Joel Osteen - Trouble Is Temporary
I want to talk to you today about Trouble Is Temporary. We all face difficulties that don't look like they'll ever change, seems like the more we pray the worse it gets. We don't see any sign of things improving. It's easy to live discouraged and accept that it's not meant to be. But Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "Our present troubles are small and won't last very long. These troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever". What you're up against may look permanent, seems like it's going to take years to get well, years to get out of debt, years to meet the right person - don't be fooled by what you see. God is saying "The trouble is only temporary". It's not going to last very long.
Soon it's going to be over. Soon you're going to see the breakthrough. Soon your health is going to turn around. Soon you're going to meet the person of your dreams. Soon you're going to break that addiction. You may not see how this can happen, everything in your reasoning says "It's not possible". You're looking at it in the natural - we serve a supernatural God. He can make things happen that you can't make happen. Instead of thinking of all the reasons why it's not going to work out, how it's going to take forever, try a different approach "Father, thank you that this difficulty will soon be over. Thank you that this sickness, the depression, the family problem will not last very long".
"Well, Joel, it's already been a long time" - that means you are very close to seeing it turn around. You're on the verge of a breakthrough, you're about to see freedom, promotion, problems suddenly resolve, dreams suddenly come to pass. Not in the suite by and by, but soon things are going to change. Soon that child is going to get back on course. Soon that door is going to open. Soon the right person is going to show up. Soon you're going to come into overflow.
Now you have to get an agreement with God, and have a soon mentality. As long as you think "It's going to take years", that's going to stop God from working. When you have this soon mentality, you get up each morning with expectancy, knowing that this could be the day that God shows out in your life. When is your health going to turn around? "I don't know, Joel, the medical report doesn't look good" - that's one report, I'm giving you another report - "Soon things are going to change in your favor". When are you coming out of debt? "Looks like it's going to take me 112 years to pay everything off" - you're going to be in heaven by then, how about "Soon I'm coming out of debt. Soon I'm going to lend and not borrow". How can that happen? God owns it all! One touch of his favor and you'll have more than enough. One good break, one idea, one contract and everything will change.
When are you going to overcome that addiction? Soon! When are you going to meet the right person? Soon! When is that legal situation going to resolve? Soon! When are you going to sell your property? Soon! When are you going to start your business? Soon! Your mind will tell you all the reasons why it's not going to happen, "Your problem's too big. The people against you are too powerful. It's been this way too long", don't believe those lies, receive this into your spirit "The problem will soon be over. The loneliness will soon be gone. The anxiety, the grief, the barrenness, not able to have a child is coming to an end soon. These present troubles will not last very long".
Job went through a great difficulty. He was doing the right thing, honoring God, and the bottom fell out. He lost his business, lost his children, lost his health. He had boils all over his body, very painful. Just because we're people of faith doesn't mean we won't have difficulties. You can be doing the right thing, and come into trouble. The scripture says "Rain falls on the just and the unjust". When it rains at my house, my property gets wet, my next door neighbors, the people across the street, everyone in the neighborhood. The rain doesn't discriminate. Don't get discouraged by difficulties, it's just life. The promise we have is not that trouble won't come, but that the trouble is not going to last. Soon the trouble will be over.
When you're in difficulties, and things happen like with Job, you don't understand, you come down with an illness, or people that at work turned on you, you had a setback in your business, it's easy to live worried thinking "It's never going to work out". You have to remind yourself this promise that it is not permanent, it is not going to last very long, soon it will resolve. All through the day you need to keep this in your heart, "Father, thank you that this trouble is only temporary. It didn't come to stay, it came to pass. Thank you that it will soon be over".
When Job looked at all his circumstances, everything that went wrong, all that he'd lost, he got depressed. He sat down in the ashes and wanted to die. One reason he was so discouraged is he saw the trouble as permanent, he didn't see any way he could get out. As long as he had this "Forever mentality", this is how my life is always going to be, he felt overwhelmed. When you have a setback thoughts will tell you "It's permanent. You'll never get well. You'll never be happy again. You'll never meet someone" - if you believe those forever lies you'll get discouraged, and lose your passion.
God won't let you get in a situation that he can't bring you out of. If the trouble was too much, the sickness too great, the opposition too strong, he wouldn't have allowed it. It's a test: what are you going to do? Get discouraged? Give up on dreams? Live defeated? Or are you going to believe that God is on the throne, that he's bigger than what you're facing, that the trouble is only temporary, that it is not going to last long?
What you believe in times of trouble will determine whether you stay in that trouble, or whether you come out of it. At one point Job changed his attitude. Instead of sitting around defeated, he got up out of the ashes, looked up to the heavens and said "I know my redeemer lives". He was saying "I know God is still in control. I know this difficulty can't stop my destiny. What he purposed for my life will come to pass". He shifted to an attitude of faith.
God let us see both sides of Job: him discouraged despondent, then him switching over into faith, to let us know - it's okay to feel things, it's okay to have times where you feel discouraged, you don't see how it can work out, it's okay to start there, but don't finish there. Don't stay in the ashes. Don't stay defeated. At some point you have to do like Job and say "I know my redeemer lives. I know God didn't bring me this far to leave me. I know this problem is not permanent. Lord, thank you that it will soon be over".
Do you know what that does to the enemy? When he hits you with his best shot, but you don't start complaining, you don't stay in the ashes, but you start declaring "Soon it's going to turn around. Soon I'm gonna get well. Soon I'm gonna meet someone new. Soon my business is going to take off. Soon I'm going to laugh again, love again, lead again, run again". When you live with this soon mentality, all the forces of darkness cannot keep you down.
Job's situation looked permanent, looked like he had seen his best days. But God not only turned it around, Job came out with twice what he had before. The scripture says he had twice the cattle, twice the sheep. He got his business back, God gave him twice as many children. God never brings you out the same, he makes the enemy pay for bringing the trouble. When we hear about the suffering of Job and all that he went through, seems like that was his whole life. The entire Book of Job is about his struggle. You would think it went on for 40 years, trouble, heartache, pain. But some commentaries believe the whole struggle was only nine months. All the sickness, all the trouble didn't last years, it was months.
What you think is going to take years, what looks like it's going to be a long time to resolve, like with Job: it's going to happen sooner than you think. That trouble looks permanent, but God is saying "It's not going to last very long". You're about to see his hand bring healing, restoration, breakthroughs, divine connections, promotion. It's not by your might, not by your power, but by the spirit of the living God.
In 2003 the Houston city council voted for us to have the Compaq Center. It was a city-owned building, we had worked for two years presenting our case, trying to convince council members. When we won the vote, we were so excited, it was God opening a door that we never dreamed would open. The next day a company that owns all the high-rises around this building filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. They were the largest taxpayer in Texas, a huge real estate company with property all over the state. It was like David versus Goliath. Our attorneys told us that it could be tied up in the courts for ten years, how these kinds of legal proceedings can be extremely slow. That meant we couldn't move in, we couldn't start renovations. Our future concerning this building was on hold.
The problem was I had already presented the Compaq Center to the church, people had already given to support it, everyone was excited, asking when we were going to move in. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Thoughts telling me: you're going to look like a fool, what are you going to do if you don't win the lawsuit? I was tempted to live worried, stressed out, but I did what I'm asking you to do: despite what the experts were saying, despite how permanent it looked, I said "Father, I want to thank you that this trouble is only temporary, that it won't last very long. Lord, I know you're working behind the scenes, fighting our battles, making crooked places straight, shining your favor down on us".
I would check with the attorneys every week, looking for some kind of sign: is there anything new? Nothing. We haven't heard from them. They didn't want to negotiate, they were going to sit back and wait, drag it out for years until we had to do something else. I could hear that promise, that still small voice saying "Joel, trust me. This trouble is only temporary. Soon it will be over", but my mind would say "Are you kidding? Nothing is improving. You're years away from even finding out if it's going to be yours". The battle is taking place in our mind. Don't accept the lies that it's permanent, it's going to take a long long time, you have to turn it around "Father, thank you that this will resolve sooner than it looks".
About eight months after the lawsuit was filed, we received a call unexpectedly from the other side saying they wanted to meet. I was excited, I believed it was the hand of God. Our attorneys were much more skeptical. They thought it was a ploy, that they were just trying to complicate things. We met with them. They not only agreed to let us have the building, but to lease us nine thousand covered parking spaces. They dropped the lawsuit, the facility was ours free and clear. What looked like it would take years happened in a few months. God is saying to you: what you're up against is going to resolve much sooner than it looks. That trouble is not going to last long. That addiction is not going to hinder you your whole life. The sickness, the depression, the anxiety is not going to stop your destiny. It's going to soon be over. Not years, but months.
Now why don't you get in agreement with God? You may not see how, the giant looks too big, the sickness too great, the opposition too strong - you're not in this by yourself, the Most High God is fighting for you. He knows how to move people out of the way. He can do what medicine can't do. He can restore what's been stolen. Sooner than later you're going to see the hand of God making things happen that you couldn't make happen, opening doors that no person can shut, turning situations around that looked impossible.
But it's easy to live with this "Forever" mindset - "It's never going to work out, or maybe one day years down the road, maybe one day, Joel, I'll get a good break". Switch over to a "Soon" mentality - "I know some things take time, but God promises us in this verse that the trouble will soon be over. He's about to do something out of a normal time frame, something unusual, sooner than you think". "What if I believe this and it doesn't happen"? What if you believe it and it does happen? It probably won't happen, if you've already accepted it's going to be a long time to get out of this trouble, a long time to get well, to meet the right person, to accomplish your dream - that's limiting what God will do. I'm asking you to believe for sooner than later. Even if it doesn't happen as soon as you like, yes we all have to wait, but I've made up my mind "I'm gonna live with the soon mentality. I'm gonna keep releasing my faith, reminding God what he promised, that this difficulty will soon be over".
There are 42 chapters in the Book of Job, all 42 talk about what he went through. Seems like this struggle was his whole life, but the last two verses of the Book of Job are very significant. After describing the trouble, the heartache, the loss for 42 chapters, the last thing written says (Job 42:16-17) "After this Job lived 140 years and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. Then he died, an old man, having lived a long, good life". Job's struggle was approximately nine months, but after that struggle he lived 140 good years, happy years, healthy years, years where he enjoyed his children, years where there was great joy and laughter in his house.
God was showing us: the trouble is temporary, the trouble is not going to last forever. You may be in a difficult time, but that is not how your story ends. That loss is not going to define you, that sickness is not going to ruin the rest of your life. That person that walked away, the bad break, the unfair situation is not going to stop your destiny. God has an "After this" for you: after the trouble there's going to be great joy in your life, after the loss, after the sickness, after the legal battle you're going to see new friendships, new opportunities, new growth. Don't be discouraged by the trouble, it's not stopping anything God has for you. God is storing up all the joy, all the good breaks, the favor, the resources that have been put on hold because of the temporary trouble.
You're not losing anything: what belongs to you is still on your coming. Your latter days will be better than your former days. Your story doesn't end in defeat, doesn't end in failure, injustice, sorrow, those are temporary seasons. Your story ends in victory. God is already lined up and "After-this" for you. He said what was meant for your harm he's turning to your advantage. Even now God is turning some things, he's turning the trouble, turning the sickness, turning the people that are against you. You're about to step in to an advantage, step into favor that God has already lined up for you.
When we walked in to that meeting, the ceo of that company had already changed his mind. God had already turned his heart. He was against us, but no person can stand against our God, no bad break, no sickness, no trouble, God controls the universe. He said "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning". You may be in a night season, can I encourage you? It's temporary! Joy is on the way! God is going to turn your mourning into dancing, your sorrow into joy. What's holding you back is not going to last much longer, soon it will be over.
One time I was flying to India with my father. It was a 15-hour flight, everything was going along fine, cruising very smooth, but about 12 hours in the plane hit this turbulence, and started bouncing around like a roller coaster, up and down. Everything started flying: there were laptops on the ceiling, some of the flight attendants had gone up in the air, came back down and landed on other passengers. People were screaming, panicking. For about 10 minutes it was total chaos, you had to hang on for dear life. Eventually it all calmed down, thankfully no one was injured, it went back to smooth sailing. The last several hours were as peaceful as can be.
But this is how life is: when we're going long fine, everything is healthy, we're getting good breaks, then we hit some turbulence: an unexpected challenge, a sickness a layoff, a friend betrays, you you didn't see it coming. It's easy to panic, fall apart, "God what's happening"? Can I encourage you? It's just a part of your 10 minutes of turbulence, it's not going to last. It may be chaotic, it feels stressful, but it's going to calm down, there's going to be an after-this for you. After the turbulence you're going to come out just fine.
I've discovered we're all going to have about 10 minutes of turbulence. Not at once, but a minute here, a minute there. Our mind tells us "It's permanent. I'll never get through this difficulty. It's bumpier than I've ever felt". God is still in control. He's not only flying your plane, but he controls the weather. He speaks to storms and they calm down.
A friend of mine recently lost his job, and he'd been there for many years, and it wasn't about his performance, the company just didn't have the funds. He was tempted to panic, live upset. I told him what I'm telling you: this is not how your story ends. The trouble is going to pass, and the rest of your flight is going to be smooth. God has it already figured out. There's already a position lined up for you, it has your name on it. If you'll stay in faith and keep being your best you're going to come in to your after-this. You'll say: "After the layoff I got a better position. After they walked away I met someone better. After the sickness I came out stronger".
What's interesting is that 10 minutes of turbulence seemed like 10 hours to me. I was sweating, holding on for dear life, praying the sinner's prayer 42 times, "God forgive me, I'm about to come to be with you". I was afraid and stressed. If I had known it was temporary I would have enjoyed the ride - I pay a lot of money to go to Disneyland to ride a ride like that. If I'd known it wasn't going to last very long, if I'd known everything was going to be all right, I would have stayed in peace, said "Lord, thank you I know this too shall pass. I know this temporary problem is not going to stop your plan for my life". I could have relaxed and saved myself a lot of heartache, if I'd only remembered: the trouble was temporary.
Maybe you're in a part of your 10 minutes of turbulence now, feels like it's going to be 10 years. You're worried, losing sleep, trying to figure it all out: come back to a place of peace, it's not permanent, things are going to work out, God is going to get you to your destiny. You may not see how, the winds are strong, the plane is bouncing around, God controls the winds. That cancer is not bigger than our God. That breakup didn't stop your purpose. That trouble at work is not going to last - God is behind the scenes right now, working in your life. Your time is coming, it's going to happen sooner than you think.
In the book of Genesis God told Noah there was going to be a great flood, and he was to build an ark, a huge boat and take in two of every kind of animal on it. While he was building the boat, I'm sure people made fun of him, thought "What's this crazy man doing? There's no water around here". At that time it had never rained. The dew came up from the ground and watered the earth. You can imagine how odd this seemed, but the scripture says (Genesis 7:7), "Noah did exactly what God asked him to do", he was obedient.
The rain came for 40 days and flooded everything. Noah and his family were on the boat. Months and months went by, Noah didn't know if he's going to be on this boat the rest of his life. He sent a bird out to see if the waters were receding, but the bird came back, it couldn't land. This happened again and again. It looked like this was permanent, but chapter 8 says "God remembered Noah. He sent a wind to blow across the waters and the floods begin to disappear". God remembers your faithfulness, he remembers your obedience, the times like Noah: you did the right thing when it was hard, you kept giving, serving, being good to people, not seeing anything change, nothing was getting better - don't worry, your time is coming.
God sent a wind and the waters begin to disappear. A year later Noah and his family were able to get off the boat. I believe like with him, God is about to breathe on your life, and problems that look permanent are going to disappear. That sickness you've been dealing with, that child you're so concerned about, the trouble at work that's hindering you: by faith I can see the wind of God's spirit causing it to disappear, addictions disappearing, depression disappearing, lack, not having enough disappearing. This is a new day. God is breathing his favor, his blessings, his healing on your life right now.
The next verse (Genesis 8:2) says "The underground water sources ceased their gushing, the torrential rains stop flowing". There are things that you can't see, they're underground so to speak, they're about to cease in your life, God is going to cut off the source of what's limiting you, the source of what's holding you back: the sickness is about to cease, the addiction is about to cease, that trouble is about to cease. When those waters ceased, it took a few months before Noah could come off of the boat. You may not see anything happening yet, that doesn't mean things haven't changed, it's just a matter of time before you see what God was up to.
Now, keep the right perspective: the trouble is temporary, it's not going to last as long as it looks. Live with this soon-mentality. Not "Its way off in the future", but "Soon things are going to change in my favor". If you'll do this, I believe and declare: healing is coming, freedom is coming, breakthroughs are coming. Soon you're going to get well, soon you're going to meet the right person, soon that problem will turn around, soon you're going to see God show out in your life, in Jesus name.