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Joyce Meyer - Unshakeable Trust



Well, how many of you are going through something pretty difficult right now in your life, something that you are really needing to trust God about, amen? You know, we trust God for things that we want, which we all do. But we also trust God when we're going through things, and it's that trusting him that allows us to go ahead and enjoy our lives even while we don't yet have everything that we would like to have. See, part of the beauty of being a believer is that you can have a problem and still enjoy your life. You can have a problem and still have peace. Jesus said, "My peace I leave with you, not as the world gives do I give unto you, but my own special peace I give to you". And then he says, "So, stop allowing yourselves to be upset and disturbed".

Well, he has a responsibility and we have a responsibility. And you know, reading is so good. How many of you try to do a little bit of reading on a regular basis? You know, I've been encouraging people, even if you just take 30 minutes a day and read, you'll be amazed how much you will learn over a one-year period of time. And it doesn't always have to be something brand new that you're learning. A lot of times, it can just be being refreshed in something that you already know. I'm sure that today is not going to be the first message that you've ever heard on trusting God, but that doesn't mean that we don't need to hear it again, and again, and again, and again, and again. And I always tell people, "If you don't want to hear what I have to say today, I'll be happy to talk to myself because I need all of it on a regular basis". Amen?

So we're going to get started. 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 23. I actually have this scripture on a sign, and it's hanging on my office wall, that's how much I like it. "When he was reviled and insulted, he did not revile or offer insult in return. When he was abused and suffered, he made no threats of vengeance, but he trusted himself and everything to him who judges fairly". Just imagine how amazing life would be if we could trust God all the time in everything, all the time in everything.

Well, Jesus was probably mistreated more than any person on earth has ever been mistreated, and yet, he didn't really trouble himself about it because he trusted God to be his vindicator and to bring justice in his life. One of the character traits about God that I love the most is that the Bible says he is a God of justice. You know what that means? He makes every wrong thing right. Have you ever been mistreated by somebody? Oh, maybe you're working real hard at work, but you're the one that always gets looked over for the promotion. You don't get the pay raises that you should get, and maybe somebody else that's not working nearly as hard as you seems to get all the things that you feel like you deserve. Has that ever happened to anybody? No? It happened to me.

You know what? Those are the great times to say, "God, I'm going to trust you to be my vindicator". If we can trust God to give to us what he wants us to have, instead of looking to people to give us what we want, life is going to get a lot better. If you've got your eyes on somebody else and you're expecting them to give you what you want, you need to get them off that person, then you need to get them on God. Amen? Because God is the only one that can give us true promotion in our lives. "When he was reviled and insulted, he did not revile or offer insult in return". When he was mistreated, when he was abused, when people treated him wrong, instead of getting all upset, and trying to get them back, and making his own plan about how he was going to handle things, he trusted himself and everything to him who judges fairly.

Now, if you watch my TV program or if you've read many of my books or any of my books, you know that I was abused by my dad when I was a child. And although my mother knew about it because one time she caught him, one time I told her, she didn't do anything about it because she lived in absolute fear. So, I was abused by my dad, abandoned by my mother, and really, really mistreated in the early years of my life. Nobody should have to go through the kinds of things that many of us do go through in our lives. And I married the first guy that came along because I thought nobody would ever want me, and then he ran around with other women, and he was a petty thief, and so the first 23 years of my life, I didn't know much but pain and mistreatment. Well, I came out of that bitter, and resentful, and blaming. And although I was a Christian, you know, you can be a Christian and still have all those bad attitudes and all those things rolling around in you that don't need to be rolling around in you.

So, we don't want to just trust God to go to heaven someday when we die. Christianity is about a lot more than that. We want to trust God for everything in our lives, all the time. Amen? Trust him for everything all the time. And one of the things that we want to trust God for is to be our vindicator, to take wrong things and make them right. Well, when I finally found that out and I started really trusting God to vindicate me, I don't have time to tell you all the stories, but it's amazing the things that God has done for me in my life, and the positions that he has put me in, the influence he has allowed me to have. And I know that I know that only God could do it. And I'll tell you, if you will... Now, listen to what I'm going to say. If you will stop trying so hard to take care of yourself, and stop trying so hard to make sure that you get what's due you, and stop being mad at everybody who's not giving you what you want, and you give God a chance, you will be amazed at what God will do in your life. Let me tell you something, God can give you favor and put you places where no man can ever put you and where you certainly could not put you. Right?

So, any time that somebody mistreats you, the first thing you want to do is say, "God, I refuse to be mad at them because that's only going to steal my life, but I am going to trust you to bring justice into my life". In Isaiah 61, verses 7 and 8, some of the scriptures that I held on to for many years, it really brought me through a lot of the things that I went through. "Instead of your former shame, you'll have a twofold reward. Instead of dishonor and reproach, your people shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore, in their land they shall possess double what they forfeited and everlasting joy shall be theirs". You know, when the enemy comes against you one way, the Bible says he has to flee before you seven ways. What man takes away from you, God will give you back double and more if you put your trust in him. Is there anybody in the building today that would like to have double for your trouble? God is a rewarder. He's not a punisher. God is a rewarder, the rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

So, when you get your eyes off of what everybody has done to you and you get your eyes on what God can do for you, he becomes your rewarder, and you will be amazed at all the things that God will do for you. God has given me a position, many times, in the midst of men. I was the first and the only woman that ever sat on the board of our church, and this was when I was in a large denominational church where women didn't really do those kinds of things. And I found that over and over in my life, I'll be doing these things where I'm the only woman doing it, and I asked God one time, "How do I end up in these positions all the time"? And you know what he put in my heart? "Men abused you, and I will always give you a place of honor among men". And see, I'm glad you're happy for me, but I want the same thing to happen to you. I'm not here today just to tell you my great story of success, but I want you to know that God is no respecter of persons. And what he does for one person, he will do for another, but it's not going to happen if we don't trust him.

Trust him. And trusting God means that we stop trying to make things happen ourselves and we wait on God. How many love waiting? We wait on God, it's a painful word even to say it. And God doesn't do it when we'd like him to or the way we'd like him to, but I can promise you today if you will keep your eyes on God and trust him to be your recompense, and to be your reward, and to be your vindicator, you will be get double blessings for your former trouble. Amen? How many of you feel like that... Let's put it like this. You know, when you've been hurt, there's a feeling there that, "Well, somebody owes me. I'm due something. I want to be paid back". You ever felt that? And so, if we're not careful, we can go through life with this little chip on our shoulder. You're like, "Well, the world owes me something". But the thing that we do that is a mistake many times is we're trying to collect from people that can't pay us.

I did that for a long time. Because men had mistreated me, I was trying to collect from all the rest of the men in the world. And so, I had an attitude toward men that wasn't healthy. And even when Dave and I got married, and he was a wonderful husband, I had been hurt by so many men that I just had an attitude, and I was trying to get Dave to pay me back for what somebody else had taken away from me. And Matthew 18 says that when the guy was trying to get the person who owed them the money to pay him back, the Bible says, "And he could not pay. And he could not pay". And boy, when I got ahold of that, I thought, "People can't pay me back. Nobody can pay me back for the childhood that my father stole from me. I can never go back and do that childhood over". But you know what? God can make me have such a wonderful life in my 40s, and 50s, and 60s, and 70s where I'm at now. Is anybody here ready to let God pay you back? All right, well, you know what? Then you have to do things God's way and not man's way.

Listen to this scripture, Psalm 147:3, "He heals the brokenhearted and he binds up their wounds, curing their pains and their sorrows". You know, broken hearts do mend, bodies do heal, disappointment turns into new dreams, and the end of one thing can open the door for something new if we will just put our trust in God. You know what? If you're still here on the planet, God's got a plan for you. I said if you're still here, you're breathing, God's got a plan for you. He's not finished with you yet.

Now, many of you go to this church, and so you know pastor Charles, of course. Well, amen. I can tell you guys really love him, and so that tells me that he's pretty good at what he's doing, amen? And I know from personal conversations how committed he is to this church and just how meaningful it is to him. And I've had the blessing of knowing him for a few years. We don't get to spend a lot of time together, but I do know him to some degree. And I was around when the terrible tragedy happened where his beautiful young wife died with cancer. And I asked him if it was all right for me to talk about this a little bit, and he said that it was because he said something to me after that happened that I thought was absolutely amazing.

And I would like it to be something that you think about as we go through this message today. What happened to her should not have happened. You're not going to find a reason for that. You're not going to find a place to put it in some neat little package where we can all understand it and feel okay about it. It just was a terrible thing. She was a woman of faith, a godly woman, helping other people. They're pastoring a church, she gets sick, everybody prays expecting miracles, and God takes her home. By the way, I do want to tell you that she is healed today because the minute that you pass into heaven - I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

And, you know, so often when we pray for healing and we don't get it, or we pray for somebody else to be healed and they don't get it, that's really not accurate. They do get it. They do, because the minute that you pass from here to your heavenly home, everything is made perfect. In the twinkling of an eye, in a moment, everything is made perfect. And I don't know what is the best that I have ever looked or the best condition I've ever been in, but whatever it is, that's the way I'm going to live for eternity when I get to heaven. No wrinkles, no fat, no cellulite, nothing like that. It's all just going to be good stuff, amen? Won't it be nice, ladies? We don't have to be on a diet and count calories in heaven. I'm sure the food there is going to have no calories in it and be very good. But he said to me, and I can't imagine the pain of what he and his family went through and even the church here.

You know, it's one thing to trust God in the light, it's another thing to trust God in the dark. It's one thing to trust God when you think you got it figured out, and you're getting what you want, and you can understand what's going on. It's another thing entirely to not get what you ask for, to have no understanding at all of why or what is happening, and still be able to say, "God, I trust you". That's the kind of faith we're after, and you know what? That's the kind of faith that the world needs to see. That's the kind of faith the world needs to see. People are looking at us. You put a bumper sticker on your car, people are watching your character. Come on. And they don't want to just see your bumper sticker, they want to see the fruit in your life of what does it really mean to be a Christian.

And so, pastor Charles told me this, and if this is your home church you've probably heard it, but we're not only talking to people here today, but millions of people all over the world by TV, people that are going through horrendous things, people that are hurting, people that have had unfair things happen to you, and it seems to you like God's forgotten all about you. Well, he hasn't. He hears you and he sees you. Can I tell you today that you're not invisible? God knows exactly where you're at, and he knows exactly what's going on in your life, and he knows exactly how much you can take and how much you can't take. And he may not be early, but he won't be late. God will deliver you at just the right time. Come on, this day is about hope.

Let's talk about reasoning for a minute. How many of you have the kind mind where you just like to figure things out? Well, I have to admit, I do too. You know, my favorite types of movies are mysteries. I honestly think if I wouldn't have been a preacher, I could have been a detective. Seriously, it's like I just love to figure it out. I love the surprise and the mystery of it. And so, it's hard for me not to get into trying to figure out why this happened or why that happened, why something else happened. And, you know, I had the privilege of being part of what is known as the word and faith movement. And I've been a Christian for a long time, but there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the church and lot, just a lot of teaching about faith and a lot of teaching about healing.

And, you know, it was wonderful. It was a wonderful time, but I also want to tell you, and I do it respectfully, some of the truths that we're being taught were taken to such an extreme that they then began to be a problem, even like the teaching that God wanted to bless us, and he does. And God wants us to have our needs met, and he wants us to have an abundance of things. Why would he want all the sinners in the world to have all the good stuff while we sit around and just have nothing all the time? God wants to bless us, but he doesn't want, nor will he bless us beyond our level of spiritual maturity. I guess I better say that again. Think about a tree. First when a tree is planted before any fruit comes on the branches, a long time has to be taken for that tree to get deep roots in the ground, otherwise when the fruit does come on the branches, the good stuff that you can see, when that comes on the branches, it will cause the whole thing to topple over and fall.

If God gives any person more than they are spiritually ready to handle, he's not helping them, he's hurting them. And so, don't just pray for God to give you everything you want. Pray that God will give you what you can handle and pray that he will never give you more than what you can handle because stuff can take us away from God if we're not ready to handle it. So, the teaching was great. It taught me that God wanted to bless me, and I learned how to believe God for greater things than ever before. And I learned how to give, and I saw a lot of amazing things happening in my life. But if I'm truthful, I think we're still dealing with some of the results of selfishness in Christians that that time in church history caused. People today are addicted to their own comfort.

You know who Watchman Nee is, anybody ever heard of him? Well, he's a Chinese Christian that wrote a lot of stuff that you better be ready to grow up before you try to read it. If you think I'm straight forward, you ought to read a little bit of his stuff. And I don't necessarily agree with his views on everything, but really, his material really helped me see some of the imbalance of some of the things that I believed because one of the other things that we were taught was that, really, if you had enough faith, you wouldn't have to have problems. Well, that's just not biblical. And so, when somebody would get sick or somebody would be having problems in their life, back then we always felt like we had to find a reason for it. "Well, they must have sin in their life. They must have not had enough faith". And I hate all of that, hate all of that. Just because you're having problems, that doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong. The Bible says that the righteous will suffer. And we can't always figure that out, but there's no promise in the word that we're gonna always have everything coming up roses all the time. What God does promise us is that he will do the best thing for us at the time, but he also sometimes wants to use us to be a blessing to other people.

Is anybody home today in the house? You know, I don't know what it is you want to hear every time you go to church, but one of the things that Watchman Nee said that I really like is he said, "We don't go to church to be entertained". And I can tell you, I can tell you from running conferences, and we get in these big arenas, and you have thousands and thousands of people come. And not everybody, but people want a show. And when you're in this position, it's heartbreaking sometimes when you really want to get in deeper with somebody and teach them how to grow up in God, and how to really serve God, and all they want you to do is entertain them. And so, keep in mind every time you go to church, you don't have to be entertained. You don't even have to like what the preacher's saying. That doesn't mean you don't need it just 'cause you don't like it. We don't go to church to be entertained. We go to grow up, amen? I think that every time we go to church, we should hear something that encourages us and convicts us, something that makes us feel better and something that makes us want to grow and go on.

So, I thank God for what I learned about faith, but the thing that I'm trying to get across to you today is you can be a great man or a great woman of faith and that doesn't mean that you are never gonna have problems. It doesn't mean that you're always gonna get everything the way that you want it. I think it takes one level of faith to believe God and get what you want, but... This is my opinion, I think it takes a greater faith to believe God for what you want and not get it and still love God just as much. So, let me just say, if you're mad at God today, you're mad at the wrong person because he is not the author and source of your problems, the enemy is, amen? And the only way to get the devil back is to do as much good as you can possibly do every day of your life. I can tell you that every time I get up on the pulpit and I open my mouth to preach a sermon, I'm getting the devil back for what he did to me in my childhood. And every time pastor Charles gets up and he ministers the word, and I know you're starting a satellite church now, and him and his children are gonna be involved in that.

Do you have any idea how mad it makes the devil when he throws his greatest punch and you just take it to another level? We're going to keep going on with God. Trust is a belief in someone or something, a belief that they're rEliable, good, honest, and effective. Now, got a whole bunch of stuff can't get to. So, here's the question: "What if I don't get what I want"? Hmm, well, better have a backup plan, I guess. See, that's our problem sometimes. We don't get all the way in with God. We just get in far enough that if he don't come through, we can still take over and find a way to get what we want. That fear of not getting what we want keeps us from totally trusting God, totally trusting God. "Well, what if I totally trust God and I don't get what I want"? Well, then, I guess you weren't supposed to have it. You know, somewhere along the line, we have to realize that we don't know everything and everything we want may not be the best thing for us.

And another thing that I think we need to remember is we're not the only person on the planet that God's interested in doing anything with and for. He doesn't make all of his decisions just based on what I want, but he makes his decisions based on a lot of things. You know, Jesus said, "Father, if you're willing, take this cup from me". He didn't want to go through what he was gonna go through. You know, we don't have to want to do everything that we do, we just have to know it's the will of God and be willing to do it. "Father, remove this cup from me, nevertheless, your will be done and not mine". Well, you know what? The Father didn't enjoy watching his son suffer like that. He may have preferred to save him from it, but he didn't because that wasn't all he needed to consider. When Jesus was dying on the cross, you know what the Father was thinking about? Yes, he saw the suffering that his Son was going through, but you know what he was thinking about? You and me, and all the millions of people that would ever live that had to have a Savior.

Come on. Maybe when I was that little 10 or 12 year old girl and I was praying for God to get me out of that situation, maybe he had all the other millions of women that would be sexually abused in mind, and he wanted somebody that would be bold enough to get up in a pulpit and tell them. See, for years and years and years, one of the reasons why my mother didn't help me in the situation I was in was because she couldn't face the scandal. Nobody talked about sexual abuse. Nobody talked about incest in families. You just didn't talk about it. You didn't tell anybody and you didn't talk about it. Well, somebody needed to talk about it and God picked me. But I had to know what I was talking about. And, of course, now people talk about all the time. It's just, it's out there and people are getting the help that they need. But when you're asking God to do something, he doesn't just always just have you in mind. There may be things involved that you just don't understand yet.

We live life forward, but we understand it backward, and what you don't understand now, you may understand at some point. But you may never understand, and that's okay too, amen? Romans 11:33 and 34. "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, and unsearchable) are his judgments (his decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are his ways (his methods, his plans)! For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood his thoughts, or who has ever been his counselor"? So, if I would have walked in here today and if I would have said, how many of you are in a time of confusion right now in your life? There would have been a lot of hands up. And you know what? You can't get confused if you refuse to get into reasoning. That's the only thing that confused us is when we try to figure things out that only God knows and he's not ready to tell yet.

So, how about if we get comfortable not knowing? Hmm, come on, I already told you don't make me work hard. How about if we get comfortable not knowing? How about if we trust God so much that we don't have to know? Boy, I hope there's some people watching by television that you're getting this. How about if you just don't have to know? See, I think that's what real trust is. I don't have to know because God knows, and I trust that he will take care of me. "Why, God, why? When, God, when? How, God, how"? Come on. How about if we just stop all that and have a whole bunch of peace and a bunch of joy?

Joyce: Well, we all need to come to the place where we can be comfortable not knowing everything in life, but instead trusting God in everything. Trust is something that we all want to be stronger in in our relationship with God. And many of you have shared your questions on trust with us. We want to take some of the time right now and answer some of those questions today. Well, Ginger, did anybody have a question about how to trust God?

Ginger: So many good ones, so many good ones. And I want to ask you about this topic in particular because you've said that you feel this really is the topic that answers nearly all of our questions and issues in life, being able to trust God. Why is this so important to you?

Joyce: Well, somebody asked me recently how I could trust God, or even expect people to trust God, when there's so many things in the world, and even in our own lives, that don't make any sense, things that...

Ginger: And that's how most of these questions are exactly.

Joyce: Things that seem unfair and unjust, and first of all, nobody has all those answers, only God has all of them. But I think I've kind of come to the conclusion that I really only have two options, and I think really we all do. We can either go crazy, just be frustrated and upset all the time, worried, tormented, fretting, anxious: or we can trust God. And after trying both, I've decided that trusting God is better. You know, whatever our lives hold, we do need to try to enjoy them as much as we possibly can. And when we have a problem that we cannot solve, the only really viable option is to give it to the person who can solve it, which is God. I do want to say before I try to answer any of these questions that talking about trusting God is much easier than doing it when you're the one with the problem. And what I'm gonna suggest that people do, I have to do myself on a regular basis when I have things come up.

Ginger: Yeah, that's a great point. Well, here's a question from Kimberly in Philadelphia. She says, "How do I let go of the fear associated with giving every aspect over to God? I love him so much and want him to be over all aspects of my life and trust him, so I decide to surrender it, but that fear can be just physical".

Joyce: Well, and I understand that. You know, fear actually does bring physical symptoms. And a scripture that I go back to is where David said, the Psalmist David, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in you". So, he didn't even say that he didn't have fear. He didn't say that he didn't feel fear, but he was honest with God about it and said, "I feel afraid". You know, I have to talk my way through things sometimes. "You know, Lord, I know this fair is ridiculous". Trusting that God is good is a big thing for me. You know, that God is good. I mean, he just he is inherently good. He can't do anything that's not good. And so, we want to control things because we want them to turn out the way we want them to. But to be honest, sometimes what we think we want is not even really what we want. And so, I don't think we have to be so concerned about, "I'm feeling fear," as we do about not letting that fear control us. You know, I teach a lot about fear and that fear, we're always gonna feel fear from time to time, but courage is doing what you know you should do when fear is present. And also your thoughts. You know, all of our feelings are connected to our thoughts. It amazes me how true that is, and I find it more and more all the time. So, I think sometimes we think about our problems too much, Ginger. We just, we get it on our mind and we think about it, and think about it, think about it and it just gets stuck and so then it's hard to get rid of the emotions. And so, all I can say to this lovely woman is, we're all fighting the same fight together, but we're not gonna let fear win.

Ginger: Yeah, good. Okay, Eric would like to know, "I know as head knowledge that I can trust God. I believe his word to be true, and I know that he has come through for me in a lot of ways, but I don't always feel it. I know that my feelings don't always tell me the truth, but am I really trusting God when I'm still worried anyway"?

Joyce: Well, I think that trusting God, sometimes you have to fight the good fight of faith. And there's basically, sometimes we all feel like two people. You know, we have the spiritual side of us that is trusting God and believing the word. And then we have the natural side of us which our enemy satan plays on, which is done by dumping foolish things in our head that then cause our feelings to go haywire. So, yes, I think that you can have some of those issues and still be trusting God. Trust is a decision and sometimes I'll just tell God, "You know, I can decide to put my trust in you, but I can't do anything about my feelings. Only you can do something about that". So, I have a teaching, actually a book called, "Living beyond your feelings". And, you know, even just myself in the last couple of weeks, I've had to do that on several occasions. You know, I think the key is to not let the way you feel control you, to believe what the word says, and here again, just be honest with God. "This is the way I feel, but I know my feelings don't always tell me the truth. I'm putting my trust in you, and I believe you're gonna work things out". And, you know, another thing about trusting God that I think probably answers a lot of these questions is that he said, "My mind tells me I can trust God, but my feelings tell me something different". I believe that the more experience we have with God, the easier it is to trust God. I find it much easier now to trust God than I did 40 years when I first started my journey with God. And I find that people who have been through difficult things, and, you know, we all find out eventually that we do come out okay on the other side. When I think about the things that I've been through in the past and how frightening they were, and yet I'm still here. I'm still serving God, he did work them out. God is good, and if we just don't give up, we'll get to where we need to be.

Ginger: Yeah, I think what you said is very reassuring, that he is trusting. We are trusting even when we feel these questions that...

Joyce: You know, like David said, "What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in you". Trust is not something... Yeah, you put it in him. It's a decision that you make, "I will trust the Lord".

Ginger: All right, well, Shanice says, "I believe in God, and I know he can do all things, but my trust issues are so deep that I do not wait on God. I try to fix things myself, even though I know better. How can I learn to trust God fully"?

Joyce: Well, our little flesh is just so full energy, it just always wants something to do. It seems like we have this little record playing in our head, "What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do"?

Ginger: Yeah, how can I fix this?

Joyce: Here again, I think experience with God, learning to be honest, sometimes the more we do, the more length of time we add to how long we're gonna have our problem. You know, my flesh is very full of energy. And I'm the type of person that would always like to find something to do, and not always nearly as patient as I should be. And you really can just make the mess worse. And so, here again, it's just growing. It's learning. And you know how we learn? Mostly, we learn by our mistakes. I was reading a book about how to hear from God, and he said, "The biggest question I'm always asked is, how do we hear from God? How do we learn to hear from God"? He said, "You learn by making mistakes". And so, here again, every time you get involved in something that you should be leaving alone and you see that you just made the mess worse, then the next time it gets a little bit easier to say, "You know what? As hard as it is, I'm gonna stay out of that, and I'm gonna wait on you to do what needs to be done".

Ginger: Waiting is hard.

Joyce: It is hard. It's hard, and it's harder for some of us than others. My husband...

Ginger: Let me just say for me.

Joyce: My husband seems to love it, I don't know. You know, Dave, Mr. laid back, patient Dave. He's like, "Well, we'll see". And I'm like, "I don't want to wait to see. I want to know now. I want to know what's gonna happen".

Ginger: Yeah, okay. Sam asks this question, "How can you put all of your trust in the Lord when you are so full of scars, especially when those scars cause you to create walls that you don't allow anyone, including the Lord, to break down"?

Joyce: Well, it takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of experience with God. You know, I mean, I don't know what he's gone through, but I know that I was abused by my dad growing up, and I had all those walls and all those issues. And it takes time for the soul to be healed. And each time you take a chance and trust God, which you're really not taking a chance when you trust God, but you feel like you are. You feel like you're saying, "Well, if I trust you, and you don't come through, then what"? But really, I think a root of our problem is we're afraid we're not gonna get what we want. "What if what God wants is not what I want"? So, it really comes down to a control issue. And people that have been hurt, like I was raised by parents who obviously didn't care about me. They cared more about what they wanted than what I wanted. And then I'm married when I was 18 years old, the first guy that showed any interest in me, and he didn't, you know? By the time you've had a lot of years of everybody taking advantage of you, even though you may want to trust this good, Heavenly Father that you're hearing about, it takes time to come to the point where you... I remember God told me one time, "You just need to retire from self care and throw yourself a big retirement party". So, we spend so much time trying to take care of ourselves, not realizing that God can do a much better job if we'll let him. None of this is easy. Nobody has any easy answers to trusting God. But like I said, I've come to the point where that really is my only viable option if I want to have any peace at all is to trust God.

Ginger: Well, you said that you've tried it both ways and you found that trusting is the one that really works. What is it about God's character? What is it about what he does in your life that makes that trust pay off?

Joyce: Well, you know, there's a lot of wonderful things about God's character and it's such an amazing thing to study, the character of God. God is good, he's merciful, he's kind. But you know, one of the things, if I were just gonna talk about one thing that is one of my favorite things about God's character that really helps me in trusting God is that God is a God of justice, and that means that he always makes wrong things right.

Ginger: That's great.

Joyce: Don't you love that?

Ginger: I do.

Joyce: So, if somebody treats me wrong, I can either try to go get them back, I can try to talk them into treating me right, which is useless, or I can trust God to be my vindicator. And it may take a while, it may not happen when I want it to. It may not happen the way I want it to. It may not even happen through the person I would like it to happen through. But God is a God of justice and he will always take wrong things and make them right. And no matter what has happened to us, if we put our trust in God, even though it's challenging, if we put our trust in him, ultimately, he will vindicate us and he is our rewarder.

Ginger: That's so good. That's so good. Thank you all for sending your questions in. We appreciate that. Thanks for your answers.

We've had a good start. Last night we talked about dealing with doubt. This morning we talked about a lot of foundational and basic things about trusting God, especially in our challenges in life and not spending all of our time trying to figure things out. And so, this afternoon, I want to get into some of the reasons why we suffer, although we cannot always figure it out, there are some things that we can learn. But first I wanna say that you're never gonna trust anybody if you don't believe that they're trustworthy. And so, in order to trust God, we need to know more about God's character. Studying the character of God is a very good thing to do and it's actually something that I really love to preach on. One of the main things about God is that God is good. You know, if you can't figure anything else out, the devil's bad and God is good, amen? We can do that. And God said, "I set before you life and death, good and evil, choose life that you and your descendants might live".

Now, God is, of course, sovereign and he can do anything he wants to anytime he wants to but when God gave man free choice, he opened up the door for sin to come into the world through making wrong choices. God did not want a bunch of robots that loved him and obeyed him because they had to, he wanted us to make right choices. And so, we want to get into the question this afternoon that so many people have and especially people that maybe are on the fringe, they're kind of looking for a reason not to believe in God, they're looking for a reason not to serve God, but also this can get into the hearts and minds of believers and that is, "Well, if God is good and he can be trusted, then why do we have so much suffering in the world today? Why do bad things happen to good godly people? Joyce, does God cause suffering"?

I get asked these questions. "Well, if he doesn't cause it, does he allow it? If he's sovereign and he can do anything, then why doesn't he stop child abuse, and disease, and world hunger, and things like that? Why do little children suffer with cancer? Why do the good sometimes die young while mean people live to be old? Why did I lose my job and all my retirement? Why did my child die when I was praying for them to be healed"? You know, "Why" can almost drive a person to insanity if they can't come to terms with it. And one of the things that we tried to make very clear this morning is we need to get comfortable not knowing. And if you weren't here this morning, I want to make sure that you get to hear that and even if you were here, I want you to hear it again. We need to get comfortable not knowing because that's part of serving God is even when we don't know, he does and if we have all the answers, there's no reason to trust God, you understand that? If we have all the answers, well, the one thing that makes God God is we don't know what he knows. If we ever knew as much as he did, then we wouldn't need him, we'd have it all figured out.

So, you're never gonna have all the answers. You're always gonna have unanswered questions, and there will be things happen in your life and to other people that you just cannot wrap your brain around and you're gonna have to get comfortable saying, "Well, God, I don't know the answer but I trust you and I trust that if and when I need that answer that you'll give it to me". So, if I try to answer these questions and others like it, if you were to come to me and ask me all those questions, here's what I would have to say to you, I don't know. And I think one of the biggest mistakes that teachers and preachers make is trying to answer questions that they really don't know the answer to because they think they gotta sound smart. And to tell you the truth, I don't have the answer to all these things. I mean, there's some answers that I can give and I am gonna give you some reasons this afternoon why people suffer. If there are things that we can do about it, then we should do it. We can learn from our mistakes and make some changes, but I don't have all those answers. But I'll tell ya what I do know, I do know that I know that I know that God is good, I know that. And just because bad things happen, that certainly is not an invitation for us to blame God.

The reason why bad things happen is because of sin in the world. It's not necessarily our own personal sin, it can be. To be honest, sometimes we have trouble in our life just because we do stupid stuff. Can anybody just agree with me on that? I mean, how much better would life be, for example, if we just followed peace? "I set before you life and death, choose life that you and your descendants might live". How many times do we make bad choices and then when we get ourselves in trouble, we want God to get us out of it and then if he doesn't, we're getting mad at him and if we backtrack, he didn't do what he told us to to start with. Now, that doesn't mean that we lose our relationship with God. That doesn't even necessarily mean that he's mad at us, but we do have a take a fresh look today at what the Bible says about, "If you sowed to the flesh, you'll reap from the flesh, ruin, decay, and destruction. If you sow to the spirit, you'll reap from the spirit, life, and life eternal".

You see, God loves us and that is not based on anything we do or don't do. And when we get ourselves in trouble, it hurts God more than it even hurts us. Let me tell ya something, if you have a child that's in trouble, I heard an interesting statement and I believe it, a mother is never any happier than her most unhappy child. Let me tell ya, when your kids are hurting, you would rather take it on yourself than to watch them go through the things that they go through and especially if it's because of their own bad choices. You're just like, "I just wanna open up your head and cram the truth in you and I don't know why you just won't listen". But sometimes we just have to stand back and let them find out for themselves and sometimes that's what God has to do with us. He tells us what to do, if we don't do it, he still loves us, but there is a principle at work in the earth from Genesis all the way through to the end of time and that is that if you sow a good seed, you're gonna get a good result and if you sow a bad seed, you're gonna get a bad result.

So yes, some of our problems are the result of our own sin but when I have trouble, when I have problems in my life, I've got a good enough relationship with God that I can go to him and say, "Is there something I did that opened the door for this"? Because I wanna learn. You know, sometimes, sometimes I can act dumb and I don't know that I'm acting dumb. Sometimes, I've done something that, you know, God needs to show me because to be honest, sometimes we do things and we do them so quick that we don't even really realize that we did them. One night I was having a real hard time sleeping and I wish I would have asked God this question sooner but I waited till 5 A.M. after tossing and turning all night. "God, what's wrong"? And I mean just like that he showed me somebody that I was rude to the day before and I just, that happened so quick and I just glossed over it so fast, didn't even remember that I did it.

And it really was something I needed to go and apologize to that person for and that wasn't gonna happen if God didn't reveal to me what I had done. And so, in his goodness, he was disturbing my sleep until I got smart enough to say, "What's going on here"? And he showed me, not to make me feel bad but so I could go and take care of it. So, it's smart sometimes to just say, "God, did I open a door here? Is there something that I've done that you need to show me"? If he doesn't show you anything, then don't go on a digging expedition trying to find out what your sin was that caused you to have problems in your life. Can you hear me today? That is the worst thing in the world to do. "Well, God must be punishing me or I must've done something wrong". You know what? God will let you know if there's something you need to see and if he doesn't show you, then you don't need to try to figure it out? Can anybody say, "Amen"?

And so, sometimes our own sin causes our problems. Many times, the sin of other people causes us pain and unhappiness. It was not my sin that caused my father to sexually abuse me, it was his sin and I just was there and got hurt by it. It was my mother's passivity and her refusing to do her duty and do anything about it that caused my pain. And yes, that's unjust and yes, that's unfair but here's the good news, once a person is old enough to start making their own choices, my father's bad choices hurt me and I wish that God would have got me out of it, but he didn't, however, as soon as I was old enough to start making my own choices, every good choice that I made started reversing the results of every bad choice that he made. Did you hear me?

So, instead of spending the rest of your life being mad and bitter because somebody didn't treat you right and spending all your life trying to figure out why, why don't you just leave all that with God and trust him to do something else that I know that he does and that is he works good out of anything in our life, no matter how bad it was, if we trust him to do it. So, two things I know about God, God is good, the devil's bad, God is good. And no matter what happens in our life, if we trust God, he will take it and work something good out of it for our benefit. It doesn't have to be good for God to get good out of it, amen? And so, my dad hurt me, just like many of you have been hurt, many of you've been mistreated and chances are you may be again.

You know, we're in the world and there's a lot of mean people out there that are very selfish and self-centered. And to be honest, we hurt other people too sometimes and we don't even know that we did it or it's maybe on a day when we really just don't care all that much because we're going through something ourself and we're not being sensitive to the way other people feel. And so, everything doesn't always go the way that we want it to go in our life but that doesn't make God bad. So, we can suffer because of our own sin. We can suffer because of somebody else's sin, or a lot of times, and this is just a lot of it, we just suffer because of the sin principle that's in the world. I mean, I don't even think that we can imagine the difference there will be in the atmosphere of heaven compared to the atmosphere that we live in here. I don't think we even understand the pressure that we're under and the oppression that's around us.

Let me tell ya something, if you work in some worldly profession and you work with a lot of people that are unbelievers and a lot of gossip, and a lot of criticism, a lot of complaining, and murmuring, and grumbling, and fault finding and, you know, a lot of people are out drunk the night before, now they're at work and they're mad, couldn't get any sleep, so on and so forth, if you worked there for 5 years and you came to work for me, I mean, one of the things I tell our employees, and they all recognize this, just the atmosphere because every place you work, there's a culture. And so, we have built a culture in the Joyce Meyer Ministry of being positive, and being able to trust each other, and happy people, and we don't put up with strife. If you're gonna work for me, and you're gonna cause strife, you're not gonna work there very long because you cannot have strife and also have success, amen?

And one of the things that pastor Mike Shepard does is he does rotating teachings in the departments on our core values at Joyce Meyer Ministries, which is if you're gonna do it, do it right or don't do it at all, be an excellent person because God is excellent, be a person of integrity, keep your word, do what you say you're gonna do, use wisdom with God's money. The money that he gives us, we don't waste it, we use wisdom with it, and we keep the strife out of our personal lives, and we keep the strife out of the ministry. There is no basis for me to ask God to bless my ministry if I'm not gonna do those basic things that he asks us to do.

Let me tell ya something, so many homes are full of strife. I mean, you can come to church and put a smile on your face, get your church face out when you hit the parking lot, "Praise the Lord, thank you, Jesus, glory to God, we're so happy, yappy, yappy happy," and get in the car and fight all the way back home. Well, that's, you know, come on, I know, Dave and I used to do it. We did it for years. Fight all the way to church. I mean, I can remember standing right down here where pastor Charles is sitting, that was my seat at the church that I went to years ago. And I can remember having my hands lifted up, mouthing the words on the overhead thinking, if Dave thinks I'm cooking him anything to eat today, he's got another thing coming.

♪ I bring the sacrifice ♪
♪ Of praise into ♪
♪ The house of the Lord ♪
♪ Boop, boop, boop ♪

Come on, how many of you know that song, you know? "Now, go and hug somebody and tell them you love them with the love of the Lord". And I'm thinking, if we go home and he turns that stupid football game on one more time, one more Sunday, there's gonna be trouble in the house. So, I mean that's just a bunch of phony bologna religion. It's not, I mean, all we're doing is throwing the door wide open to the enemy and things like that. And so, there's just our own sin, there's the sin of other people, there's just the sin principle in the world. And so, we don't even begin to realize, I mean, I don't wanna leave before my time but I can't wait to get to heaven and just see how wonderful it's gonna be to not hurt anywhere, amen, nowhere.

I walk 5 miles a day and that's one of the things that helps me stay strong. And my daughter came over to walk with me a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday and something was bothering her, something was hurting her. And she said, "How are you today"? You know, 'cause I've in the last 3 years, I've had both hips replaced. You know, it's so great today, if you wear something out, you can just get a replacement part. I mean, they just can replace everything today. I mean, you can get your shoulder replaced, your ankle replaced, you knees replaced, man. You can get heart transplants. It's just pretty cool, you know, however when our time's up, there's nothing we can do about it. But anyway, so, you know what I mean, I've had back problems different times in my life, so on and so forth. So, you know, yada, yada, that's just part of life.

And so, something was hurting her and she mentioned it and she said, "How are you today? Is everything okay"? I said, "Oh, I don't know. You know, it's always something, one thing or another. I don't pay any attention to it, I just keep on going". And so, we don't even know what it's gonna be like to have a glorified body and to not have anything that hurts, or anything that bothers us, and to be in an atmosphere of total and complete love and trust. So, let me tell ya something, it's a little harder to live in this world and be happy than what we might think it is sometimes just because of all the junk going on around us. Can anybody say "Amen" to that? I mean, if you watch television today, you better do it with a remote control in your hand so you can fast forward past all the stuff that you don't want to poison your soul. Thank you for your good response.

So, there's a lot of different reasons why things happen to us and we can ask God for some explanation for some things but we're not ever gonna get the answer to all those things so... Say, "God is good. The devil's bad, and God works good out of anything if we trust him". How many of you believe that and you've experienced that in your life? Man, I've seen that over and over and over and over. Okay, let's talk about some reasons why we suffer. How many of you want to at least eliminate some of the things if you can, amen? 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Thank God in everything," wow, "No matter what the circumstances might be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus the revealer and mediator of that will".

You know, being thankful for what we do have really helps us get through the times when we don't have what we'd like to have. I'm gonna say it again, being thankful for what we do have helps us make it through the times when it's difficult because we have needs that are not being met yet. Our words of gratitude, I wrote this down and I colored it in 'cause I said it and I liked it. Our words of gratitude in the face of suffering, especially unjust suffering, are a stronger proof of our trust in God more than any other thing that I know of. When you're going through something unjust, unfair, unkind, it's just not right, and you can still thank God on those days and really mean it, that's a very strong proof that you have your trust in God.

Psalm 103:20 says that angels hearken to the Word of God, they don't hearken to our complaining. You've got a lot of angels that you could put to work in your life by just complaining a lot less and giving a lot more thanks. We're all so much more blessed than what we think that we are many times, amen. It was never God's intent for people to suffer. When he put Adam and eve in the garden, he had great plans for nothing but their joy and good days. It wasn't God that messed it up. It was people that messed it up. We've got to quit blaming God for things that he's not responsible for. Don't ever say when you have a problem, "Well God, don't you love me"? Don't ever say that.

In romans 8 it says, "Don't let anything separate you from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus, not trouble, or trials, or seemingly unfair things". Don't ever say, "Well God, don't you love me"? The very fact that he sent Jesus to die for your sins is proof enough that he loves you to last us a whole entire lifetime. And I know there are a lot of people, especially watching by TV, and maybe you don't know as much about the Bible as some of the people in this room. And to be honest, we're glad to be here to preach to them and them being here is important, but you are also important.

And one of the main reasons why I'm doing this is because of all the numbers of people that we can reach today through the media. And I want you to know that irregardless of what you're going through, God sees you, he knows you, he cares about you. He's got a good plan for your life, and God is not the source of your problems. The thief, satan, only comes to kill, steal, and destroy. But Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows". And God will help you if you will let him.

"A wise man suffers much less than a fool". Proverbs 18:6-7, I'm gonna talk to you for a minute about our words. "A self-confident fool's lips bring contention, and his mouth invites a beating". You know, that's actually just worth reading again. "A self-confident fool's lips bring contention," starts arguments, starts fights, causes strife, causes problems. How many times have you said something dumb, or I'll just blame it on me. How many times have I said something dumb? 'cause I know you don't do that. And I've just started some big ordeal with somebody, and just thought later, "Why didn't I just keep my mouth shut"?

It's so hard for us to just keep our mouth shut. I often say God gave us two ears and one mouth. That must mean we're supposed to listen more than we talk, but we fail to do that. Proverbs 12:18, "There are those who speak rashly". That means they just say whatever floats around in their head and they don't really give any thought to what they're about to say. "There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing". Isn't that good? Proverbs 18:21, "The power of life and death is in the tongue," and get this, "And those who indulge it must eat the fruit of it".

Uh-oh, come on, I'm not making this up. This is real stuff. You know, I didn't know this. I was a Christian for many years and nobody told me this. And I don't care how many times you've heard messages about the power of your words, you're gonna get a little refresher course this afternoon. Because it's one of the areas that we have one of the biggest problems with is we just say a bunch of dumb stuff, and then we get in trouble, and we're mad at God because he's not fixing it. We have to be especially careful how we talk when we're under pressure, how we talk when things aren't going the way we want them to go. In John 14:30, I love this, what a lesson this is. It was getting close to the time when Jesus was gonna begin to go into his suffering in Gethsemane and he was trying to convey to the disciples some of the things that were getting ready to happen. And in John 14:30, he said, "I'm not gonna talk with you much more after this, because the wicked one is coming. And he has no part in me".

Now, what are we gonna make out of that other than Jesus said, "Look, what's going on right now is really important. The decisions that I make now, there's a lot based on these decisions". And so, even Jesus in his humanity decided that he was gonna just be quiet during his time of suffering, because he did not wanna open a door for the enemy that would give him any access to anything that was going on. How many of you think sometimes when you're going through trouble, you'd just be so better off to just go lock yourself in a room somewhere and just not say anything to anybody? Oh, we're not done with you yet. We've still got tonight to go. And then I love this, in Isaiah 53:7, "He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted, he was submissive and he opened not his mouth: like a lamb led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth".

Now, how many years did I read those scriptures and I didn't have a clue what that meant? And I think it means exactly what it says. When Jesus was under pressure, he kept quiet, because although he was God, he also was man. And do you know, he was a God-man, and that's what the Bible calls him, and you know what? That's exactly what we are today. You're a God-man or a God-woman. You have a human flesh, but God lives in you and the Holy Spirit is in you, guiding you and directing you, and he's in me, guiding me and directing me. If we would just slow down just a little bit, and just when the Lord says, "Keep quiet," just keep quiet. How many of you agree with me that you could change a lot of things in your life if you just change some of the stuff you say? Okay, so then, it's not God's fault, is it? A wise man has a lot better things going on in his circumstances than a foolish man does.

Another thing that we should not do that we do, just trying to be real practical here this afternoon. The Bible says in Matthew 7:1-2, "Do not judge and criticize and condemn other people". Well, well, well. Has anybody managed to get to, I don't know, what time is it, 2:30-something, I have no idea. Has anybody managed to get to this time of the day and you haven't judged or criticized anybody yet? I don't know, you may have had some opinions about me already today, and I'm up here trying to help you. Well, that's the second outfit she's had on today. Well, I'm gonna have another one on tonight, so you should come back and see that one.

And you know what? I'm not trying to impress you with my many outfits, but if I wore the same thing all day today, I can tell you something you don't know, I would have the same thing on on TV for 6 days in a row. So, poor me, I have to shop for TV. What a burden I carry. And you know what, here's the other side of it. If you're jealous because I got more than two outfits, then, man, you need to watch my program four times a day. We have so many opinions about what everybody else does, and we get so caught up in what we think other people should do when our own lives are much more of a mess than theirs are. And if you don't need this, I'll preach to me, because I'm pretty opinionated. "Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned".

Okay, so when you hear that somebody's been talking about you, ha ha, boy, it makes you mad. But let me ask you a question. Are they sowing a bad seed or are you reaping off of a bad seed that you sowed in somebody else's life? Oooh. Some of you didn't even get that. We'll make another pass at it. If we gossip, and judge, and criticize other people, then the Bible says that's what we're gonna get back. So, we're so quick to do that, and I really wasn't kidding when I said, "Has anybody made it 'til 2 o'clock this afternoon and you haven't judged or criticized anybody yet"? Chances are there's not too many in here that have. And so, we do it so much, to be honest we don't even really see the problem with it. It's just like we just think that's fine to just try to run everybody else's life.

Well, let me just throw this out. I haven't got to say this for awhile. You know what? You could improve your life a lot if you just mind your own business. Man, we get involved in other people's stuff and it's just so silly. We have so many opinions about what other people should and shouldn't do. Save yourself a lot of trouble and just mind your own business, and if you really feel like that somebody's doing something that's against the Word of God, pray for them and don't go tell somebody else what they're doing. Come on, this is just good, plain, Bible teaching. And so, here's the thing. The devil's not just looking for an open door in your life. He's looking for any little tiny crack he can crawl through. And the more opportunity you have to do things for God, the narrower your path is gonna become.

Can I tell you something? There might be things that you could do and you wouldn't have the same repercussion that I would if I did it because of what I'm doing and what I'm teaching. The Bible says, "Don't let many of you become teachers because there will be much greater condemnation for those that are telling other people what to do if they don't do it". When I stand up here and tell everybody else how they should run their lives, my path gets narrower, and narrower, and narrower. The Bible says in Matthew 7, "Stay on the narrow path that leads to life and off the broad path that leads to destruction". And I remember one time murmuring to God like, "Well, you know, I just feel like my path gets narrower and narrower all the time". He said, "That's right, there's no room on it for your fleshly baggage, so just drop it".

You know, we wanna have all the privileges to still do dumb stuff, and that's just not gonna work. Now, none of this means God doesn't love us. He loves us, but nonetheless, a parent who loves us is not gonna stand by and just let us do all kinds of goofy stuff and not bring any kind of correction in our life. Whom the Lord loves, he chastises. And in revelation, it says, "Be enthusiastic when God shows you your faults". In the amplified Bible in revelation 3, "So be enthusiastic and full of zeal when God shows you your faults, because it's just a sign of his love". Well, sometimes I've thought, "Could you love me a little less? Maybe go love Dave a little more". Wouldn't you like it sometimes if God just loved your spouse a little more than he loves you and tell them what's wrong with them instead of it always being you? Come on, I've gotta have fun at this part if you want me to make it through tonight.

"Don't judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure that you use when you deal out to others, it will be dealt back out to you". Galatians 6:7, "Be not deceived and deluded, God is not mocked. For whatsoever man soweth, that and that only is what he shall reap. If you sow to the flesh, you'll reap from the flesh ruin, decay, and destruction. If you sow to the spirit, you will reap from the spirit life and life eternal".

Now, let me give you an example concerning the words of your mouth. I believe that when we talk the way we're supposed to, being careful not to be critical and downgrading of other people, and be more careful about just saying negative things, I think it adds to our joy. I think we just have happier days. You know, the Bible says, "A man has joy in making a right and an apt answer". And I also believe that sometimes when people are depressed, and they're just having a bad day, and they just feel all down, and they're like, "I don't know what's wrong. I just got a heaviness. I gotta rebuke the devil," I think a lot of it's caused just by the way we talk. Come on, you're not gonna go to church on Sunday, sit at the lunch table at work on Monday and gossip about everybody at the office, and then go home and feel happy. We're in the world, we're not of it. You don't get to act like everybody else, amen? Whoo-hoo, we're having fun.

Okay, now, a person can do everything right, though, and still stuffer. 1 Peter 2:19-20 are some scriptures that I just really wish were not in here. But they are. "For one is regarded favorably (is approved, and acceptable, and thankworthy) if, as in the sight of God, he endures the pain of unjust suffering. After all what kind of glory is there in it if, when you do wrong and you're punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering which results when you do right and that is undeserved, now this is acceptable and pleasing to God". And I wrote out beside that scripture, "Very painful". What kind of a God is it that would be happy if I'm suffering unjustly? It doesn't really say that he's happy if we suffer unjustly: it says he's happy if we keep a good attitude when we suffer unjustly.

Come on, let's don't misread it. He says, "Look, anybody can have a good attitude if things are going their way". But when you're suffering when you're doing right, when you're on your best behavior, and you're the one serving God, and you give offerings, and you walk in the fruit of the spirit, and you help other people, and now the wrong things are happening to you, God is pleased if even in those times if we keep a good attitude and we hold our temper. I'm gonna tell you something that I learned a long time ago and I think this would be up on the top part of the list of some of the things that God's given me to say to people that I think are important and very helpful.

In Galatians, it says, "Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season, you shall reap if you faint not". And we don't know what that due season is. It's whatever time God feels is the right time in our life. And there are times when God will let things go on longer than we would like them to go on because, for whatever reason, you know? He's doing something in us. He's doing something in somebody else. But I want you to remember what I'm getting ready to say. When you can keep doing what's right while you're still not yet getting the right result, you're growing spiritually. Can I give you a secret? When you're growing spiritually, it usually really hurts. Amen?

A lot of things that feel good may feel good, but they don't really maybe help us all that much. But I can tell you, sometimes when you're going through really, really hard stuff, stuff like pastor Charles and his family went through, stuff like I've gone through, stuff like you've gone through, even though you decide to trust God, you can have a pain in your soul that you just sometimes feel like you just can't stand. And one of the things that I've come to realize is it's almost like I can feel that digging a deeper place in my soul for God to come and reside in. You're never alone in your suffering, and when you trust God in your times of suffering, they will never be wasted because God will take them, and he will work something good out of them, and he will make you a better person than what you ever thought that you might possibly be, amen?

How many of you could say right now that you are the person you are because of some of the painful things that you've gone through in your life? I mean, I absolutely have to say that the things that I've gone through is part of what has qualified me to help you. You know, all we gotta do is look at Jesus. It says that the things that he went through, this is in Hebrews 5:8-9. He learned obedience through the things that he suffered. Well, how could you learn obedience when you're never disobedient? Well, he learned the cost of obedience. And you know, obedience is costly. When you do the right thing when it doesn't feel right, there's a pain involved in that, and we do that because we love God. The reward may come later, but right now, I'm doing this. I'm doing the hard thing because I love God.

And then in the amplified Bible in Hebrews 5:8-9, it says that he learned obedience through the things that he suffered, and his completed experience equipped him. Our experience equips us. His experience equipped him to become the author and the source of our salvation. I preached a message earlier this year in a few places, and I really enjoyed it, called, "The value of experience". You know, if nothing else, what you're going through right now is giving you experience, and it's gonna be something that you can tuck away that nobody can ever take away from you. And one thing's for sure, when you go through something hard and you watch God deliver you and you watch him bring that reward in your life, honey, let me tell you, all the pain that you went through and all the waiting that you went through is worth it when all of a sudden God's reward comes in your life. Amen?

Let me tell you something, the people that hurt you will someday have to watch God reward you. Amen? 1 Peter 4:15-16, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or any sort of criminal, or a mischief-maker," and here it comes, "(or a meddler) in the affairs of other people". Uh-huh, see, you thought I was making that up. It's right here in the Bible. Mind your own business. Now, you know the thing that I find interesting with this is all of a sudden we're talking about murderers, and thieves, and criminals, and in the same sentence now it talks about not meddling in the affairs of other people. Well, wait a minute, Jesus. I mean, that's not a big thing. I mean, yeah, I may gossip some and maybe I could mind my own business a little bit more, but I mean, I didn't kill anybody. I didn't rob the gas station. I mean, I'm doing good. No, he's got it all in the same sentence.

You know one of the mistakes that we made in the church is we have sins and then we have acceptable sins. We've got a whole list of these things that we just get so used to doing that we don't even really recognize what they are anymore, and that's why we need to pray, if you're bold enough to pray this, "God, I don't wanna get by with anything". Come on, how much courage do you have? How much do you wanna grow? "God, I don't wanna get by with anything. I wanna be exactly what you want me to be. And if I'm doing things in my life that I'm not seeing, open my blind eyes and unstop my deaf ears," and how does this suit you, "And deal with me however you want to". I'm gonna preach the rest of this turned backwards. Deal with me however you want to, but don't let me get by with nonsense.

Well, you know, sometimes we panic when we get a storm that was not in the forecast, and they're not all in the forecast. But you know what? There's no panic in heaven. God has a perfect plan for us, no matter how bad it might seem. And what we need to do is trust him with our lives. And just be bold enough to pray this, "God, I don't know the answers, but I trust you and I trust that if and when I need the answer, you will give them to me in your timing". Today, we're offering you lots of teaching on "Unshakable trust". You know, when you trust God, you can be happy in any situation. You don't even have to know how the problems gonna be worked out, you just know that it will be.
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