Joel Osteen - A Turnaround Is Coming
I want to talk to you today about A Turnaround Is Coming. We all face situations that look like they'll never change. It's easy to get discouraged and accept that it's never going to work out. But God said in Zephaniah 3:9, "I will turn things around for my people". He's a turnaround God. He turns barren wounds into babies, he turns Red Seas into dry pathways, he turns five loaves and two fish into dinner for thousands, he turns skin filled with leprosy into skin as clear as a little baby. When thoughts tell you, "Your situation is permanent. You'll never get out of this problem. Never get well. Never see your family restored", no, get ready, a turnaround is coming. God is about to turn sickness into health, turn that addiction into freedom, turn lack into abundance, turn struggle into ease. You're coming in to a turnaround season. You're going to see the hand of God do things that are unusual, uncommon, out of the ordinary.
This is what Zechariah said, "God has turned my mountains into molehills". Mountains represent obstacles, things that look permanent, like it's immovable. Depression can be a mountain, feels like you'll always struggle with it. A mountain can be people at work that are not for you, they have more seniority, what can you do? Or how about a mountain of debt, lack, can't-get-ahead, it's been in your family for years. Now, this is a new day. That mountain is about to be turned to a molehill. God is about to flatten some things out, he's about to remove some obstacles. What used to hold you back is not going to limit you anymore. People that weren't for you, suddenly they're out of your path. You didn't have to do it, God turned it. That mountain of loneliness, not having anyone in life to love it's about to become a molehill, the right person is going to find you. A divine connection, someone better than you've imagined.
Now you have to receive this by faith. This won't do you any good if you think, "This is not for me, Joel, my situation will never turn around. You don't know what I'm facing". You can cancel out what God wants to do by doubt, by negative thinking. Why don't you be a believer and not a doubter? Why don't you get in agreement with God and say, "God, I believe what you promised, that a turnaround is coming in my health, my finances, in my relationships, in my career". Whatever you think is permanent, that you could never get past, you need to see that mountain being turned into a molehill.
David went through a lot of opposition in the scripture, lonely nights, betrayals, king Saul was trying to kill him. His little baby was sick, and didn't make it. There were plenty of things that could have stopped his destiny. But he said in Psalm 30:11, "God you have turned my mourning into dancing. You have turned my sorrow into joy". He could have lived discouraged, bitter, looking in the rearview mirror. But he understood: we serve a turnaround God. And yes, you may have seasons of mourning, times you go through loss, disappointments, things that are not fair. But that's not how your story ends - a turnaround is coming. God is going to take what was meant for harm, and turn it to your advantage. He's not going to stop all the difficulties, he won't keep you from every mountain, but he did promise he would turn the sorrow into joy, he'll turn the mountain to a molehill. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning.
You have to get your fire back. The disappointments, the loss, what you're up against it didn't stop your purpose. God is still in control. He didn't bring you this far to leave you. It seems like a setback, but really it's a set up for God to show out in a greater way.
Zephaniah went on to say, when God turns it around, "Everything you've lost will be restored. Instead of shame, he will give you honor. Burdens you've carried will be lifted", verse 19 says, "He will get rid of all those that have made your life miserable. He will heal the sick. He will bring home the prodigals, and you will be respected everywhere you go". You need to get this down in your spirit: it's turn around time. What's limited you in the past is not going to limit you anymore.
When I look back over my life, I'm sure you can too, but I can see the God of the turnaround. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, no treatment they could give her. It was Christmas of 1981. We were expecting to have a fun time with the family, all together, joyful, instead it was a time of weeping. I had never seen my mother sick a day in her life, now she was frail, skin yellow, very weak. She was only 46 years old. We did what I'm asking you to do. We said, "Father, this looks impossible to us, but we know you're a turnaround God. You can turn this mountain into a molehill". The scripture says (Psalm 56:9), "The moment you pray, the tide of the battle turns". Something supernatural happens when you pray in faith: the turnaround God goes to work, miracles are set in motion, angels are dispatched, favor is released.
Don't just think about your problems, don't just worry, live stressed - go to God in prayer, ask him to turn it around, ask him to heal you, to free you, to favor you, to bring that dream to pass, to move that mountain. Not begging him, "Oh, God please, you got to do it". No, go to him in faith, "Father, I know you're bigger than this cancer, you're stronger than this opposition, you're more powerful than this addiction. I'm asking you to make a way, where I don't see a way". Here's the key: once you pray, believe that it's already done. You may not see it with your physical eyes, most of the time it doesn't happen instantly, there's a period from when you pray to when the answer shows up. That's a test of your faith. Thoughts will say, "It's not going to happen. It's not going to work out. This turnaround thing is not for you", don't believe those lies. In the unseen realm the turnaround is already in motion. What God promised is already in route.
Instead of going downhill like the medical report said about my mother, she started getting better, defy the odds, her skin color went back to normal, she got her energy back, she gained her weight back. Today, 40 years later she's still healthy and whole. What was that? The turn around God. We can say with David, "God has turned our sorrow into joy. He's turned our mourning into dancing". You may have some situations that look permanent, all the circumstances say, "It'll never work out, it's been that way too long, all the odds are against you". God is not limited by what limits us. We're natural, he's supernatural. He's saying to you today, "A turnaround is coming". He's going to turn that sickness into health, like he did for my mother. He's going to turn that loneliness into companionship. He's going to turn that child that's off course back into his purpose. He's going to turn people that are against you, suddenly they're going to be for you. He's going to turn that dream that looks too far gone into a reality. This is a turnaround day. You're going to see mountains turned into molehills. What was meant to stop you is going to be turned, to push you into your destiny.
When we were trying to acquire this place, the former Compaq Center, we needed 10 votes from the city council members. We'd worked for a year and a half, convincing the council members, we had exactly 10, just what we needed. But two days before the main vote, one of the council members who was for us, received so much pressure from the other side, he decided to be out of town for the vote. Him not being there was like a no vote, we wouldn't get the facility. We couldn't believe it, it was the last moment. We'd worked all this time, now we were one vote shy. I went back to city call and to visit with this young Jewish council member that had been against us the whole time. I thought "I had nothing to lose". When I walked in his office, he said "Joel, I've changed my mind, I'm going to vote for you". I nearly passed out. He told how there was an older Jewish woman that he knew growing up, he always had great respect for her, he hadn't talked with her in over 20 years, but she called the day before and told him in no uncertain terms that he was to vote for Lakewood having the Compaq Center. He changed his mind, his vote gave us the facility.
God knows how to turn people that are against you, and cause them to be for you. I had worked on him with everything I had, giving him my best speeches, trying to convince him, but what I couldn't do in two years, God had a woman I had never met change his mind in a five-minute phone call. When God is ready to turn it around, no person can stop him, no sickness, no addiction, no trouble. What God has purpose for your life will come to pass. When you face situations that seem permanent, you've done all you can and the door hasn't opened, the person hasn't changed, the medical report hasn't improved, you feel like "We did, it's too late", you've run out of options - no, get ready, a turnaround is coming. What God started he's going to finish. There's not a mountain you face that he can't turn into a molehill. There's not a person that's against you, that he can't change their mind. You don't have to convince people. You do your part, and leave the rest to God. That supervisor that's not treating you right, you keep doing the right thing, and let God deal with him. The scripture says (Proverbs 21:1), "God can turn the heart of a king". God knows how to turn people to be for you. He can cause them to want to be good to you.
A friend of mine had a problem with his visa. He's from Europe, and he came to the United States for work. He went to the office to get it extended, but the men at the counter was very rude, unhelpful, like my friend was bothering him. The men took his paperwork, barely even read it, and said "It'll be five years before this is approved". My friend pleaded with him, asked if there's any way he could make it happen faster. The men got more upset, said they were all backed up, this was policy, there was nothing more he could do. My friend left there very discouraged, there were no good options, he couldn't operate his business without the paperwork.
Two weeks later there was a call from the government office, saying that his paperwork had been approved, and was ready to be picked up. He rushed down there, believing for the best, but in the back of his mind thinking it could be a mistake. When he walked in, the man that was so rude was holding his paperwork. My friend thanked him, and said "Wow, this is quite a surprise. I thought it's going to take much longer". The men said gruffly, "It should have, but ever since I met you I can't get you off my mind. I wake up thinking about you, I eat breakfast thinking about you, I come to work thinking about you. Just take the paperwork and go, so I can have some peace". God knows how to turn people around. They may not like you, but they will help you fulfill your purpose. Now, quit worrying about people that try to push you down, don't give you the credit, that aren't fair - you stay on the high road, and let God deal with them. They can't keep you from your destiny. When you need them to be for you, God will either change their mind, or he'll bypass them and cause you to move forward in spite of them.
Luke chapter 7, Jesus had left Capernaum and was traveling to the city of Nain. His disciples and a large group of people were following him. When he arrived at the city, a funeral procession was coming toward him, they were on their way to bury this young boy. His mother was a widow, she had already buried her husband, now she was about to bury her son, her only child. You can imagine the sorrow, the pain she was dealing with. In those days her son represented her security, that's how she would be taken care of. Now her support for her later years was gone. Verse 13 says, "When Jesus saw her, his heart broke". God sees when you're hurting, he sees when you're lonely, when you feel overwhelmed like you can't go on. He's moved with compassion.
Jesus went over to the woman and said, "Don't cry". He was saying in effect, "I know you're weeping now, but I'm about to turn things around. This pain is not permanent, this sorrow is not how your story ends". He walked over to the coffin, the bearers set it down, they didn't know what was happening. Jesus spoke to the little boy, and said, "Young man, wake up". The little boy sat up in the coffin, begin to look around. Jesus went over, picked him up, and handed him to his mother alive and well. She went from great sorrow to great joy, from great mourning to great rejoicing, from being depressed, distraught, not knowing how she could go on, but then the God of the turnaround stepped in. Now she's still weeping, but these are no longer tears of sadness, they are tears of joy.
And sometimes life gets tough, you shed tears from hurts, from a bad medical report, from a child that breaks your heart, from dreams that don't work out. There will be times of mourning, but what I want you to see is: it's not the end. We serve a turnaround God. Like with this woman, he's going to step in and turn that sorrow to joy, that brokenness to wholeness, that mourning into dancing. See, Jesus performed many miracles that we never read about. Only a fraction are recorded in the scripture. I believe one reason we read about this one is: God wants us to see him as a turnaround God. Imagine this solemn funeral procession, on their way to the burial grounds, all the weeping, mourning, everyone stepping out of the way respectfully. Then Jesus meets the woman, raises the little boy. They don't continue on to the cemetery, they don't keep going to the burial plot, they turn around and go back into the city. People start asking "Why are you back so soon? Why didn't you bury him"? They answer: there's no need, we had a turnaround. Something unexpectedly changed in our favor.
We all have situations at times that look dead, dreams we've given up on, promises that seem like it's too late. God is saying, "I'm going to bring dead things back to life". There are going to be turnarounds that leave you in awe. You left defeated, but you're going to come back home victorious. You thought your business was dead, God's about to surprise you, increase is coming, favor is coming, new clients are coming. You thought you'd have to live with that sickness, just manage that depression - no, that turnaround is coming. God is going to do something out of the ordinary, something supernatural. Like these people, you're going to be in awe, amazed at the greatness of our God.
I met a man that was very healthy, had a great family, successful career, but in his mid 50s he had what appeared to be a massive stroke, and was left brain dead. His family was so distraught. The neurosurgeon was a close friend of the family, and the leading expert. He said, "Unfortunately, there's nothing we could do. There's no brain activity". He was on a breathing machine that was keeping him alive. The family made arrangements to have his organs donated, they said their goodbyes. They were told once they took the tube out, he would stop breathing on his own in a couple of minutes. They removed the life support, the family waited for him to pass, but he kept breathing on his own. Doctor said that wasn't completely uncommon, just a matter of time. So the family went home started making plans for the funeral. A few hours later the nurse frantically called, said "You have to get up here, he woke up. He's talking, he wants to eat". The doctors had no explanation. Today he's totally fine.
God has the final say. And yes, at some point we're all going to pass, but it's not over until God says it's over. They went from making plans for a funeral, to making plans for dinner that night. From great sorrow to great joy. We serve a turnaround God. You may have gone through disappointments, a rough childhood, the pandemic set you back, now you feel this heaviness. You've lost your passion, you think this is all you have to look forward to - there's a turnaround coming, something unexpected that's going to change things in your favor.
This is what happened to a young lady in the scripture named Ruth. Her husband had died or was killed. She never dreamed she would be a widow at such a young age. You can imagine the heartache, the sadness. Her mother-in-law Naomi was a widow as well. She moved back with Naomi to Bethlehem to take care of her. Every morning Ruth would go out in the fields, and pick up the leftover wheat that the workers had missed, this is how she and Naomi survived. They were barely making it, they had no income, they were heartbroken. It looked like lack, struggle, loneliness, was all Ruth had to look forward to. But one morning the owner of the field saw Ruth, he told his workers to leave handfuls of wheat on purpose for Ruth. He didn't speak to Ruth, he spoke to someone to be good to Ruth. You don't know who God is speaking to right now to be good to. You you don't think you have the connections, you feel stuck, alone - God is speaking to people about you. You're going to come into these handfuls on purpose.
Now, Ruth had more wheat than she could use. It wasn't a struggle, she gathered it up in a fraction of the time. If the story stopped here, be a great story, God took care of Ruth, she came out of that loss. But when God turns things around, he pays you back for what wasn't fair. He brings you out better than you were before. The owner of that field fell in love with Ruth. They ended up getting married. Now she didn't have to work in the fields, she owned the fields. God turned the lack into abundance, turn her loneliness, being a widow at a young age to marrying a successful, godly man. They had a baby named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David. Ruth was the great grandmother of the greatest king that ever lived. God knows how to turn sorrow into joy, how to turn mourning into dancing. You may have been through loss, things that weren't fair, you could easily live discouraged, thinking that you've seen your best days. If you only knew what God was up to: he has turnarounds in your future that are so awesome, you won't think about what you lost. You'll be so blessed, so happy, so fulfilled, that you don't look back. You move forward in faith, filled with gratitude, thanking God for what he's done.
I talked to a single parent mother, she was struggling to make ends meet, working two jobs long hours. She felt bad that she couldn't be there with her children, on top of that she had no time for herself to date or have any kind of social life. It looked like that was the way it would always be, she couldn't see anything changing. But just because you don't see it, doesn't mean God's not up to something. You don't know who he's speaking to about you, what he's lining up to come your way. You keep being faithful, and like Ruth you're going to come in to some handfuls on purpose, blessings, healing, relationships that you didn't see coming.
One day a neighbor invited this young lady and her children over for dinner. She'd only met this couple one time. They'd see each other out in the yard and wave, but that was about it. At dinner that night they told her what a great mother she was, how she was such a hard worker. Then they said, "We want to do something to make your life a little easier". They handed her the keys to a brand new car. She couldn't believe it, she didn't see it coming. She was able to sell her car, pay off her debts not have to work so much about. A year later she met this executive from a large company. Today she's happily married, her children are flourishing. I saw them before a service, before the pandemic, she said "I never dreamed I could be this blessed, this fulfilled". That's the God of the turnaround.
You may be in a season of struggle, a season of hardship where you're working long hours, doing your best to provide, nothing's improving, you don't see how it will ever change - God is watching you. He sees your sacrifice. He sees you going the extra mile. You're going to come into these turnaround moments, where God is going to turn the struggle into ease, the lack into abundance, the sorrow into joy. Or turn the injustice, what you didn't get, what wasn't fair into fulfillment, into purpose, into a blessed, satisfied life.
I was at an amusement park with my children one time, and we were in line for this very popular ride. It was all single file at first, but when you got close to the front, you go into this room that's about 20 feet by 20 feet and wait. We were the first ones in the room, so we walked toward the front. But other people came in, started maneuvering their way around us, mainly kids. And I'm way more laid back, and I wasn't going to get in there and stand my ground, try to fight to stay in the front, so we ended up at the very back of the room. In a few minutes a lady came in, stood at the front, told what was going to go on, gave instructions about the ride. There were two big doors up front, that's where everyone had crowded up to. We were standing at the doors where you come in. She said, "Okay, we're ready to go. Everyone turn around, and go back out the same doors you came in". All the sudden, instead of being at the back of the line, we were at the front.
You may feel like you're falling behind, everyone's getting ahead of you, you had bad breaks, people are manipulating things. Don't worry, a turnaround is coming. God knows how to take you from the back to the front, from being overlooked to standing out, from working in those fields like Ruth, to owning those fields. You are coming into a turnaround season. Things that you couldn't make happen, the turn around God is about to make happen. Even right now, he's turning sickness into health, turning borrowing into lending, turning sorrow into joy, turning addictions into freedom. What's hindered you in the past is not permanent. That trouble at work is about to turn, that child that's off course is about to turn, that depression you've been dealing with it's about to turn around. This is a new day. Forces that have held you back are being broken. I believe and declare what Zephaniah prophesied: everything you've lost will be restored. Instead of shame, you will have honor. Burdens you've carried are being lifted. People that have hindered you are being moved out of the way. The sick are being healed, the prodigals are coming home, you will be respected everywhere you go. It's turn around time, in Jesus name. If you receive it, can you say amen? Amen!