Steven Furtick - You Don't Have To Know Yet
This is an excerpt from: A Steady Hand For A Sudden Blessing
Maybe you need God to come right now because you have no clue. Just graduated college, and you have no clue who's going to hire you. The Lord told me to put a little graduation speech energy in this today, so I'm going to put a little graduation speech energy in this today. For everybody who is in high school right now, and they're all asking you, "Where are you going to college? And what are you going to do with your life? And where are you going to retire to"? I mean, we start asking everybody everything so soon. Before I even get a chance to know who I am… I can't even hang my middle school diploma on my wall, my eighth grade graduation participation trophy certificate on my wall, before you want to know, "Well, where are you going to college"?
Nowadays, there is so much pressure… Let me rant. I came in on a holiday weekend, so let me rant. Let me have a little fun. Let me have a little therapy. Is it so necessary that our kids have a 9.7 GPA in the third grade in case they want to go to Harvard? What if I don't want to pay for Harvard? Stop asking my kids, "Are you going to Harvard"? I don't want them to go to Harvard. I want them to go to online school because it's cheaper. Leave my kids alone. Somebody who has had somebody pressuring you to make a decision, just shout really quickly, "Leave me alone! I don't know"! "When are y'all going to have kids? When are you going to give me some grandbabies"? "Leave me alone! I don't know"! You can't say that to your mom's face, but you can say it in church right now. I'm kind of reminded of what Jesus said when the disciples were like, "Is it time? Is it time? Is it time"?
This is in Acts, chapter 1. They're like, "Is it time? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel"? Jesus is like… This is a great little Bible verse for everything you think you need to know that you don't know right now, and you think you can't go forward until you know everything you think you need to know, so you are staying frozen in what you don't know. Look at Acts 1:7 on this Pentecost Sunday. Here you go. "And He [Jesus]…" Capital H. That's the big guy. That's the big boss. That's the chef in the back of the kitchen and the owner all rolled up into one. "And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.'"
This is not permission to be ignorant. It's just an invitation into mystery. Watch what he says next. Verse 8: "But you shall receive power…" I like this little thing. I don't know the plan, but that doesn't mean I don't have the power. I love that. Don't you? I don't know the plan, and I don't know how this ends, and I don't know when, but I definitely know who. See, the Holy Spirit doesn't just give power; he is power. So, if you believe in Jesus, and if you've called on his name to save you, not only did he save you but he's stepping through every season with you, and you have power. Power. That's what I've got. "You've got a plan"? "No. I've got power". "You've got it all worked out"? "No. I've got power". "You've got a seven-step strategy"? "No. I've got power". Power enough to do…what? Power enough to walk…
Okay, okay. I have to get back to it. He said it is not for you to know the times the Father has called you to trust him with. A lot of times, it is not about us knowing what time it's going to be when it happens; it's about us trusting God enough that until he does show us what he's doing, we can trust him that his hand is steady, that his hand is active, that his heart is full of love for me. This enables me to stand in uncertain seasons. I mean, it is an uncertain season when Jesus just vanishes and you don't know when he's coming back. The disciples were like, "We need to know". I'm speaking to somebody today who thinks you need to know something you don't need to know right now. What I want you to begin to say to yourself over the next seven days, for all of those times you think you need to know something that God is trusting you to let him control, is just over and over say, "I'll know…"
This is my first point of the sermon. I've already made some points, but this is the first one I told them to put on the screen. "…when I need to". I'll know when I need to. That thing hit me the other day, because I was praying about something… Well, okay. That's very generous to call it prayer. I was worrying about something. I don't know why I wanted to label it prayer in front of you. Y'all make me want to get up here and pretend I'm holier than I am. I was stress eating about something. I really don't want to get any more honest than this about it. That's about as far as I'm willing to go with you. That's all you need to know.
"What were you stress eating"? Don't worry about it. That's all you need to know. This relationship is on a need-to-know basis, and so is your relationship with God. I'll know when I need to. Say that. "I'll know when I need to". I love participation and response, because I think when you speak something that God speaks to you, it has a lot more of an opportunity to get in you than just when you listen to me say it. "I'll know when I need to". This is what Jesus is saying to the disciples.
There are some things only God can control, and then there are some things you are responsible for. So, it is not for you to know the times, but it is for you to walk in the power. That helps me with this, because if I were teaching this like a seminar and not preaching it like a sermon, I would talk about how desperation drives you to revelation. Some things you will never know in your life until you become convinced that you need to know them. The best example I can give you is there are books you bought that you never read that are sitting on your shelf waiting for you to hit a situation that makes you go pull that book off of your shelf. Hello, parents.
There was a book I bought because I thought it had a cool title about parenting years ago, but I never read it…until my oldest son turned 13. I went to find that book. I grabbed the hardcover paper book off the shelf. I downloaded the digital one so I could have it on my Kindle so I could take it on my phone. I downloaded the audiobook so the author could read it to me in their own voice, because they had a British accent, and I thought that sounded kind of sophisticated. Watch. This is what I'm trying to say. I didn't dig for it until I got desperate for it. A lot of things we say we want to know about God… We don't really want to know them badly enough yet because we don't think we need it badly enough yet.
So, we approach God kind of wanting surface-level, superficial knowledge about decisions in our lives, but some things are only going to become plain and real to us as we get past the place of thinking that we can control it. We'll start saying, "What was that Scripture Pastor Steven was preaching that Sunday when I went and it was raining and I was kind of sleepy and I didn't write it down? Did you write it down"?
You'll be going to your neighbor, asking, "Did you take notes"? because when you need those notes… Put everything I say that sounds even like it might be good at some time in the future in your phone, because you don't know how the Devil is going to be fighting you this Friday. What if God is giving you the word right now for the fight you're going to be in Friday? You don't know about that fight yet, but put it in your phone so when the fight comes you will know where to go. "God gave me this word for this fight before it was ever even the first round".
See, I can't hit the gym and start lifting when it's time for a competition. I'm going to be in some situations in my life where I need sudden strength, so how do I get sudden strength? It's with a steady hand. It's going to come all of a sudden. I believe there are many here today who are standing in front of something God is calling you to walk into, but you won't go into it because you don't know what's on the other side of it. Enter Elisha, the prophet. Now, this is what I got up to talk to you about on this Pentecost Sunday. A little Bible story I really love. I hope you love it too by the time we're done. I don't need you to know every single detail about the kingdom of Israel to get this Bible passage. Please.
I know some people, when they get into this stuff, are like, "Oh, I feel so dumb, man. I don't know any of these Bible stories, and I know I should, but I don't know what you're talking about". You don't need to know every bit of the background of this just to get what God has for you from it. Here's what I think you need to know about this passage. The king of Israel and the king of Judah… So, there's a northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Jehoshaphat is a pretty good king in Judah. Jehoram is a terrible king, but his mom was Jezebel. She was really, really bad, and Ahab was bad, so he came by it honestly. He didn't really get a lot of good training in how to do this, but he was terrible. These two kings are with another king from Edom, which was the wilderness where they were attacking through. So, they pick up this king of Edom, and they're going to fight against Moab. Moab is trying to rebel.
Let me explain the situation. Let's see if you've ever been there before. On their way to go to war, they run out of water in the wilderness. Has that ever happened to anybody in here? On your way to fight one battle, you encounter something you didn't plan for that weakens you on your way to war. It's this feeling you can get sometimes. "I was already juggling enough. I was already struggling enough". I feel so anointed to break chains today for people. I'm excited about it. "I was already stressed enough. I was already overwhelmed enough. Now this"? In the King James version of the Bible, one of the kings looks up and says, "Alas"! I love that because it's kind of like the King James cussword. He's like, "Alas! Dang it! We're out here trying to fight the Lord's battles, and the Lord won't give us water".
So they march seven days through the desert. Edom is butted up right against the Dead Sea, so it's a dry place. So, they can't even defeat their enemy without passing through a dry place to do it. That's half the problem with us keeping our faith. It's that we just don't get to show up to stuff fresh. We don't just get to show up to stuff feeling good. We don't just get to show up to our mission in a good mood. A lot of times, you will have to do the mission when you're not in the mood you were in when you said you would do the mission. A lot of times, I have to preach the sermon when the feeling I got when I received the sermon is sitting back in Thursday when I studied the sermon, but I have to do it then, and I have to do it not for my own glory, but I have to do it so somebody can be helped.
Now, what do you do when you're on your way to a war and you run out of water; when you're trying to raise your own children and you are still dealing with things from your childhood that nobody showed you how to process? Nobody taught you how to break down trauma and convert it into triumph. "I mean, that sounds cute, but I don't know how to do it". God says you'll know when you need to know. If you didn't get it when you should have gotten it, then that wasn't when you should have gotten it. There's something about now that God knew. There is something about your future that God still knows. Just because I don't get it suddenly and just because I'm not walking in it presently doesn't mean God isn't giving it steadily.