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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - When It's Hard To Trust

Steven Furtick - When It's Hard To Trust

Steven Furtick - When It's Hard To Trust

This is an excerpt from: Winded

"Why did you doubt?" Now, that's a complicated question. "Why did you doubt"? It's not easy to explain the reasons that we begin to doubt what God has called us to do. It's not as easy… You know, people will give you simplified solutions for spiritual struggles: "Just trust the Lord," and stuff like that. What about the trauma that makes it hard for me to trust anybody, especially a God I can't even see? And when you tell me to trust the Lord, how do I know it's him I'm trusting and not just my idea that I had when I stepped out in faith? That is a very complicated question. "Why did you doubt"? Did somebody else's voice get in his head? It's a complicated thing to describe your insecurities to somebody. A lot of people look at you, how handsome you are, how beautiful you are, how strong you are, how gifted you are, how talented you are, how effervescent your personality is… They look at you, and they're like, "She's so effervescent. If I had her effervescence…" "Oh man. Cindy is so strong. Cindy is so steady and so consistent". But it gets windy for Cindy too. "Why did you doubt"?

Why were you having a conversation with yourself this week? "Does it really even matter what I do, and does anybody really care that I do it, and am I even really good at it"? You can get quiet. The Holy Ghost told me this message, so I'm not confused about it. I know. Meanwhile, the Devil tells me the same stuff, so I know what that feels like. I know exactly what that feels like. I can't tell you exactly why I get in that place. I can't tell you exactly all of the psychological and neurological factors. I don't know all of the things that accumulate in one's life to bring you to a point where you begin to doubt. When you're doing so well, you know, really staying on top of it, really doing well with the diet, really doing well staying clean, really doing well… "I'm going to confess the Word. I'm going to think positively. I'm going to have a Bible reading streak. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it".

It's really hard to understand what goes wrong in those moments when you sink. So, rather than answer that question, "Why did you doubt"? (which is never explicitly answered in the text, probably because it's far too complicated to be included in this simple story), I want to answer a simpler question. Instead of asking why he doubted, I want to ask the question…When did he doubt? The answer is in verse 30. "But when he saw the wind…" There is nothing in this text that indicates the wind got stronger at this moment and knocked Peter off his balance. From all appearances, the wind was blowing at the same velocity as it had been blowing the whole time he stepped toward Jesus, and he has walked a long way against the wind. It doesn't say when the wind picked up Peter fell. It doesn't say when the wind gained and started to gust and thrust with momentum Peter fell because the wind got so bad. It doesn't say when the circumstances got worse Peter's faith weakened. Actually, a lot of times, when the circumstances get worse, that's when our faith actually locks in and gets stronger.

Now I know I need God and I can't play around. Now I'm getting to the place of realizing that if I don't have Jesus, I'm going to sink out here. No, no, no. It wasn't when the wind got stronger that Peter fell. It said when he saw the wind, the same wind that had been blowing against him the whole time. It was still blowing, but for so many steps he wasn't paying it any attention because he was locked on Jesus. For so many steps, he wasn't paying attention to how the water was moving. He wasn't paying attention to how it was rocking this way or that way or the waves. He wasn't paying any attention to that. The wind didn't pick up. His focus changed. His eyes shifted. He started looking past the one he was walking toward. When he did, he saw the wind. When did Peter fall? Winded.

When did you start focusing on all of the things that are going wrong so much that you forgot God brought you from a mighty long way? When did you forget that his blood prevailed at Calvary, that one drop was enough? When did you become one of these "Hand in my pocket" Christians? You used to be wild. You used to be a worshiper. You used to be like David. You used to be undignified. You used to cry when we sang about the goodness of God. When did…? Maybe he got tired out there. It's hard walking on the water. It's hard keeping your focus. "I've been rowing all night. I've been feeding people I didn't plan to have come over. I've been smiling at people who came in grumpy. I've been trying to be nice. I've been trying to be kind. I'm winded".

When did your feelings…? I'm not picking on Peter. Man, it's hard enough for me some weeks to get a haircut and pick out a shirt and get up and grab a microphone and preach, so God knows I love him for trying. "But when he saw the wind…" It wasn't like it just started at that moment. That would make sense. But you've been doing this the whole time. We'll walk you through it sometime. We'll walk you through those moments where you quit caring. We'll walk you through those moments where you started believing… I was writing in my journal one day, and the Lord gave me something very powerful and painful to hear. He said, "You stopped believing your faith can change situations. Now you use it as a coping mechanism. You don't put your faith on stuff like you used to".

When did…? Why did he doubt? I don't know. I'm not Peter. Only he can answer that. I don't know why Peter doubted, but I know when he did. When he started looking at what was against him. Am I talking about Peter or am I talking about you? Wouldn't it be foolish for you to get fixated on all of those who didn't love you and not receive from those who do? When did you get hard-hearted? You used to be open. You used to pray for other people. You used to do that. And you know what? When you prayed, you expected something to happen from it. You checked up on it. You were texting them 10 minutes later. "Did it happen yet? Okay. I'm going to pray more. Did it happen? Okay. I'm going to pray in tongues. Did it happen yet"? When did you stop being that little girl? You used to sing to Jesus. You used to sit in your room and sing to Jesus. The Devil stole your song because you went in a storm. When did…? It's just a question. When did you take your eyes off of what Jesus was moving you toward and start only thinking about what was coming against you?

Hey, reality check. When did Jesus know there was going to be a storm? When he told them to go. He knew exactly what these fools were about to face. He's not shocked. Hey, everybody in here who's struggling with, "I don't know if God can use me because I've been struggling with some stuff in my life…" Well, let's get that figured out. Let's not have you wallowing around in sin, just wrecking your life and all that. But when did God set you apart? Before you were born. One Bible verse I would like you to learn is in the New Testament book of Romans. It says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". So, if he called me (Jeremiah 1:6) and set me apart from my mother's womb, and then he saved me while I was still a sinner, why would he stop using me now just because I struggle with something?

Do you know what else I never really realized? I love the Bible. I think I'll probably preach this Bible story once a year and see if God will show me something new in it. I never thought about how far Peter came before he fell. How did I miss this? It's in the text, y'all. Verse 31: "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him". We have already established that Jesus was at a far enough distance where they could not see him except through his silhouette. You mean to tell me Peter got all that way? The Bible didn't say when he cried out Jesus ran over and picked him up. "I'm coming, Peter". No, the Bible said, "Immediately…" Peter was within arm's reach of Jesus. And you want to fall now? You are this close to your breakthrough. You are this close to being the person God… You are this close to your freedom. You are this close to your kids turning around and coming back to God. You are this close to your miracle.

"I didn't come this far to fall down now". It taught me a lesson. It taught me the times when I'm tempted to look away are going to be the times when I'm closest to where God is bringing me. The Spirit says, "You're close. Keep coming. You're close. Keep coming". You're closer than you think you are. You're closer than you've been before. You're closer than my Hammond B3 organ. You're closer than you've ever been. You can't go down now. You can't tap out now. You can't die now. You can't turn around now. There's nothing to go back to. "I'm close, baby! That's why this wind is blowing so hard. The Enemy knows I'm close". You're close! I don't know who this is for, but you're close. You're so close. You are so close.

See, the Bible says they worshiped him when he got in the boat and the wind died down. That's one way to do it. "O God, I'll worship you when this battle is over. O God, I'll worship you when I'm done with this situation. O God, I'll worship you when you restore the relationship". But why not worship him while you're still in it? When did you praise him? In the middle of the storm. When did you praise him? In the middle of the night. When did Paul and Silas start to sing? At midnight. When did you start shrinking down your God to the size of your problems? When did you stop telling your problems how big your God is? Just telling God all the time, "Oh, my problems are so big. Oh, my bills are so bad. Oh, my cholesterol. O God". You can list that all day or you can shift your attention back on Jesus. I feel a shift happening in this room tonight. It's a subtle shift, but it's a saving shift. It's a small shift, but it's like a rudder. It's going to turn the ship back in the right direction.
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