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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - The God Of After

Steven Furtick - The God Of After

Steven Furtick - The God Of After

We have been in a flow in the church, and God has been speaking to us the last few weeks. Well, he has been speaking to me. I learned a long time ago to stay in the flow with the Holy Spirit as long as he would, so I'm going to stay in the same flow I've been in the last few weeks and continue with a Scripture I love in 1 Peter, chapter 5. I'm going to pick up in verse 8. I want you to go back and read the whole chapter when you get home, but I'm going to pick up in verse 8 today for the sake of time and give you this. We have an instruction and a promise.

First comes the instruction in 1 Peter 5:8. "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings". This is the verse I want us to really think about today: "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast". Let's read that verse again. "And the God of all grace…" The first week, we talked about The God of Also, then we talked about The God of Again, and last week we talked about The God of Already. I'm still not over that message.

Today, I thought we would talk from verse 10 in 1 Peter 5 where he said, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast". Can you guess my subject for today? "And the God of…" Not that. We could do that too, but a little bit later. "…who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you…" I want to talk about The God of After. Would you join me in praying again?

Father, I thank you for each precious person you brought under the covering of your Word today. In your shadow, Most High, we find refuge and strength and safety. I pray that this could be a place of safety, a place of strength. For everybody who needs your voice today in a specific way in their life, hit the target. Holy Spirit, I offer you all of me, and I ask that you would make up the difference. What they need and what I know… There's a really, really wide chasm between the two, but not for you. You can speak to the exact thing they need. I trust that you will and that you already are. In Jesus' name, amen.

The God of After. Have you ever had a delayed reaction where you got the joke but it was too late to laugh without looking kind of bad? Or you get the perfect comeback for somebody, but it's three and a half hours later, and you can't exactly meet up with them and do it again. I think sometimes a delayed reaction would be a good thing in my life. A little space between what happens and how I act wouldn't hurt that bad sometimes, because I'm quick on my feet, but that works against me, because sometimes I'm quick on my feet, so I get myself into situations before I've had the chance to think about them. That's probably why I love this Scripture where Peter is saying, "Be alert and sober-minded," and get ready for the Devil, because he's coming for you. That's just the fact of it.

There is no amount of preaching in the world that can prevent the Enemy's attack in your life. Specifically, there is a suffering we all must endure. There are two things I want you to know about this suffering before we get really into this message today. First, this Scripture suggests that whatever suffering you're going through, it's only for now. Secondly, it's not for nothing. Did you feel that when I said it? Somebody is under attack in this room right now. It was a battle for you to even get to church because of what you've been dealing with. Two things about this suffering that the Scripture says: it's only for now, and it's not for nothing. It's a productive kind of suffering, not the stupid kind of suffering that you do when you're stubborn.

You know, when you hit yourself with the hammer and hit yourself with the hammer again and ask God to take the swelling down. This is a type of suffering he's talking about that is common, and it has actually come for a reason. Now, one of the things I was talking about last Wednesday… I spoke to my staff Wednesday, and after I spoke to the staff, I spoke to a smaller group of 20 of the top new staff.

I had a conversation with a young lady, because in the staff teaching, I was talking about how you deal with correction, or specifically, not fighting against things God is trying to send to help you in your life, which is something I struggle with. She had a follow-up question after the session I did with the staff. She said, "Well, when you're a fighter, and you're sitting there in the moment and somebody is challenging you or saying something that's really making you go crazy, and that fighter wants to rise up in you and fight back, how do you, in the moment, receive that interaction and process it positively"? I said, "I don't".

I never process positively in the moment…almost never. You don't either? But after… That's usually where a lot of my spiritual growth happens: after I screw it up and the Holy Spirit shows me, "Hey, you screwed that up. Would you like to keep screwing that up or would you like to have me show you how to stop screwing stuff up in your life"? I'm like, "Well, Lord, it just depends. What am I going to have to do to stop screwing it up? Am I going to have to go back and apologize"?

I want you to realize that spiritual growth is not measured by perfection in the moment but on your ability to go back after the fact and be correctable by Christ so you don't get frustrated with yourself. I told the staff member who asked me that, "Just yesterday, this guy honked at me". You know where this is going. With my Elevation sticker on my car… He honked at me, and he pulled out in front of me. Let me set this up for you. This fool, this brother… (I'm figuring out who I'm talking to today.) When he pulls out in front of me… I'm going the speed limit. I'm doing nothing wrong. I mean, nothing wrong. I can't always say that on the road, but in this particular instance, he honks at me, and he pulled out in front of me.

So, yes, I stopped the car. And, yes, I backed up. And, yes, I said, "Are you good"? But I smiled when I said it, and I kept my voice really low. He said, "Are you good"? and I said, "I don't know. That depends. Are you good? Because if you're good, I'm good, but if you're not good…" You know. I had to get all the way back to my house and try to think, "What made me back up and talk to this guy on the road like that"? I mean, this guy might be getting baptized someday in my church. I don't know this guy. He might be some Special Forces. He might have something in the glove box that would make last Sunday my last Sunday preaching. I don't know any of it. I don't even think about it in the moment. I think about all that after.

Then I tracked back, and I was like, "Why was I so uptight"? Why couldn't I just laugh at this blessed tool of the Lord for my sanctification and drive on? I realized what we did right before that was take family Christmas pictures. My wife has me taking the family Christmas pictures now in August. Of course I'm edgy. Who wants to take family Christmas pictures even in December, let alone in August? Do you know all of the fights we have been through in family Christmas pictures through the years? Of course I'm a little edgy. I'm bringing this up as a humorous example at my own expense to show you how immature I can be but that I realized something happened before he pulled out in front of me and honked at me that made me back up in the middle of the road and act like I'm 13.

Sometimes, in our own lives, we never take the time after we act a certain way to back up and ask the question, "What was it that put me in that frame of mind to act that way"? So, then we just repeat the behavior over and over again, and the Devil just picks our lives apart because we never stop to ask the question after we act a way we don't want to act. I mean, that could have gone much worse. It ended up being a pretty mild story in my estimation of how it could have gone, but there are other things in my life that I look at, like, times when I am completely unreasonable, and I have to go back sometimes and ask, "What was it before that…"? I think that's what Peter means when he says in verse 8, "Be alert and sober-minded".

To recognize, when the Enemy attacks you, where you are most vulnerable to his attacks. Without asking that question, you just repeat the same stuff over and over again. Some of my best growth moments in God have been after my worst performance moments outside of God, where I go back and ask, "What was it"? Have you ever had something you did where you were like, "Well, I know it wasn't that that made me act like that. So, what was it that made me act like that? What was it that made me so irritated about something that was so insignificant? Why did something so small, like a pebble in my shoe, cause me to walk so crooked"? Sometimes, when you go back and look at it, you're like, "Oh, yeah! That's what it was".

In the process of taking those family pictures, I think I was very stressed, and I think I was a little sad because I'm sending my son off to college next week. I'm not going back on all of this to blame it but so that next time I come up on it I can beat it. Sometimes, when the Enemy attacks you, you act like it was a surprise attack, but if you would pay attention to your own life, you could be ready for some of the stuff that comes at you regularly. You can't resist the Devil you're not ready for. He said, "Be alert and sober-minded…" Or clearheaded, one translation would say. "…because the Devil, the Enemy, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour".

If he can eat you alive with anxiety, he will, because he's looking for his lunch. If he can eat you alive with offense, he will, because he's looking for his lunch. If he can eat you alive with the memory of something you did that God has already forgiven, he will, because he's looking for his lunch. He is looking for someone who has not taken inventory of their life to go back and track the times that… "You know what? It seems like the Enemy always attacks me here, and he always attacks me when…" When you have an unreflective life, when you are just reactive all the time, you are not ready for every attack that happens to you. You cannot resist it.

There is no readiness where there is no reflection. I want to get better and better and better in my life, not at blaming stuff that happened, but going like, "Hey, what was it that put me in that state that I wasn't ready for that, and how next time, when I'm going into that situation, can I be a little more ready for it"? Sometimes God will uncover really weird stuff for you, like this. I'll give you an example. When I get really hyped up before I preach, it's a setup for me to be disappointed if you're not hyped up when I start preaching. But here's what happened. I pulled into a private space today. You had to drive through some traffic and people and stuff like that. I didn't have to bring any kids to church today. Holly did all that.

So, of course I'm ready. I didn't have to get anybody dressed, anybody in the car on time. I didn't have anybody to account for but myself. The only person I had to make sure had his clothes and shoes on and was showered up was me, so I'm in a good mood. But what if you're not? I realized that I have to be ready when I come out here to preach that you might not be ready to listen yet, because if I'm not, then when the discouragement comes, when I'm like, "Oh no! They don't look like they're really into this…" Well, they're into it, but it's just like a cold plunge for them. They just have to get settled into it.

Let them sit there a minute. You know, I asked God one time… When people yawn when I'm preaching, that really sets me off. Like, really sets me off. If you ever notice in my sermon where I take a sharp turn, and it gets really, really rough all of a sudden, like, really mean or condemning…I start talking about hell and judgment, and stuff like that…I probably saw somebody yawn. That's probably what just happened. I remembered something. Even this week, I was thinking about this. In psychology they call it triggers. It could be a smell. It could be a sight. It could be a sound. It could be a lot of different things.

I remembered that there was one boy when I was first learning to teach the Bible, and he would full-on yawn. Not yawn like he was trying to hide it, but he would full-on stretch back and yawn. His shirt would stretch up over his belly. I had to look at his belly, his open mouth, and all this stuff. That was when I was first learning to preach. I realized that kid was right in front of me when I was first learning to teach the Bible. I'm not going to say his name. He would yawn while I was preaching the Bible. So, to this day, if I see somebody yawn, it actually sets me in a place where I feel like a beginning preacher. Isn't that weird? Or maybe I just need more therapy. Even recognizing that, it gives me a moment to know, "Oh! That guy yawning might have worked third shift. He might be tired because maybe he's visiting somebody in a nursing home. Or he stayed up all night playing video games, but it's not mine to judge".

If I recognize that that puts me in a bad place, then I can be ready to respond rather than to react and to resist the temptation before I'm attacked. Faith does not give you the ability to prevent the Enemy's attack. I wish it did. I wish that, by faith, we could rebuke every panic attack in the room, every financial attack in the room, every attack on your physical body in the room. If I had the power to do it, I would do it. I would love to do it for you, but there is nothing in 1 Peter 5:8 or any of the rest of the Bible that suggests that, at will, we can just rebuke the Devil's attack and prevent the Devil's attack, but we can plan for what you're going to do the next time he does attack. That's why Peter called him a roaring lion. Before he ever comes to devour you, there's always a roar.

Do you recognize him when he roars? Or do we live lives that never reflect and ask, "Why do I keep ending up in this situation? Why is the Devil always picking on me? Why am I always in this bad relational pattern? Why are people never coming to my aid, and why am I never…"? It's always this thing of blaming it. Or do we want to beat it and resist it and get stronger from it? I think it would be easier to resist temptation if the consequences of the sin were immediate. I think it would be really easy to resist even overeating if the bad stuff happened while you ate. No, I'm serious. If the cellulite grew as you chewed, you'd stop chewing.

Have you ever noticed how the benefits of discipline are delayed and the payoffs of doughnuts are immediate? I mean, a quick sweet relief, a glazed relief. (I'm getting hungry, y'all. I fast before I preach.) There is a hidden expense and a quick hit for sin, and there is a hidden benefit of discipline that doesn't kick in quickly, but you'll be glad you did it after. I used to always say I could do crunches if my abs would Pop! Pop! Pop! while I crunched. When I crunch on a Frito… If I could crunch on a Frito and the fat would pop, I could stop with the Fritos. It is the delay that gets me trapped. The consequence comes after.

It's the most amazing thing what the Devil will hide from you when he tempts you. It's an amazing thing what he'll bait that hook with that you don't see when you bite. It is not until after you are hooked that this isn't so fun anymore. It's not until after you can't get rid of the habit that you wish you had found a healthier way to deal with your emotions. This is why we must teach in church not only the deliverance of the Holy Spirit but the disciplines of the grace of God so we can help people make decisions today that they will be glad for after. I want you to pray to God after you fail, but I also want you to pray to God before you fail so that maybe he can spare you some of the pain, that you could put something in his hands before you get caught in it so God could spare you from some of the wasted years.

This is not even in my notes, but I just feel like I need to go off for a minute. Sometimes we create our own suffering because of shortcuts we take, because of how we want to feel right now, but I heard a wise preacher say, "Never give up what you want most for what you want now". There are some things you want to be in the future that are going to require some adjustments to what you need to do right now. Even some of the Scriptures you hear and some of the messages you hear that will challenge you the most will help you the most after.

Now, I want in my life not only to get better at tracking back and noticing what happens in those moments where I feel under attack. I mean, if you will look at your life (and I did it this week), you'll find patterns of "These are the times where the Enemy attacks me. If I build some different things into these rhythms of my life, I can be more ready". I think our rhythms and our readiness go hand in hand. The rhythm of your life cannot be marked by isolation and still be flowing in victory. The rhythm of your life cannot be marked by constant chronic complaining and still have an outcome of overflowing joy.

The Enemy is looking for someone to devour. He's looking for someone who's not paying attention. He's looking for someone who just took family pictures and is just a little thankful for their family and just a little bit triggered by the whole experience. Because it really went well. Everybody was good. I don't even know why I was in a bad mood. It went great. The photographers were great. It was happy. Just something about it… Then I look at it, and I'm like, "Okay, okay, okay. Next year, when we take family pictures, I am not going to back up my car and almost fight any rednecks. Okay? Next year". No, no, no. Next time. Next time I find myself susceptible, I am going to feed my spirit and talk to myself and be a little bit more ready for that. All of that you can do if you will just take some time in your life.

There are only two times you need to do this: after you win and after you lose. When you win over a victory, ask, "What was it that got me ready for that"? Y'all, I have certain friends that I found out when I talk to them, I win more. Do you have anybody like that in your life? Now let me turn around so you can have a private moment. I have other friends who when I talk to them and spend time with them, it puts me in this spin cycle, and I don't know why, but I end up more cynical on the other side. Pay attention to all of that, because sometimes in your life you'll notice, "Oh! When this happens, it is the consequence of something that came before it".

A lot of times, that is a relational consequence of who you are spending the most time around. Here's another thing since you asked me about Instagram. Sometimes you feel sick to your stomach, but it's not your stomach; it's what you scrolled through 15 minutes ago that made you judge something, feel something, see something that triggered a response in you, but at the moment that it was triggered, it didn't show up. It doesn't show up in the moment that you see it. It shows up after. If the moment you were looking at the stuff you were like, "This is making me more judgmental and less content, and this is causing me to kill my own appreciation for my own life and only aspire to things that aren't even a part of my calling…"

If you thought that while you were looking at it, you would stop looking at it, but the Devil hides the hook. Stop biting. How many times is he going to have to reel you in before you resist him, before you can see it coming and say, "No, I'm not even going to take the bait. I don't even get paid to argue with you. Nobody is worth that in my life. I'm not coming down there for this anymore"? If you don't see it, he will eat you alive. He's looking for someone to devour. The one he can devour the most is the one who is vulnerable and doesn't know it. When you know you're vulnerable, it gives you an opportunity to be vigilant…when you know where you're vulnerable.

So, this great apostle writes a letter to the church that's being persecuted somewhere between AD 60 and 70. He's writing to them about their sufferings in their time, but it also applies to ours. He says, "Be alert and sober-minded, because the Enemy is looking for someone to devour". Is it you? Have you trained him that anytime he tries, you'll lie down and go with it; anytime he takes you down that dark path, all he has to do is lure you out there? Is it you? Is it you that every time he can even suggest an anxious thought to you, the Enemy can get you to go down so deep in it that it's going to take you three days to recover? Is it you?

If he can make you a little uncomfortable about something, you will reach for something to feel instant relief that is going to bring you an aftereffect that's going to cause you to be in captivity. Is it you? If you're not paying attention to the patterns in your life, you are easy prey for the Enemy. You have to get into Spirit-led reflection where the Holy Spirit takes you back through your day and shows you ways you can handle things next time, not so you can blame what happened in your day or in your life but so you can beat it next time, because there will be a next time. If the Devil hasn't messed with you, good news: you can practice this message very soon. He'll mess with you again. You're like, "I don't know. He has just been leaving me alone. I don't really need this message".

Keep this message right there. Don't put it in the fridge, because you're going to need it. You can leave it right there. It's going to be right there soon. He's looking for someone to devour. He's looking for somebody, somebody who's vulnerable. You have to ask the question, "What came before this attack that caused me to be in a vulnerable position"? That's a great question to ask. The more you ask it, I believe, the more God will show you and give you an awareness and an alertness. You can't prevent the attack, but you can plan for it after. I don't usually respond right in the moment, but it's when I go back and ask the question, "God, what do you want me to see about that that I can know next time?" and that's how I grow. It's not fancy. I know it's not amazing. It's not sexy, but it's what Peter said. He said, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone…"

Who's he looking for? Someone. Someone he can devour. You have to ask the question, "If the Enemy is attacking me right now, how is he attacking me? When does he tend to attack me"? I want to be alert to this. I don't want to be ignorant of his schemes. When does he attack me? How does he attack me? What are those access points where I let him get to me? What are the things? That is a valid question, and we have to ask it or we'll keep repeating the same patterns, but there's another question I want you to start asking. I want you to ask this question right after you ask, "Where is the Enemy attacking me"? Because you could mention a few areas today.

I know you could. If we passed the mic around and you were honest and weren't scared of being judged, you could name a few places he attacks you. They might be some areas that are more socially acceptable or they might be some areas that cause shame, but you could answer the question, if I asked it, "Where is it that the Enemy attacks you, and what usually comes before it that causes you to give in to it, that makes you weak for it? What is that"? But there's another question I want you to learn to ask, and I think this is also very powerful. If the Enemy is attacking you as much as he's attacking you in your life, I want to ask the question…What is it about you that he knows that is causing him to attack you like that?

If he's looking for someone to devour, and he's picking on you, then what is it about you that causes you to be a target? In other words, how many of you feel like the Devil has really been after you or someone you love in this last season? This is not a trick question. I really want to see who to aim this spit at when I preach it. I want to know. If the Enemy is attacking you like that, what is he after? What is it that God has inside of you that may even be unknown to you right now that he sees about your future that is causing him to fight you so hard like that? What is this spirit of heaviness that has been on you lately really about?

I know on the surface we tell ourselves, "Well, the reason I'm depressed is because I just suck, because I'm not much, because I don't have the resilience. I don't have the fortitude. I don't have the moral character. That's why I'm dealing with this insecurity". Is it? Is that why you're dealing with the insecurity…because you're really a nobody? Or is the Devil looking for someone, someone who has something, something they don't see the true value of yet, so he can catch you in your vulnerability so that you never see your true value so that you never do what God gave you to do on the earth? What's he after?

If you've been discouraged, really discouraged and down in your soul lately, and you've been thinking, "That must mean my best is behind me," is that really true or is there something…? I'm just curious. Is there something so significant in the next stage of your life, and you can't see it? Maybe the Enemy has more vision for your life than you do because he sees something that's in you in a seed form, and if it ever comes forth, if it ever gets watered, if it ever gets light, if it ever gets full grown, it's going to spread out and bear fruit and touch lives and change the world. What's he after? Get really good at answering how the Enemy is attacking. "Well, he's giving me these headaches". "Well, he's giving me these problems on my job". "Well, he's surrounding me with these people". "Well, nobody gives me credit".

Okay. We can focus on how he's attacking you or we could spend a minute and think about why. What is he after? In my life, the greatest seasons of temptation to quit were just before the most significant moments of breakthrough. I came to prophesy to somebody today. I don't care what it has been before. I didn't come to preach about the God you knew before. I didn't come to preach about the time you wasted last year. I didn't come to preach about how your week went last week. It's Sunday morning, and I came with a message about the God of after. It's just a question. Ask your neighbor, "What's he after"?

The Enemy doesn't have unlimited artillery, so if he's coming at you, and he's shooting at you, that must mean you have something he wants. That must mean you have something of value. I've been to about 10 Carolina Panthers games since I've lived in Charlotte. Nobody ever tackled me. I guess I didn't have anything they wanted. I bet if I had that ball and I was on that field and I was headed toward something that could actually inflict damage on the opponent, I'd get tackled. I'd get hit. Some of us aren't getting hit because we're not headed toward anything, but if you're headed toward something… Maybe that's why he has been on your heels. Maybe that's why it has been kind of rough. Maybe that's why it has been kind of rocky. Maybe that's why that storm has been blowing.

I wonder what he's after. I wonder what you're carrying that you're not even aware of yet. I wonder what you're going to be talking about a year from now that you don't even know how to ask him for yet. It's powerful, y'all. Has that Devil been after you? Well, get happy, because that means you have something worth attacking. That means it's not over for you. The Devil should have taken you out before you heard this sermon, because after this word, you're back on track! You're back in the fight! We should have taken a selfie before I started preaching so you could have a before picture. Because when you leave this church today… No, no. I have to preach it like God gave it to me. I can't mess it up. "And the God of all grace, who called you to eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while…"

Set your timer for a minute, Fly Ty. One minute on the timer. One minute on your phone. Tell me when you've got it set for one minute. I want one minute. Peter uses a very significant phrase. He says, "After you have suffered a little while…" How many of you have been suffering for a little while? Or it has been a while. "It has been a while I've been dealing with this. It has been a while that I've felt like this". He still hasn't started his timer yet. He's about to start it in a minute. Sometimes it's prolonged suffering. Right? Sometimes you asked a question like… I asked the Lord one time. I read that Scripture. It said, "In a little while". "After you've suffered a little while". I asked God, "How long is a little while"?

I want one minute on the timer. That's an hour. I need a minute. We have a different definition of a little while. I need the countdown timer, not the count-up timer. I need the alarm where it's going to go off in a minute. God gave me something to say to somebody, and I don't know who it is. (We have 50 seconds left.) Now, not all suffering ends in a short time, but there is a decision you can make in a moment where you can say, "You know what? I have stayed stuck in this season long enough. I have replayed this memory long enough. I have laid down and died long enough". Peter says, "After you have suffered a little while…" Just a little while. It's just a little while. It's only for now.

I know it seems like forever when you're going through it, but… Ten seconds, nine seconds, eight seconds, seven seconds, six, five… Be really quiet. Oh, his ringer is off. You are the worst illustration partner. All right. Since his alarm failed, I need you to help me. I'm going to need you to help me. Since his ringer was on silent, I'm going to need you to be the alarm for your neighbor. Stand up. We're getting ready now, because it has been a minute for some of you. It has been a minute since you've felt the joy of the Lord. It has been a minute since you've seen yourself in the future. It has been a minute since you've opened yourself up to a new possibility.

When I say, "Three," I want you to look at your neighbor and say, "It has been a minute". One, two, three. It has been a minute. But guess what? Look back at them and say, "It has been a minute". Tell them, "It has been kind of hard. I've been crying about it. I've been stressing about it. I've got a lot of questions about it, and I'm not expecting a quick fix". But tell them, "It has been a minute, and this is my after". This is my after! This is my after! The problem is not over yet, but my eyes are set. My eyes are set. This is my after. Not when I'm perfect, but I've suffered enough to know now that he's the God of after. Who better to teach us this than Peter? Why would the Enemy pick on Peter? He wasn't anything but a fisherman.

The Devil never attacks what you are right now. He attacks what you're going to be. That's what he's after. Wait till you see what your kids are going to be. That's what he's after. Wait till you see what they're going to do. That's what he's after. Wait till you see how the grace of God flows through you generationally. That's what he's after. The Bible says, "A righteous man walks in his integrity…" You have to see this from Proverbs 20:7. I saw this. "…and his children are blessed after him". You didn't get it. Some of the stuff you're fighting right now is not about what you are right now; it's about what's coming after you.

So, even as Peter was warming himself by the fire, denying Christ; even as Peter was denying that he even knew Jesus; even as Peter was doubting that he wanted to be a disciple, the Enemy was after him. If he can kill Peter and take his faith by the fire, Peter never preaches on the day of Pentecost. Three thousand were saved that day. "After you suffer a little while…" That's what the attack is about. Stop thinking the things you struggle with prove your insignificance. They actually point to your value. So, we're going to change the trigger response this week. Something bad starts coming to you as a feeling or a temptation. "Oh, there must be something the Enemy is after that I'm meant to do this week".

A lot of it, you will never know it while you're in it. That's what your faith is for. We never know how God is using us or what he's doing in the moment. Most specifically, there are some things you will not feel in the moment that you will, by faith, experience in the future if you resist the Enemy. I'm telling you, I have stood many times to pray with people and preach to people who had little faith. It had been worn down to a nub, and in the moment that we prayed, we experienced nothing resembling the feeling of a breakthrough. We only knew after a little while what God would do. Sometimes trusting him with that timeline called a little while is the hardest part of all.

I was back after preaching. I don't remember what city it was, maybe in Denver, that they brought back a guy to pray with me, and they said his 7-year-old has a… They explained the condition to me. At the time, I didn't even understand everything they were saying, and I'm not really good at explaining medical things. This 7-year-old's brain tissue had extended into his spinal column. They diagnosed that a few years earlier, but then a cyst developed in the spinal column. That was something that would be life threatening but would be operated on when he was a little bit older.

So, they had just taken him in for a scan, and they were going back in two days to get the meeting with the specialist and maybe schedule the surgery. In the meantime, they came to Elevation Nights. Someone brought them over and said, "Pray for them, would you? Their son is having surgery". I said, "I will". I learned as much as I could learn in that short time and prayed. I don't even really remember praying the prayer, but the dad I prayed for, just last week, told me the end of the story that I didn't know.

He said, "When you prayed for us back there, I did not even want for you to pray for me. It made me angry that you were praying because you didn't know our situation. How dare you say a prayer that God would heal our child when you don't even know the situation"? He said, "But whatever little bit of faith was left in me and whatever faith was in my wife, it kicked a little bit when you prayed. Two days later, we went to our appointment, and the doctor brought the scan". The specialist said, "So, when did you have the surgery"? He said, "We haven't had the surgery. That's why we're here to talk to you about possibly scheduling the surgery, but we need to see the scan".

And he held up the scan. He held up the scan from the cyst, and then he held up the scan from a few days ago. He said, "This one is the one of what it should look like. If there were a perfectly executed surgery, this is what it would look like". "If it were a perfectly executed surgery, this is what the picture would look like". He told me, "I didn't even want you to pray for me, and I didn't really feel anything when you prayed, but when we went back, after…"

I know you don't even feel like praying about that thing anymore sometimes. I know you don't really feel like going and trying to get this thing under control one more time. I'm not saying everybody with a disease can expect a different report next week. I don't have the power to say that, but I can tell you this: he's the God of all grace. So, if you need a healing and he gives you the grace for healing, that's wonderful, but if he gives you the grace to endure the suffering, that's wonderful too. He's the God of all grace, and he's the God of after. No matter how many times Peter denied Christ, it could not outrun the revelation he had.

"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church". Has the Enemy been attacking your mind lately? He is after the ideas God is going to give you in the future to make this world so much more like heaven on earth. That's what he's after. Faith is standing right in the middle of it, even as you don't know how long a little while may be, and knowing that after this, there will be more grace. It's not over for you. God is not through with you.

Father, as I have released your Word today, I have sensed virtue going forth and flowing to your people. There are specific situations, specific names and needs, diagnoses. There is a very certain thing you wanted to say to somebody today, and I pray that you have echoed that. Now I ask, God, that your Holy Spirit would make the direct application so it can go down deep into their soul. Lord, they may never know what comes after this season of struggle if they don't stand firm, but if they can make it through this, the God of all grace who has called them to eternal glory, after they have suffered a little while, will himself make them strong.

Are you Human?:*