give birth to an elephant, something bigger, something more rewarding, than you've imagined. Now keep a good attitude in the wait room, when doors are closing, when you're being bypassed. Can I encourage you? Your time is coming, there's a berth in your future, there's something big, something that you weren't expecting. When you see what God was up to, you're going to look back and say like my friend Garson, "It was worth the wait".
Psalms 37 says, "Don't be impatient for the Lord to act. Travel steady along his path. He will honor you and give you the land". When you're faithful in the wait-room, when you don't get impatient, you don't get frustrated by closed doors, you don't live jealous of others. Because you're traveling steady, honoring God, he will give you the land. That means, you don't have to make things happen in your own strength, you don't have to manipulate people, try to force the doors to open. God will give you the position, give you the spouse, give you the influence, give you the Compaq Center. Don't fight the wait room, you're not falling behind, God has already lined up the land he's going to give you. He's already put your name on things bigger and better than you can imagine. Now keep traveling steady, keep trusting God, even though you don't see anything changing.
When I was 8 years old, it was Christmastime, I went with my father to buy a bicycle for my little sister April. He wanted me to help pick out what I thought she would like. We were at the store looking at all these bikes, he had me get on different wands to try them on, see if I thought they would fit her. After a half an hour we picked her out a bike, he was going to go back later and get it. In a couple of days I noticed on our back patio, a big sheet covering the bike that we had bought her. Then I went over to lift it up to take a peek, my father said, "No, Joel, I don't want you to look at it". I said, "Why not? I've already seen it"? He said, "I just don't want you to".
He didn't give me a reason. When he wasn't there, I was tempted to go over and look, but unlike my brother Paul, I obeyed my parents. If it would have been Victoria, she would have taken the bike out and ridden it, but this was a couple of weeks before Christmas, every day I asked my father if I could look at the bike. He told me "No" again and again. I couldn't understand it, what was it going to hurt?
Christmas morning finally came around and all of us kids slept in the den together, six o'clock we went and woke my parents up, we opened all the gifts under the tree. Then my father said, "April, there's another gift for you out on the patio". We all went out, my father took the sheet off, there wasn't just one bike there, there were two bikes, one for me as well. My father had taken me to the store really to find out what I liked. Sorry April, that's why you got a boy's bike. That's funny, isn't it?
Sometimes God is not letting us see something now, because it's not the right time. He's got the cover on it, but when you come out of the wait room, when it's your time, it's going to surprise you, something that you weren't expecting. It didn't make sense to me at the time, why my father wouldn't let me look. Now I understand why I had to wait: my bike was under there. You may not understand why you're having to wait, but God has a reason. There are some things he has covered for you right now, when he uncovers them, you're going to say: it was worth the wait.
Now my challenge: don't be impatient for God to act, don't be discouraged by what's not happening, God is working. In that wait room he's getting you prepared for what he has prepared. The reason it's taking longer, is you have something big in you: not a puppy, but an elephant. If you will stay in that wait room with a good attitude, if you keep traveling steady, I believe and declare: God's about to uncover something you didn't see coming, he's about to surprise you with opportunity, promotion, divine connections, the fullness of your destinies, in Jesus name.