Joel Osteen - Carried By The Creator
I want to talk to you today about Carried By The Creator. We all face seasons where we don't see how we're going to make it through: we lost a loved one, we're dealing with the sickness, we have a child that's off course. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, live worried, think we don't have the strength to go on. But David said in Psalm 68:19, "Each day God Carries us in his arms". You may have situations that are too much for you, God is saying, "Don't worry, I'm going to carry you. You're going to feel supernatural strength. Peace that passes understanding. Favor that causes things to fall into place". On your own you wouldn't make it through the sickness, you'd fall apart in that divorce, that trouble at work would defeat you, but you're not on your own - you're being carried by the God who created you.
When you look back over your life, you can see these times where God carried you. How did you make it through that unfair childhood? You should be insecure, dysfunctional, floundering, but look at you: you're blessed, strong, doing great things. That wasn't good luck, that was God carrying you. He was protecting you when you didn't realize it. He was moving the wrong people out of the way, opening doors that you couldn't open. He's been carrying you your whole life. How did you get through that challenge with your child? You should have had a nervous breakdown, should have worn you out, caused you to give up on your dreams. But every day you had strength to move forward, you had the grace to stay in faith, you believed when every thought said "It was never going to work out". The enemy tried to take your child out, but because you kept praying, God not only carried you, but he carried your child. Where would we be without the God who Carries us?
It's easy to thank him for blessings. I thank him for turning things around, but I've also learned to thank him for carrying me through the difficulties, for sustaining me, for not letting the opposition defeat me, not letting the worry take me out, not letting the doubt talk me out of my dreams. That wasn't just my strong will, my great faith, that was God carrying me.
When my father went to be with the Lord in 1999, my whole world was turned upside down. My father was my hero, outside of Victoria, he was my best friend. I'd worked with him 17 years here at Lakewood, behind the scenes, doing the television production. We'd travel the world together. He'd come over to our house for dinner, we'd go watch the Astros play. I thought he would live into his 90s, but at 77 he had a heart attack, and was suddenly taken away. I had never ministered, but I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church. It didn't make sense to my mind, didn't feel qualified, I didn't have the experience, thoughts told me "Nobody's gonna listen to you", but in my heart I felt it so strongly, and I took that step of faith, started ministering on Sunday mornings. Her daughter Alexandra was three months old at the time, our son Jonathan four. I didn't know how to put a message together, I'd never done any public speaking. On top of that I was grieving the loss of my father, trying to navigate him not being here, how to run the church, how to minister a newborn baby.
I look back now and think: how did I make it through? How did I learn to minister in the most difficult time of my life? How did we raise our little children? Well we were both learning a new profession, becoming pastors - that was God carrying us. I felt strength that I had never felt. I missed my father, but it wasn't what I thought. I didn't fall apart, I wasn't overcome with sorrow, I felt peace. There was a grace to step into my destiny. It wasn't easy, but I had the passion, the determination, the favor to keep moving forward. That wasn't natural, that was supernatural. I should have been worried, stressed out, intimidated, but I thought: I can do this, I'm well able, I'm strong in the Lord. This is not going to defeat me.
God has grace for every season. How many times has he carried you, and you didn't know it? You can look back now and see: he carried you through the sickness, you had the strength that you never felt. He carried you through the loss, it was painful, but deep down you felt peace, you were able to keep moving forward. He carried you through the legal battle. You didn't think you could take it, but day by day you had just what you needed. Here you are on the other side blessed, healthy, stronger than ever. Can I encourage you? If God carried you back then, he's going to carry you now. Whatever you're facing may seem insurmountable, but it's not going to defeat you, it's not going to be too much, you're not going to be overwhelmed - you're being carried by the Creator of the universe.
Exodus 19:4 says, "God brought them out of oppression by carrying them on eagle's wings". You may have some oppression, things that are not fair, you don't understand - stay encouraged: eagles wings are coming. The God who made you is going to carry you out of the depression, carry you out of the heartache, carry you out of the loneliness, carry you out of poverty, lack, not having enough. That is not how your story ends. He's about to carry you into abundance, carry you into freedom, carry you into joy, peace, favor, breakthroughs. It looked like you were stuck, but you're about to feel some eagle's wings lifting you, restoring you, promoting you, taking you where you can't go on your own.
I love how it uses the analogy of eagle's wings: could have said chicken wings, hawks wings, crow's wings, but the eagle is known for soaring, for rising higher than other birds. God's going to take you further than you've imagined. Not being carried by a goose, carried by a pigeon, carried by a crow - you're being carried on eagle's wings. You're not going to just make it through the loss, through the break, through the trouble at work, now you're going to come out promoted, increased, better than you were before.
David said: "If it had not been for the goodness of God, where would I be"? He was saying, "If God had not carried me, where would I be"? You may not realize it, but right now God is carrying you. The challenges you're facing would be much more difficult if God wasn't lifting you, strengthening you, favoring you, pushing back the darkness. I can't tell you that God's going to turn it around instantly, but I can promise you: he's going to carry you. You're not in this struggle by yourself. You're going to feel strength that you've never felt, doors are going to open that you couldn't open, the right people are going to be there to help you.
The Israelites had been in slavery for 10 generations, God sent plagues on the Pharaoh, and he finally let them go. They headed out into the desert toward the Promised Land. These people weren't trained to survive in the wilderness. There was no food out there, water was very scarce, there were bandits, armies, people trying to kill them, yet for 40 years they never went without food. God gave them manna every morning. One time they complained about not having any meat, God shifted the winds and caused quail to come into their camp. When they were thirsty, God brought water out of a rock. Their shoes never wore out, year after year - God, do that for Victoria! Their clothing lasted their whole life... (don't tell her I said it) their whole lifetime. When enemies came against them, many times supernaturally they were defeated. They should have never survived 40 years out there. How did they make it to the Promised Land? Deuteronomy 1:31 says, "In the wilderness, there you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father Carries his son, all the way until you reach this place".
At times I'm sure they thought, "Where is Jehovah? Where is our God? How come we haven't gone into the Promised Land"? They didn't realize: the whole time God was sustaining them. He hadn't delivered them yet, but he was carrying them. They didn't recognize that God was giving them the strength to travel through the desert. He was the reason their clothes didn't wear out, armies couldn't defeat them. They didn't get sick, they didn't have nervous breakdowns, they didn't go without food and provision - he carried them all the way, until they reached the Promised Land. On the way to your Promised Land there will be detours, people that do you wrong, times you don't see how it can work out: you don't have the provision, the dream looks impossible, the obstacle too big. You'll be tempted to worry, live stressed out. No, stay in peace: just like God did for them, he's going to carry you all the way 'till you get to your destination. Like a father Carries his son, God is carrying you.
If you're a parent, you know how much you love carrying your children. When our daughter Alexandra was a little toddler, barely able to speak, one of the first things she learned to say was, "Baby up". She'd come hit my pant leg, tap me "Baby up", that meant she wanted to be picked up. I'd carry her everywhere. I was so proud of her, carry her in my arms, carry on my shoulders, she'd ride piggy back. She loved being in her father's arms. Well, she's 23 years old now, I don't carry her quite as much, but God is not like us. He said in Isaiah 46:4, "Even to your old age, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you".
You never get too old for God to carry you. As much as you love carrying your small children, holding them, protecting them, making them feel safe and secure, your Heavenly Father loves carrying you. When you're tempted to worry, feel overwhelmed, "I don't think I can make it through this sickness, Joel. How can I make it through this loss? These people at work are not fair". Instead of worrying, just say, "Baby up. God, I thank you for carrying me. I don't see a way, but I know you control the universe. You're my protector, you're my provider, you're my deliverer, you're my Waymaker". The fact is: God is carrying you right now, but if you don't recognize it, you'll live stressed, upset. Now you're in your father's arms, he's holding you tightly, nothing can snatch you away.
Isaiah 40:11 says, "He Carries you close to his heart". You're not way out there in the distance, just one of the billions of people on earth - he has you close to his heart. You're his most prized possession. There's nothing more valuable to God than you. The scripture says, "God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground", a little bird, how much more is God concerned about you? As much as you love your children, multiply that by billions of times, that's how much God loves you. He's been carrying you since you were born. He's going to continue to carry you until you breathe your last breath. You may have things coming against you now, but God wouldn't have allowed it if it was going to stop you. Come back to that place of peace, that place of trust, "Father, thank you that you're carrying me, that I have grace for this season, strength for this day, the favor to move forward".
During those 40 years that the Israelites wandered in the desert, at times they got off course, and started worshiping idols. They made these gods out of stone, these large statues, gods out of gold and silver. As they traveled, they had to carry these gods around. They were heavy, it was a burden, they struggled to make sure to take care of them. What's interesting is they were carrying their gods, instead of letting God carry them. We may not make stone idols today, but sometimes we're carrying burdens, weighed down by trouble, living worried, trying to fix it all in our own strength. In a sense you're carrying your god. Why don't you let God carry you? The scripture says (Psalm 55:22), "Cast your burdens on the Lord, release the weight of it, and he will sustain you". If you'll release the burden, quit trying to figure it all out, losing sleep, letting your mind work overtime, then God will carry you. But as long as you're carrying it, God will step back. He wants us to depend on him. It's very powerful to say, "God, I need you. I trust you. I know you're in control. I believe that you've got this, so I'm going to live this day in faith, knowing that you are carrying me".
Are you carrying your god? Or are you letting God carry you? God works where there's faith. If you're living stressed out, worried, "How can I make it through", then God steps back. Yes he's still carrying you, but you're not going to tap into the peace, the strength, the favor that belongs to you. There are eagles wings that are going to lift you, empower you, and cause you to rise above what's trying to stop you. God didn't bring you this far to leave you. Don't believe those lies that you're stuck, "It's too much, you can't take it". God has carried you in the past, and he's going to carry you in the future. Even when your time is up, the angels are going to carry you into heaven, they're going to carry you into God's presence. God is in the carrying business. Since he's carrying it, you don't have to carry it. All the burdens, stress, worries - release that weight, let him be God. You'll see him carry you through things you never thought you could get through. He'll carry you further than you ever dreamed you could go.
A friend of mine was married to a professional football player, big, strong guy. Later in life he developed diabetes, and he ended up losing both of his legs. This lady took care of him like a king. She would get up at four in the morning, before she went to work and bathe him, get him dressed. She's a large woman, she would pick him up out of bed physically, and carry him around the house, carry him to the dinner table, carry him to the family room, carry him back to bed. She never complained. Never said, "God, why me? I can't do this another 30 years". I would see her here at church, she always had a smile, a report of victory. I'd ask how are you doing? She said, "Joel, I'm blessed! Life is good"! How could she have that kind of attitude, when life had dealt her such a tough blow? Seemed like she should be overwhelmed, but while she was carrying her husband, God was carrying her.
When you're given your time and energy to help others, God is going to give you fresh strength. When you're doing the right thing when it's hard, keeping a good attitude when you've been through loss, helping someone else in your time of need, you should be worn out, discouraged, now you're going to feel those eagles wings lifting you, breathing strength, favor, endurance.
Jesus told his disciples, "Take up your cross and follow me". And sometimes we think that's going to be a heavy burden. "I was told growing up, Joel, it's going to be hard to carry your cross, hard to live a life of faith". One night my father had a dream. He was going through a difficult time, dealing with disappointments. Didn't look like it was going to work out. In this dream he saw a big cross over on the ground. It was made out of railroad ties, about 15 feet tall, looked like it weighed hundreds of pounds. He knew that was his cross, but he didn't know how he could possibly carry it, seemed overwhelming. He walked over to pick it up, it wasn't what he thought. When he lifted it it, was like styrofoam, was so light he was amazed. He could easily put it on his shoulder and he started walking. A few steps later, the cross started lifting him up. Instead of him carrying the cross, the cross was carrying him. When you take up your cross, doesn't mean you won't have difficulties, people won't betray, you you won't make mistakes - life will happen. But the beauty is: when you should be overwhelmed, you'll feel the cross start to carry you. There'll be strength, peace, favor that lifts you, sustains you, takes you through things that should have stopped you.
That's what happened to a young man in the scripture, named Mephibosheth. He was the son of Jonathan, David's best friend, and the grandson of king Saul. He was born into royalty, destined to one day take the throne, but his father and grandfather were both killed in a battle on the same day. A messenger came rushing to Mephibosheth's house, telling the bad news, how the enemy was on their way to wipe out all of Saul's relatives. In a panic, a maid picked up little Mephibosheth, and took off running. She had good intentions, she was trying to spare his life, but going down the stairs she lost her footing and dropped Mephibosheth. Both of his legs were broken. He became crippled, and could not walk any longer.
Fast forward years ahead, he was living in the city of Lo Debar, one of the poorest, most run down cities of that day. He was destined for the palace, but life threw him some curves. No fault of his own, he was dropped, his relatives were killed, looked like he had missed his destiny. But years later, David was reminiscing about his good friend Jonathan, how much he loved him. He asked his assistant: are any of Jonathan's relatives still alive, so I can be good to them? They did some research, and said "Yes, we've learned, one of his sons is still alive, but he's crippled. He's living in the slums of Lo Debar". David told them to go get him and bring him to the palace. I can see the guards come into the city of Lo Debar. There's a big stir, everyone's talking, "The king's men are here, what do they want? Who's in trouble"? They find out that they're looking for Mephibosheth. Word gets to him, he thinks, "I'm done". His grandfather, king Saul tried to kill David. I'm sure Mephibosheth thought, "He's going to take it out on me".
The men showed up and said, "The king is looking for you". What's significant, is Mephibosheth couldn't walk. These men had to pick him up, and carry him back to the palace. Wasn't close, they had miles and miles to travel. When he arrived, they brought him before David. Mephibosheth fell on the ground, afraid, intimidated, thinking this was the end. David said, "Mephibosheth, I'm not here to harm you, I'm here to bless you. From now on you will not live in the slums of Lo Debar, you're going to live here in the palace with me. Every night you will sit at my table and eat dinner with me. I'm going to give you all the land that belonged to your grandfather king Saul". Mephibosheth couldn't believe it. He never dreamed he'd be in the palace, never dreamed he'd be sitting at the king's table. He thought he'd had too many bad breaks, gone through too much disappointment. He had accepted that he had missed his destiny.
But I love this picture of Mephibosheth being carried to the palace. God was showing us that even when life throws you a curve, when it's unfair, no fault of your own, people dropped you, you didn't get the scholarship, the person walked out, it's easy to think "It's just not meant to be". No, like Mephibosheth your time is coming. God is going to carry you into your destiny. The right people are going to come looking for you, the right brakes, the favor, the promotion. God didn't quit carrying you because you had a setback. Those eagles wings are still coming, he still has you close to his heart.
See, Mephibosheth thought he was forgotten. Year after year, nothing but lack, defeat, mediocrity. That whole time God was sustaining him, not letting him go under. God has not forgotten about you. He's been carrying you all these years through the hardship, through the lack, through the struggle. That's why the enemy couldn't take you out. That's why that sickness couldn't end your life. That accident couldn't stop your purpose. When those things tried to push you down, God lifted you up. The Psalmist said (Psalm 129:2), "My enemies did their best, but they could not finish me off". Why? He was being carried by the Creator. God was carrying you even in Lo Debar. He was carrying you when they dropped you. He carried you when you were left out, when the medical report wasn't good, when the business went down. Just as he carried you in the tough times, like with Mephibosheth, he's going to carry you into your purpose, carry you into the palace, carry you into abundance, carry you into victory.
There was a movie being filmed, the lead actor was in a helicopter over the ocean. And in this scene he was supposed to hand something from the helicopter to the people on a boat below. The helicopter came down real low, but it hit a burst of wind, and the pilot lost control, spun around several times, and hit the water very forcefully, quickly began to sink. About 30 seconds later the pilot's head popped up, he was alive, people were so relieved. But there was no sign of this other man, the lead actor. Minute went by, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes, seemed like an eternity. They thought he was gone. Then five minutes in, he came bursting up out of the water. They took him to the shore.
He told how he was knocked unconscious when the helicopter hit the water. When he came to, he was under water, still in the helicopter, and disoriented. He couldn't find his way out. He said, "I want to thank the rescuers, and especially the one that grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled me out of the helicopter, and gave me that big push toward the top of the water". The people listening were confused, said "What do you mean? There were no rescuers! You were down there by yourself"! And tears began to come down his cheeks, he looked up and said, "Then it was his hand, that lifted me out".
God's been carrying us our whole life, keeping us from harm, pushing back the darkness, sustaining us in the tough times. I thank him for his blessings, I thank him for his favor, but I also thank him that he Carries me. You may have things coming against you now, you don't see how you could keep going, you could live worried, upset. God is saying: "I'm going to carry you. I have you close to my heart". He knows what you're going through: the struggles, the lonely nights, the unfair situations. You're about to feel strength that you've never felt, peace when you could be stressed, favor that will make things happen that you couldn't make happen. You're going to look back and think, "How did I make it through that"? It was God sustaining you, when you should have gone under.
I believe and declare: like the Israelites, God is about to carry you out on eagle's wings. You're not just going to make it through, you're going to soar to levels you've never dreamed. Like Mephibosheth, despite what's tried to stop you, he's going to carry you to the palace. You're going to see favor, promotion, breakthroughs, you will fulfill your destiny, and become all you were created to be, in Jesus name. If you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen!