John Hagee - The Storm of Failure
Who is there among us who has not failed? I have failed. You have failed. We have all tasted the bitter dregs of failure. Every day you see people captured and crushed by some personal failure. There's the college student who was dreaming of becoming a medical doctor because he failed a course in comparative anatomy. Of course, he also failed to go to class, he failed to study, and he failed the course. That, of course, was the professor's fault, as he goes through life whining about what he didn't accomplish.
There are endless numbers of people who walked into a dark storm that never ended. There's the man or the woman captured in the storm of a broken home. The marriage that began with so much hope, with so much joy, with so much delight is now a dark fight. It's a war zone. Life has become an endless, bitter trail. Her husband is a hill and she has become the wicked witch of the west. There are thousands of Christians, who make a glorious start of the Christian life. You know they're going to get to heaven if they don't run past it. But somewhere along the way, they got capsized by a wave, by a wind of adversity. Temptation took them over. Discouragement smashed them against the beach. They failed, and rather than get up, they gave up, and they quit trying.
Is this you? Is this you? Are you sitting in some hog pen in the far country trying to be satisfied with the husk of a second rate life? Stop it. Stop it. In Jesus' name, get up. Get up and dust yourself off and go back to the Father's house! There is repentance and mercy. At your father's house is a new beginning. "Though your sin be as scarlet: yet, they shall be white as snow". God the Father will wrap his arms around you. He will take the rags from you and give you a precious royal robe. He will give you a ring of authority and shoes of sonship, and say, welcome home. The storm will be over. But you have to go to the Father to get that done!
Hear this: the greatest tragedy in life is not to fall down: it's to stay down. It's to stay down. Proverbs 24:16 says, "The righteous man falls seven times: and yet, rises again". If you have fallen, get up, because Christ has conquered your storm. Start living again. Start loving again. Start believing again. Start achieving again. Listen to the voice of the Master. Your storm is over. Stop allowing your past to control your future. Don't be pushed by your problems: be led by your dreams. God is your Father. Nothing is impossible to you! Nothing is impossible to you! Nothing is impossible to you! When you believe that, you'll never be the same! Give the Lord praise in the house!
Conquering the storm of failure is the key to your success. You must be prepared to fail before you will ever succeed. Here's the story of George Washington. It's a shame really, in America, that you can get a degree in history without taking American history. So I tell this story because there's a generation that does not know American history. George Washington really didn't want to be president. But his gifts of leadership and his willingness to sacrifice to accomplish the American dream, birthed our nation.
Now let me take a little sidebar right here. America, right now, has a lot of people in the streets, who know absolutely nothing about our history. They do not appreciate America. They do not appreciate democracy. You are anarchists and hell raisers in the streets of America, who hate democracy, who hate freedom, and are trying to tear this country apart. Let me give you one encouraging word this morning, "Move"!
Yeah. Yeah. I can get anointed on that pretty quick, so I better get back to George Washington. George Washington was fortunate to achieve failure, or he would have never been successful in winning the American revolution. In 1754, as a young major in the Virginia Militia, Washington was ordered to lead 350 royal recruits through the wilderness to the French-occupied fort in duquesne, which is present day pittsburgh. Washington's Militia camped near a spot about 40 miles from where they were expected to arrive. And they built that fort and named it "Necessity". They advanced on the enemy until they found them. And 700 French soldiers with their Indian allies clashed with Washington and his men, dragging them all the way back to their fort, and then totally annihilating them.
In nine short hours, there were 30 dead men, 70 wounded, many deserted. The battle was over. Why? Because the French and the Indians fought a gorilla warfare. They got behind rocks and trees, and fired over the walls of that pitiful little fort they built, and wiped them out. George Washington learned a new method of warfare through failure. Completely defeated. He watched. He was forced to hand over his sword and signed a hastily-drafted article of surrender by candle light in a driving hail storm.
George Washington, the future father of our country, lost his first battle, lost his first fort, lost his first command. Right there, he looked like a royal failure. It was a humiliating defeat, a complete failure that would lead to his total success when the British army landed on the shores of America, and the American revolution began. When the British army landed in America, it was the best army in the world, the best trained, the best equipped. They had it. The Americans had a hodgepodge of weaponry. But I assure you, they did not get out and go shoulder to shoulder. Washington remembered the gorilla warfare and he put his men behind trees and rocks, and routed and humiliated the British forces over and over and over again until he won that war. Point: Washington's total victory was made possible only by his total failure, because I assure you, failure is a great teacher. See this white hair? It's a great teacher. You don't ever forget the lessons by father failure.
Matthew 8:24, "And suddenly there arose a great storm". The Greek word "Storm" there is "Seismos," which means a tornado on the Sea of Galilee. The translation is the storm came instantly. The Jordan valley with its two mountain ranges forms a massive wind tunnel that empties to the Sea of Galilee. One minute the Sea of Galilee can be absolutely calm, and next, because of that wind tunnel, you can have white caps on the Sea of Galilee. In a real life, God does not send Fox News with a news alert, "Storm coming your way. Go buy water, flashlights, food, candle's. Be thou prepared". No, that's not how it happens.
Storms in life come like lightning out of the blue. You get a phone call from the hospital. Your child has just been involved in a serious automobile accident: hurry please. The doctor's diagnosis is that your x-ray shows a raging disease that's taking over your body, and there is no medical cure. You have a storm. Your spouse walks in, and out of the blues says, "I want a divorce". And now your life is upside down. Your boss walks in, "The company is down sizing: your job is gone". The envelope in his hand has your severance check. Dreams of retirement are gone. Your kids in college, you can't send them anymore. How will you meet the mortgage? Then suddenly the devil puts this in your brain, "Where is God when all this is going on"? He's taking a nap in your boat, waiting for you to ask him to help you get through the storm.
Listen to this: in the Bible, the person going through great trial is the person next in line for great reward. Great victory demands great defeat. Great victory is Gideon attacking the enemies of Israel with 300 men. When God is on your side, pity the other side. It's Daniel laying on the belly of a lion, sleeping, while the king is walking the marble halls of the palace, giving birth to peptic ulcers, wondering how Daniel is. The great victory of the three Hebrew children shouting at Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in all of the earth, "O king, be it known unto you this day, the God that we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace". They didn't bend. They didn't bow. They did not burn. They walked out without the smell of smoke upon them, because the holy one of Israel walked through that fire with them. When you get in real trouble, God doesn't send someone: he shows up himself!
The disciples in the storm were the portrait of failure. They attacked Jesus with their version of pity pot Christianity. They went to him and said, "Carest thou not that we're going to perish"? Don't you see the mess we're in? You sent us out here. We followed you. Now, you're asleep in the boat. Some rabbi you are. We're going to change synagogues as soon as we get to shore. Jesus said, "O ye of little faith". You've seen me heal the sick. You've seen me turn water into wine for the wedding celebration. You saw me open blinded eyes. You saw me make a lame man walk. You saw me feed 5.000 from a boy's sack lunch. And as soon as this boat hits shore, there's a demoniac of Gederah, who is full of demons. I'm going to kick the devil out of the county, and you're worried about water!
"O ye of little faith". The Bible says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God". Say that with me. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God". Faith is not believing that God can do it. Faith is believing that God will do it for you and do it now. That's faith. Anybody can pray, "O God, do it sometime if it be your will". It takes a person of faith to say, "Do it now"! What God has done in the past is historical evidence. It's in the Word of God. The promises of God are the provisions of God. He can do it now.
Has he helped you before? He can do it now. Has he provided for you before? He'll do it again. Has he healed you before? He can heal you now. Has he opened closed doors for you before? He can open those doors now. Has he shaken the mountains of impossibility and closed them to pass into the sea? He can do it now. Has he lifted your burdens before? He can do it now. He'll do it again, and again, and again, because the evidence of God is in! God never fails! Have faith in God! Give him praise in the house of God!
I say this in closing: listen closely. This is a comparison between the lives of Joseph and Jesus, two people who lived through vicious storms of apparent failure. Joseph was the favorite son of his aged father. Jesus was the only begotten Son of God the Father. Joseph had a coat of many colors. The Bible says, "Was fit for royalty". Jesus Christ had a seamless robe that the soldiers gambled for because he was royalty. He was the Prince of Peace. He was the King of kings. He was the Lord of lords. Joseph was sent by his father to carry food to his brothers in the field. Jesus was sent by God the Father from heaven to earth as the bread of life. Joseph, his brothers rejected him. All eleven brothers rejected him. Jesus had eleven disciples that rejected him. Jesus came into his own and his own received him not. You can say, "Storms hang on". It gets worse.
Joseph was sold as a slave to the Midianites. Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Potiphar's wife falsely accused Joseph. She was a desperate housewife. Joseph was sent to prison for a rape he never committed. Jesus was called a demonized heretic by the church, a blasphemer. And Rome considered him an enemy of the state. Joseph was sent to prison. In prison, at a set time, he came to stand at the right hand of Pharaoh, the most powerful man on the face of the earth. Jesus was sent to the prison of death. And at a set time, on the third day, he rose to stand at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, whose awesome power created the earth.
Listen. Joseph was given a gentile wife, an Egyptian woman. And they had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Those two sons were blessed by Jacob to receive the inheritance of Abraham. It was a royal inheritance. Listen, church. Jesus was given a gentile bride at the cross. The church of Jesus Christ was given to Jesus Christ right here. We were adopted into the family of God. We were given the blessings of Abraham. He took our poverty and gave us the wealth of Abraham. He took our sins and gave us forgiveness. He took the fact that we were outside the covenants of Israel, without God and without hope, and he adopted us, and signed it on the parchment of his skin with his own blood. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!
Joseph's brothers came into the land of Egypt three times looking for food. They were looking at their brother all the time but could not recognize him. It was on the third time that they came into Egypt looking for food that he said, "I am Joseph, your brother". The Jewish people have now come into the land of Israel the third time. The first time was with Joseph. The second time was their return from Babylonian captivity of 70 years. The third time was may 14, 1948 in the rebirth of Israel. It's the third time into the land that the Jewish people are going to see the Messiah and recognize him, who he is.
How did Joseph's brothers know that he was Joseph? Through circumcision. The Egyptians did not circumcise. Circumcision left a scar on his body. How are they going to recognize Jesus? How are they going to prove that Jesus is the Messiah? Remember they will have fallen for the antichrist just seven years before? How are they going to know that? Zechariah 13:6 says, "And they (the Jewish people) shall say unto him, 'what are these wounds in your hands?'" and then Jesus will answer, "These scars are wounds in the house of my friends," the Jewish people.
What did Joseph's brothers do when they realized their brother that they had rejected: that they had considered killing: that had gone to prison because of them? What did they do? They fell on each other's shoulders and wept like children broken hearted and crushed. What are the Jewish people going to do when they see Jesus in the flesh? Zechariah answers in 12:10, "They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son". And all Israel shall mourn for seven days, because they did not see Jesus for who he was.
In the closing, in the theatre of your mind, look at the Son of God on the cross. He is naked. Spittle is on his face. He has a crown of thorns. His side has been ripped open by a Roman sword. He has a sign over his head mocking him, "The king of the Jews". Listen to his final cry of agony, "My God, my God". That's the only time he called his Father, "God". Every other time, it was "My father". But now it is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? At that very moment, freeze that picture in your mind. He looks like an absolute failure. His disciples have scattered. And Rome has won again. But on that third day when he walked out of that tomb the conqueror of death, hell and the grave, he looks at you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you.
From the balconies of heaven, he's saying, "I am the master of the storm. I am in the boat with you. I am still the way maker. I am still the champion of the cross. I am still the truth, the way, the life. I am the conqueror of death, hell and the grave. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. I am the great physician. I am the great I am. I am the master of the storm. I am the anchor of your soul. I am the conqueror of wind and waves. I am the mighty God, the Prince of Peace. Lift up your head and rejoice: the storm is over. I'm in the boat with you. We'll reach the other side". Give him praise in the house of God!
How many of you here, some of you watching by television, you need for God to heal your heart, your mind, your body? You've been miserable so long: you don't know how to feel good again. God can give you a new song and he can give you hope for tomorrow. If that describes you, lift your hands right where you are. Let's pray this prayer together. You're watching by television, wherever you happen to be, pray this prayer.
Heavenly Father, I come before your holy throne, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I ask you, Father, to help me through this storm. Help me get past the failures in my life. Lord Jesus Christ, let my hopes and dreams be reborn. Let me sing a song of joy again. Let this midnight of suffering and endless pain be over forever. In Jesus' name, I receive it today. Amen.