Joel Osteen - Beautiful In It's Time
I want to talk to you today about Beautiful In Its Time. Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. He wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes "There is a time for joy, and a time for sadness. A time to harvest, and a time to plant. A time to be born, and the time to die". He was saying, "Life is going to happen to us all. There are going to be different seasons, ups and downs, victories and losses, good friends and betrayals, promotions and setbacks". If he just stopped there, we'd think "Tell me something new, we already know that. That's kind of depressing", but after listing all the things that can happen, the disappointments, the loss, the bad breaks, he said in verse 10, "I thought about this and come to the conclusion, God makes all things beautiful in its time".
He was saying, "You're going to go through things that are not fair, people that do you wrong, set back in your health, a child that's off course. It's easy to live discouraged, think that it's never going to work out, but if you'll just stay in faith and keep moving forward, in time God will make all things beautiful. May not be beautiful right now, there's nothing beautiful about going through a loss or dealing with an illness, family member that won't speak to you - just give it some time. You don't have to live worried, you can't sleep at night, God is working behind the scenes. He's going to resolve things that look like they could never resolve. What you thought was going to limit the rest of your life, the bad break, the disappointment, the mistake you made, that is not how your story ends - beauty is coming, restoration is coming, healing is coming, favor is coming. It's going to turn out better than you've imagined".
God will make all things beautiful, not just the good breaks, the promotions, the divine connections - that's obvious. But he'll make the disappointments, the loss, the mistakes, that's how awesome our God is. Don't give up on your dreams, don't live sour because of what didn't work out, bitter over the person that walked away, upset over the contract that should have been yours - let it go. God saw what happened, he has beauty for the ashes, he has joy for the morning. He said he will pay you back double for the wrongs, he just needs some time. Now while you're waiting stay in faith, that's when it's easy to get discouraged. "Why is this happening? When is it going to turn around? This is not fair". Pass the test, keep doing the right thing, keep going to work with a good attitude, keep praising when you could be complaining, keep speaking victory in the face of defeat.
God is still on the throne. He has you in the palm of his hand. At the right time you're going to see him show out in your life in such a way that you don't think about what you've lost. You're so blessed, you don't think about who did you wrong. You're so fulfilled you don't dwell on the negative things of your past. Maybe you didn't have a good childhood, you grew up in dysfunction, you could accept that you're at a disadvantage, you can't do anything great - that didn't stop your destiny. You keep honoring God, and he's going to make up for what you didn't get, he's going to open doors you couldn't open, have the right people come to you to push you into your purpose. It was unfair, but God saw it, he knows who left you out, he saw the times you didn't think you could go on. He's promised he's going to make it beautiful. He's going to do something awesome in your life.
Perhaps you went through a breakup, a divorce, you're hurting, you're lonely - God is not finished, he's not going to leave you depressed, heartbroken, he has someone amazing coming where you're going to be happier, more fulfilled than you've ever been. Don't judge the rest of your life by one difficult season. You may be in a time of struggle, a time of loss, a time where things aren't fair. Thoughts will tell you, "It's never going to change. This is your lot in life, just accept it". Don't believe those lies. God promised he will make all things beautiful. Now here's the key: just give him some time.
The scripture (Psalm 106:13) says, "The Israelites did not wait for God's plan to unfold". They missed the Promised Land because they got impatient, complained, thought God had forgotten about them. The mistake we make often is we get in a hurry, we don't think it's going to happen, voices whisper "If it was going to happen, surely it would have happened by now". Now, trust the process, all things in its time will be made beautiful. Give God time to work it out. If it hasn't happened yet, that means it hasn't been the right time. When God is ready all the forces of darkness cannot stop him. When it's your time to see beauty, promotion, vindication it will happen. People don't stop your destiny. Bad breaks didn't cancel what God has ordained for you. Disappointments, even mistakes you've made, God has taken that all into account. Quit beating yourself up, thinking you've reached your limits, living in regrets.
How we wait is important. If we wait discouraged, upset, "God why did these people hurt me?" bitter over who hurt us, sour, that's going to delay the beauty. The right way to wait is in an attitude of faith, knowing that God is on the throne, knowing that he's working all things for your good, expecting his favor, declaring his promises. "This difficulty didn't come to stay, it came to pass. God being for me is more than the world being against me". While you're waiting be good to others, be a blessing to your friends, encourage your co-workers. You're waiting for your child to get back on course, go help another young person get back on course. You're waiting for that promotion, help someone else rise higher. You're waiting for your healing, pray for someone else that needs healing. See, when we've been through loss and hurts, disappointments, it's easy to sit around nursing our wounds, thinking about what we've been through, how unfair it was. Do yourself a favor, get your mind off yourself and go out and be a blessing. As you help others, God is going to help you.
The scripture (Psalm 119:91) says "Everything serves his plan". Not just the good things, the promotions, but the disappointments are serving his plan, the closed doors, the people that did you wrong. Without that happening you couldn't reach your destiny. You have to trust the process. God's ways are not our ways. We see the bad breaks as negative, the person that left us out, they set us back, but the truth is: it was all necessary to become who we were created to be.
A friend of mine started a new business, and he and his wife worked tirelessly year after year, pouring their heart and soul into it. I would call him some evenings, and he would be out meeting with clients several nights a week, he'd get to the office very early doing everything he could to make it grow. They saw some success, it was profitable, but then they hit a limit, couldn't seem to get past it. At one point the place he leased space from closed the parking lot to build a big parking garage, now his customers had to park off-site and take a shuttle. Seemed like the harder he worked, the worse it got. Some competitors moved in close by and his business started to go down. His dream was to give the company to his children, leave a legacy of success, but after 30 years unfortunately they had to close the doors.
He was so disappointed, he told me that he felt like a failure, he was embarrassed, ashamed, hurt. He said, "God, how could you let this happen to me? I gave it my best, I have nothing to show for all these years of hard work". For several years he was not himself. He used to be so positive and full of faith, but when I called he didn't have any passion, he had lost his fire. We all go through things that don't make sense, but God wouldn't have allowed it if it wasn't going to serve his plan. This is when you have to dig down deep and say, "God, I don't understand this, but I trust you. I believe you're still ordering my steps, that you still have good things in store for me". One day a door unexpectedly opened for my friend, a position where he could use his gifts in a much greater way. He was so excited, he said "I feel like the 30 years I put into my former business was not lost, but it was to prepare me for what I'm doing now". He calls his new job "The position of a lifetime". The amount of people he used to impact in a year, he now does in one day.
God knows how to make all things beautiful, if you'll just give him some time. Some of the things that you're disappointed about, you don't understand it, it wasn't fair - just keep moving forward. God is not going to waste anything you went through. It feels like a setback, really it's a set up, you're about to come out to new levels, you're going to go places you've never gone, see favor that you've never seen. Quit believing those lies that you've had too many bad breaks, "God must have forgotten about you. You have a good reason to live sour, discouraged, look at what you've been through", that was all setting you up for something that you've never imagined. I believe even now you're about to step into some of this beauty, things that were meant to harm you, struggles that have tried to discourage you, people that did you wrong, bad breaks that should have limited your life, this is a new day, God is doing a new thing, you're about to see vindication, restoration, new opportunities, divine connections. The tide is turning in your favor. What was meant for your harm God is turning to your advantage.
There's a couple that have a son, and they were raised here at Lakewood. They're very faithful, but when the son went off to college, he started running with the wrong crowd, partying, making poor choices. One thing led to another, he ended up with the drug addictions. His parents tried to help him, but he wouldn't have anything to do with. Him he got to where he wouldn't speak to them or have any kind of contact, was breaking their heart. They would come down for prayer week after week, and they couldn't understand it. They had done the right thing, but now the wrong thing was happening. They could have been bitter, complaining, "God, where were you", but they just kept doing the right thing, being faithful, serving, giving, helping others.
The scripture says God is the potter, and we are the clay. There's nothing really beautiful about the clay, it's just a lump of hard dirt, some rocks in it, no form, but the potter puts the clay on the wheel and he begins to spin it around and around. While it's spinning, the clay is still wobbly, still has lumps, still doesn't look like much, but the potter never takes his hands off the clay, he keeps making it, molding it, until it begins to take shape. If someone came up to the potter saw the clay going around and around, they would think you're wasting your time, that's just a bunch of clay, that's never going to amount to much. The potter would say "Just give me some time. You see clay, but I see something beautiful. You see a bunch of dirt, but I see a valuable vase".
This young man was off course, making poor decisions, but God is the potter, he never takes his hands off the clay. Even though it's wobbly, even though it has lumps, even though it falls down and he has to reshape it he keeps working. All those times you thought God had forgotten about you, the truth is he still had his hands on you. When you weren't making good decisions, when you were running with the wrong crowd, giving into the temptation, the potter didn't throw you out because you clay, because you found some lumps, you have faults and weaknesses, his hands have always been on you. The good news is he's never going to take his hands off of you. The scripture says "His calling on your life is irrevocable". He's going to keep making you and molding you. In the same way the potter's hands are on your children. They may get off course, but the potter doesn't give up on the clay, he just spins it around a little bit more.
These parents understood what Solomon said that there's a time for weeping, time for loss, time for disappointment, but that's not the end of the story. God said he will make all things beautiful in its time. There's a time for restoration, a time for healing, a time for deliverance, a time for celebration. Their attitude was, "God, we don't understand it, but we trust you. We know you're in control, that you won't take your hands off our son, that you'll keep making him and molding him". After 13 years of barely speaking to them, one day he called said he wanted to come back home, wanted to make things right. Got back in church and went to treatment, he's been free for six years now, today he's helping other young people get free.
If you will stay in faith and give God the time, he'll make all things beautiful. Like this couple you may have relationships that are strained, family members that won't have anything to do with you, you think it's always going to be that way, you're about to write them off - no, keep loving them, keep being good to them, keep praying, keep forgiving, stay on the high road. God sees what's happening, he knows how to restore, he knows how to change people's hearts. His hands are still on them, they may just need to go around the wheel a few more times. The timing is not up to us, it's up to God. Will you wait for his plan to unfold? Will you not get discouraged "When is it going to happen? Why isn't this improving?" it just needs some time. When you understand this principle it takes the pressure off, you won't live worried, frustrated, wondering when it's going to work out. You'll say "God, everything may not be perfect in my life, I'm waiting for things to change, but I'm going to enjoy today knowing that you're on the throne, that you're going to make all things beautiful in my life".
Exodus 15, Moses was leading the Israelites toward the Promised Land. They were in the desert, so hot and thirsty, they didn't think they were going to make it, they desperately needed water. They finally came to this river. They were so excited, they rushed over to it, but the water was bitter, they couldn't drink it. Their excitement turned to great disappointment. God told Moses to put a certain kind of tree in the water. When he did, the bitter waters became sweet. Now the people could go drink all the water they wanted. God knows how to take a bitter situation and make it sweet, a bitter loss, a bitter break up, a bitter childhood. It looks like that's your destiny, just learn to live with it. In the natural that's true, but God is supernatural. That water should be bitter, but when God touches it, the bitterness will be turned to sweet, the relationship will be restored, the child will come back home, the dream will come to pass.
The scripture says (Exodus 15:27), after the Israelites left marah where the bitter waters were they came to elam where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees. They came out of bitterness into an oasis, it was like a resort. I can imagine them thinking, "How did this place ever make it out in the desert"? The principle is: God is going to bring you out of the bitter places of life not just to where you were, but to an oasis, to an abundance, joy, health, fulfillment like you've never seen. It's going to be a time of refreshing, re-energizing, enjoyment that you've never experienced. When God makes all things beautiful, it's going to exceed your expectations, relationships healthier than they've ever been, your child doing awesome things, going further in your career, stepping into new levels of your destiny. From bitter waters to sweet waters, from the desert to the oasis - that's how God restores, that's his idea of beauty.
In the scripture the apostle Paul chose Barnabas and his cousin John Mark to travel with him. Paul could have chosen anyone, he was very influential and very respected. They went to different cities ministering and were having great success, but when Paul decided to sail to the city of perga, the scripture says John Mark deserted him. Doesn't give any reason, he just went back home to Jerusalem. Paul was upset, he thought "At least you could tell me that you're going to leave. After all I chose you, took you under my wing, I shared my influence with you, now you're just going to walk away"? Later Paul was about to return to a city and check on how things were going, Barnabas said "Let's take John Mark with us". Paul wasn't so forgiving. He said in effect, "No way. He's not coming back on my team. After he deserted me I'm done with him". It was such a sharp disagreement that Paul and Barnabas split up. They were so at odds that they no longer traveled together. Paul chose silas, Barnabas chose John Mark, they went their separate ways.
You don't hear much more about Barnabas and John Mark, but Paul and Silas they did great things, saw one miracle after another. At midnight when they were in prison they sang praises and the prison doors open. When they were shipwrecked on the Island of Malta, poisonous snake bit Paul, he shook it off, didn't harm him. He prayed and all the sick people on the island were healed. There are chapters and chapters of how God used them. Paul went on to write almost half of the books in the New Testament. I can imagine John Mark thinking, "Man, I blew it. Why didn't I stick with Paul? Why did I desert him? At least I should have thanked him for choosing me, told him that I wanted to go back home not just disappeared it". Seemed like his own mistakes, his own poor choices soured his relationship and limited his destiny.
We can all look back like John Mark think, "Man, if I'd only stayed in that relationship, but only been more committed in my marriage. If I'd only spent more time with my children. If I'd only finished college, where could I be now"? But God has a way of making all things beautiful. Even when we've made mistakes, even our own shortcomings, things we know we should have done better. John Mark was down on himself. When he heard how Paul was doing great things and how he was impacting cities it was like pouring salt on the wound, he thought "That could have been me". Fast forward many years, Paul is now an old man, he's in prison about to pass. He's writing to Timothy and says "I finished my course, I've run my race". He went on to say, "Timothy, when you come, bring the coat I left at Troas, bring my books and my papers, and one more thing, bring John Mark with you, for he is very profitable to me". Of all the things he could have asked for at the end of his life he asked for John Mark.
I can imagine word getting to him, "You're not going to believe this, Paul wants you, he asked me to bring you to him". John Mark says "Don't kid me like that. You know, I blew it with Paul". "I'm not kidding, Timothy sent the message, Paul wants you to come, he says that you are very valuable to him". I can see these tears welling up in John Mark's eyes. Paul wasn't so forgiving early on, he didn't want to have anything to do with John Mark, but God knows how to soften people's hearts, he knows how to give you another chance. In its time he will make all things beautiful. You may have relationship that you think are too far gone, too much water under the bridge, you messed up, they're not going to have anything to do with you. No, another chance is coming. You wouldn't be hearing this if God wasn't about to do something unusual, something out of the ordinary.
John Mark thought he had missed his chance, that his bad choices had stopped his destiny, but here's how good God is: he not only saw his relationship with Paul restored, but most scholars believe that he wrote the Gospel of Mark. Who would have ever thought that after deserting Paul, after causing a disagreement that caused Barnabas to break away, that one day many years later we'd be reading the book that he wrote? What am I saying: God knows how to make all things beautiful, just give it some time. "Well, Joel, this is encouraging, but I think it's too late for me. You don't know what I've done, the relationships I've soured, the regrets that I have". Your mistakes are not too much for the mercy of God. Your shortcomings, your lack of commitment, your failures did not stop your destiny. God is softening hearts right now, he's preparing the way for restoration.
Timothy sent word, "Go find John Mark, tell him that he's profitable, he's valuable that he needs him". God is calling your name today, "Go find linda, go find Phillip, go find Rolando, tell them that they're valuable, that I have another chance, that I'm going to restore what was stolen". It's not too late, you haven't made too many mistakes. Like John Mark your latter days are going to be better than your former days. Mistakes you've made in the past are not going to keep you from the great things God has in store.
Now maybe you're not John Mark in this story, you're Paul. God is saying to you "Give them another chance, show mercy. It's time to forgive, it's time to release the hurt, it's time to bury the hatchet, this is a new day". As you forgive God is going to make things beautiful in your life. You're not just doing them a favor, you're doing yourself a favor. Make that call, tell your child, your parent, your friend that you need them, that they're valuable to you. God didn't put them in your life by accident. The mercy you show them is the mercy that's going to be shown you. Life is flying by, time is short, they're not always going to be here.
Paul waited till he was almost done, but he couldn't really say "I finished my course", without saying "Go get John Mark". He was saying "I'm not going to die holding this against him, letting him think that I'm disappointed in him, trying to keep him feeling guilty and condemned. I'm bigger than that. I'm done holding on to things that are holding me down". When John Mark came and felt Paul's love and acceptance, gifts that had been buried in him came alive, vision that had laid dormant came back to life. He stepped up and wrote his book and saw God's favor in new ways.
I believe today God is about to make some things beautiful in your life. Whether you made the mistakes like John Mark, or life threw you some curves at no fault of your own, bad breaks, disappointments, God saw it. Your time is coming. He didn't bring you this far to leave you, things that look like they'll never work out in your health, your relationships, your career, just give it some time. God is still on the throne, he's working behind the scenes. Now, do your part: instead of living discouraged all through the day, "Father, thank you that you're making all things beautiful in my life". If you'll do this, I believe and declare: things are about to happen that you couldn't make happen. Like John Mark you're about to see restoration, you're going to accomplish dreams bigger than you thought, healing is coming, freedom is coming, promotion, restoration, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it can you say amen today? Amen.