Joel Osteen - In The Middle of a Miracle
I want to talk to you today about In The Middle of a Miracle. When we go through challenges it's easy to live worried and stressed. We wonder, when it's going to change and when is God going to do something, when in fact God is doing something, he's keeping the sickness from taking us out, he's holding back the opposition, he's not letting the addiction defeat us. We don't realize it, but we're in the middle of a miracle. God is in the process of bringing us out. Without his favor we would be overcome, without his protection we would be defeated.
One day we'll look back and say, "Look what the Lord has done, look at how God sustained me in that tough time. Look at how he healed me from that disease. Look at how he promoted me despite the opposition". Right now God is working behind the scenes, making things happen that you can't see. If it wasn't for his goodness, his favor, his mercy, you wouldn't be able to withstand what's trying to stop you. You're not in this difficulty by yourself, the Most High God is pushing back forces of darkness.
One time Joshua and his men were in a valley, fighting the Amalekites. They had attacked the Israelites, they were bigger and stronger, but against all odds Joshua was winning. The whole time Moses was on a hill, holding his staff in the air. As long as he had his staff up, Joshua was winning. I can imagine Joshua thought he was defeating the opposition in his own strength, he didn't realize, the only reason he was winning was because Moses was holding up his staff. And sometimes we think we're making it through the difficulty, because we're tough, we're determined, we're smart. That's part of it but, what you can't see is the Creator of the universe is breathing in your direction. The God who spoke worlds into existence is sustaining you, favoring you, healing you. Like Moses up on the hill, you can't see him, but God is causing you to win. That's why that car barely missed you on the freeway, that's why that addiction couldn't finish you off. That's why the virus can't stop your destiny, the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.
Paul said (2 Corinthians 2:14), "God always causes us to triumph". If you're not seeing the victory yet, don't panic, you're in the middle. That's not how your story ends, God is holding up the staff so to speak, you can't be defeated. The enemy can't stop God's plan for your life. Healing is coming, freedom is coming, breakthroughs are coming. God is about to show out in your life, he's going to do things that you can't do on your own, it's going to be uncommon, unusual. That's why you can't figure it out: it's not going to be natural, it's going to be supernatural. But in the middle it can be frightening, in the middle all you see is the opposition, how big the obstacles are, how bad the problem is. Thoughts will tell you, "It's never going to work out, you'll never get well, never break the addiction". You have to remind yourself: things are happening that you can't see. It may look permanent, you don't see anything improving, the truth is - it's only the middle, your time is coming. God wouldn't have allowed it, if it was going to keep you from your destiny.
Now, keep the right perspective, you're not just fighting cancer, you're in the middle of a miracle, God is in the process of restoring your health. That test one day will be your testimony, you'll look back and say with David, "Where would I be without the goodness of God"? You're not just struggling in your finances, you're in the middle of a miracle. The enemy thought he was setting you back, he didn't realize, he was setting you up. Your story doesn't end in defeat, God is about to do a new thing: promotion is coming, opportunities are coming, the right people.
"Well, Joel, the stock market is down, the economy is slow, I don't have the work I used to". The economy is not your source, God is your source. The stock market may be down, but God is not having a bad year, he owns it all. One touch of his favor will put you into overflow. When you keep God first place, when you honor him with your life, you are connected to a supply line that will never run dry. The scripture says (Psalm 37:19), "Even in famine you will have more than enough". When things are drying up all around you, you should be in lack, struggling, you will see supernatural provision, increase, promotion, opportunity that doesn't make sense.
Isaiah (43:19-20) said, "God makes rivers in the desert. He makes streams in the barren places". You can't have a river in the desert. If it's barren, you couldn't have water freely flowing. This is showing us God is going to do unusual things, he's going to take you up when all the circumstances say you should be going down. He's going to bring opportunity, promotion when things should be drying up. You're not only going to be amazed, but other people are going to see the favor of God is on your life.
"Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I don't know, it's tough in my life, things are slow at work, this virus has me so worried, I don't know how I'm going to make it". That's calling in more defeat. Turn it around, "Yes, things are slow, but I know a secret, I'm in the middle of a miracle, God is working behind the scenes, he's supplying all of my needs, he has a hedge of protection around my family". Get an agreement with God. You can't talk defeat and have victory, you can't think negative and live positive, can't go around afraid, panic, and reach your destiny. You are drawing in what you're thinking about. Don't use your energy to worry, use your energy to believe.
After God delivered the Israelites out of slavery they headed toward the Promised Land, but Pharaoh changed his mind and sent 600 of his fastest chariots and most skilled warriors to recapture them. These two million Israelites were at a dead end at the Red Sea, had nowhere to go. Moses held up his staff and the waters parted. But it's interesting how God brought them out, we read about it now and it's so encouraging, inspiring, these huge walls of water being held back, the people walking through on dry ground.
In the movies they're going through so calm, peaceful, rejoicing what God had done, but I don't think that's how it happened. Imagine being there with 20-feet walls of water on each side, not knowing if at any moment the walls were going to collapse. Mothers were holding on to their babies for dear life, fathers grabbing their little children's hands running as fast as they could, people carrying the elderly. Was it peaceful? It was chaotic. The wind was holding back the water, was incredibly noisy, there was confusion, turmoil, people were panicked, worried, thinking any moment those walls could come crashing down. They weren't calm and collected, they were afraid.
They finally made it through to the other side, then they started rejoicing, then they started giving God praise. When you're in the middle of a miracle, sometimes it will feel chaotic. You may not hear angels playing harps and the heavenly choir singing, the circumstances may not be calm and reassuring. It may look like all hell is breaking loose: the medical report looks worse, the virus is spreading faster, the economy has taken a nosedive. It's easy to live panicked, worried, not able to sleep at night. God is saying (Psalm 46:10), "Be still and know that I am God".
Those walls of water may look scary, you could think of a hundred things that could go wrong, but God didn't bring you this far to leave you, he's the one holding up the walls, he's pushing back the darkness, he's keeping the trouble from defeating you. It may look frightening, the circumstances seem overwhelming, stay in peace you're in the middle of a miracle.
God may not deliver you from the trouble, he may take you through the trouble. Those walls of water that looks so intimidating, that's not a sign that you're done, that's a sign that breakthroughs are up ahead. Promotion, freedom, healing is in your future. Yes, the winds are strong, the opposition bigger than anything you faced, but it's not a surprise to God. He's not going to let the water collapse. He's going to bring you safely through to the other side.
But it's interesting how God brought the Israelites out. He didn't give them a bridge across the Red Sea - that would have been so much more peaceful, they wouldn't have had to worry about the walls of water. He could have sent them a big ship, had Carnival Cruise pull up with several of their cruise liners, the Israelites could have gone across in comfort, secure, not had any fears. But God doesn't always bring us out the most comfortable way, he doesn't always make it easy to where we don't have any opposition, any reason to live worried or afraid. This is what faith is all about - trusting him between the walls of water, being at peace when others are panicked, staying calm when you don't know how it's going to work out.
The scripture says (Exodus 14:21), "God sent a strong east wind to blow the waters back". Imagine how strong that wind had to be to blow back 20 feet of water and sustain it. That means it had to keep blowing, it was loud, noisy, chaotic. In one sense God sent a storm on top of another storm. You could think, "This couldn't be God. Things are getting worse instead of better". But you don't know what God is up to. Those winds that are so noisy, the trouble, the opposition, that's not going to keep you from your destiny, it's leading you to your destiny. You're not close to your miracle only when everything is calm and peaceful, sometimes it's the opposite - when it's chaotic, when you're tempted to panic, live afraid, that means your miracle is on the way.
Right now we're dealing with this virus - we could live worried, "What if I can't go to work? What about my finances? I'm afraid I'm gonna get sick. I'm worried about my children". Come back to a place of peace. Yes, there's uncertainty, we don't know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. God is still on the throne, you can't see it, but he's holding up walls of water, he's keeping you from evil and harm, he's sustaining you in the famine. He's bringing healing and wholeness, he's protecting, providing, favoring, you're in the middle of a miracle.
Now do like Paul and Silas - they were arrested for sharing their faith and put in the deepest dungeon. They were locked behind prison doors, had chains around their feet. They could have been depressed, complaining, worried but they understood this principle: they were not just in the middle of a dungeon, they were in the middle of a miracle. They knew, the same God that sent the wind to blow back the Red Sea for the Israelites, could make a way where they didn't see a way, at midnight they started singing praises to God. When you can sing in the storm, when you can praise through the pain, when you can thank God he's working instead of complaining about the trouble, get ready, your miracle is on the way.
All of a sudden there was a great earthquake. The prison doors flung open, chains fell off their feet, they walked out as free men. God sent an earthquake, he used another storm to get them out of a storm. Don't be surprised if God does it an unusual way. Like Paul and Silas, you may feel like you're in the middle of trouble, dealing with an illness, worried about your finances, concerned about your children. What you're up against seems bigger, stronger, but you have to do like them and recognize, you're not just in the middle of difficulty, you're in the middle of a miracle.
If you will start thanking God that he's working, thanking him that he's bigger than what you're facing, thanking him that he's holding up the walls of water, then you're going to see situations suddenly turn around, suddenly you get well, suddenly your child gets back on course, suddenly that problem resolves. When you're in the middle you have to turn up your praise, "Father, thank you that no weapon formed against me will prosper. Thank you, that this difficulty didn't come to stay, it came to pass. Thank you, that even now things are changing in my favor".
I know a young man named Chris that's been attending Lakewood with his family since he was nine years old. He grew up healthy and very active, but at 17 he started having fever and fluctuation in his way. He eventually lost the strength and mobility in his legs, after two weeks in the hospital he was diagnosed with a rare form of lupus. He could have been discouraged, given up on life, but Chris is a fighter, he knew, he wasn't just in the middle of a rare sickness, he was in the middle of a miracle. He decorated the walls of his house with scripture verses, "I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. By his stripes I am healed".
Chris started volunteering here at Lakewood, I would see him faithfully serving, helping others year after year. I've never heard Chris complain, never seen him without a smile. If you ask him how he's doing, he's going to tell you that he's blessed, that he's healed, that he has the favor of God. It's one thing to believe that when everything's going your way, that's easy - the real test comes when life throws you occurred, when you're facing something that's out of your control.
Chris continued to struggle with this health. One day he looked like he'd gained 50 pounds, another day he looked skin and bones. He spent time in and out of the hospital, fighting the good fight of faith. Didn't seem like he was in the middle of a miracle, the medical report said he would never get well, but God can do what medicine cannot do. Medical science may run out of options, but God never runs out of options, he breathed life into you, he has the final say.
Chris is 40 years old now, last year after fighting over twenty years, his heart and kidneys began to fail. In October he was hospitalized and given a temporary pump to keep his heart beating. The doctor said his only chance of survival was a heart transplant. He was placed on the waiting list, but there were so many ahead of him, it seemed unlikely that he would make it. He's been in the hospital the last five months in icu, the doctors told him that all of his organs would start to shut down. Chris wouldn't hear of it, he kept declaring health, wholeness, victory and much to their surprise, he defied the odds and his other organs remained healthy.
Last week his wife unexpectedly received a call that they had been praying for so long. There was a donor for Chris, it just so happened it was a perfect match. Not only a heart like they were praying for but there were two kidneys as well. The family stood outside and took pictures of the ambulance arriving with Chris's new organs. He had the heart and kidney transplant, at the same time the surgery was successful and Chris's well on his way to the life he's always been dreaming аbout: healthy and whole. There was a prayer he prayed every day from Psalm 51:10, "God create in me a clean heart". He said, "God, not only gave me a new heart, but he gave me kidneys as well". That's the way our God is, He exceeds our expectations.
It may look like that sickness is permanent, that addiction is never going to change, you'll never see your family restored, it's too late, the problem is too big. Can I encourage you? You're in the middle of a miracle, God already has the solution, he's already lined up good brakes, the healing, the right people. Don't believe the lies that you've seen your best days. Do like Chris, live from a place of faith, a place of trust. When you look at the circumstances, you could be negative, worried, thinking it's never going to change, but if Chris were here he would tell you "God is a faithful God. Your time is coming, he's not only going to do what you asked, but he's going to exceed your expectations".
The scripture says (Genesis 18:14), "Is there anything too hard for the Lord"? He spoke worlds into existence, he flung stars into space, he has you in the palm of his hand. What he's destined for your life will come to pass. I believe right now, faith is rising in your heart, dreams are coming back to life, promises that you've given up on are about to be fulfilled. You may be in a difficult time, but have a new perspective, you're in the middle of a miracle. The enemy wouldn't be coming against you if he didn't know something amazing was in your future. This is not the time to live worried, afraid - the God who breathed life into you is watching over you, he's keeping the walls up, he's pushing back the opposition, He's ordering your steps, putting you at the right place at the right time.
Isaiah 3:10 said, "Say to the righteous, it shall be well with you". You are the righteous, you wouldn't be listening if you didn't have a heart after God. There's a lot of fear and panic in the world, but this virus is not going to stop your destiny, it shall be well with you. The medical report may not look good, you've been dealing with that sickness for years - it's not permanent it shall be well with you, healing is on the way. You lost a loved one, you don't think you can go on - it's not the end, God has a new beginning, let this phrase seep down in your spirit, it shall be well with you.
You had a setback in your finances, business is slow, you don't know how you're going to make it - God has it all figured out, he's your provider, he clothed the lilies of the field, he feeds the birds of the air, he knows how to take care of you. New doors are going to open, opportunities are going to come looking for you, it shall be well with you.
Now the circumstances may look the opposite, things are coming against you in your health, your finances, a relationship - it may not be well now, but you have this promise, "It shall be well". The opposition, the trouble, the lack - is not the end. Why? You're in the middle of a miracle. Victory is coming, healing is coming, freedom is coming new levels are coming.
Second Kings chapter 7, the Syrian army had surrounded the city of Samaria and cut off their food supply. The Israelites were starving and faced certain death. There were four lepers sitting outside the city gates. They said, "We're gonna die here anyway, let's go down to the enemy's camp and see what they're doing". They started walking toward the Syrians, God caused the sound of their footsteps to be multiplied. The scripture says (2 Kings 6), "The Syrian army heard the clatter of thousands of speeding chariots and the sound of a vast army approaching". They were so afraid, they panicked and took off running into the desert, fleeing for their lives. They left in such a hurry, they didn't take any of their possessions any of their food, supplies, their gold, their silver - they left everything behind.
When the lepers arrived they couldn't believe it. They didn't know what happened. They went back and told the Israelites, they came and gathered up all their food and belongings, it was a great victory. But what's interesting is when the lepers were walking to the enemy's camp, they didn't hear anything different, even though God multiplied the sound of their footsteps, they couldn't hear it. Everything seemed normal to them, they were just doing what they knew to do. What they couldn't see was God was working behind the scenes, doing things they never dreamed. In the natural they didn't have a chance, but we serve a supernatural God. They thought it was the end, there was no way they could live, all the odds were against them - they didn't realize, they were in the middle of a miracle. God was making things happen that they knew nothing about.
When you're doing the right thing, making decisions that honor God, you may not see anything improving, you still have that problem at work, your health hasn't gotten better, your finances look just the same. What you can't see is God is behind the scenes orchestrating things in your favor, lining up the brakes you need, moving the wrong people out of the way. Seems like where you are is permanent, but God is causing people to hear what they need to hear, he's multiplying what you know nothing about. You're going to see things fall into place, that don't make sense. Like these lepers, you'll be scratching your head thinking, "How did that happened"? You thought you were stuck in your career, gone as far as you can, but out of nowhere promotion came to you, a door opened that you could never open. You thought you would never get well, but it wasn't the end, like Chris you were in the middle of a miracle, against all odds your health begin to turn around.
Now what if these lepers would have thought, "We don't have a chance. No use walking down there, that's wasting our time". They would have missed their miracle. Every circumstance said they were done, they were outnumbered, they had a dreaded disease, but when they dared to take that step of faith, things supernaturally turned around. You may have opposition and things coming against you, you don't see how your situation could resolve, but if you'll just keep moving forward in faith, knowing that God is in the process of bringing you out, that he's making things happen that you can't see, not believe in those lies that where you are is permanent, then you're going to come in these times where God shows out in your life, where he makes things happen that you couldn't make happen.
Don't let the fact that it's stressful and you're tempted to be panicked and worried convince you, that it's not going to work out. Most of the time when you're in the middle of a miracle it's not peaceful - there are walls of water on each side that could collapse, there's a Pharaoh chasing you, there's wind and noise. Don't panic, God has you right where he wants you, he's in control, he's keeping the opposition from defeating you. It's just a matter of time before you make it to the other side. I'm asking you to live from a place of peace, a place of trust. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: the forces that are trying to stop you are being broken, things are changing in your favor, healing is coming, freedom, promotion, breakthroughs, all will be well with you in Jesus name.