Steven Furtick - God, I Need You Now
This is an excerpt from: Forward Not Finished
How do you grieve the loss of a hope you can't really articulate? "I just feel like something is missing". How do you grieve the fact that "I don't know where the grave is. Somewhere along the way I started talking myself out of seeing miracles, and I can't find the grave. I don't know what day it happened. I can't tell you it was 9:37 a.m. I can't tell you any of that. I'm grieving over something I can't find the grave for". "I don't know why I don't trust people anymore, but I just don't. I don't know why I won't let anybody new in my life, but I just won't. I don't know why I don't even talk back to the Devil when he starts telling me I'm worthless, but now I just agree with him to get him to quit. I don't know when I stopped thinking, 'At some point, I am going to get through this.' Maybe it was the third time or the fourth time I went to rehab. But there's something I'm grieving, and I can't show you the grave".
I want to tell you God knows where the grave is, and only God knows where the grave is. That's why in this season people can only help you so much. I'm telling you, in this season, you can read books, but books can only do so much. This is a season where you need the author. This is a season where you need the generator. This is a season where you need the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who knows where you laid your hope, who knows where you lost your faith, who knows where you gave up your edge, who knows where you surrendered to the addiction, who knows where you gave up the glory because of the grief. "It's over now. He's not coming back. We've looked everywhere for him. It's over now. We've got to move on. It's over now". "What will we do without him"? "I don't know, but it's over now. We sent everybody everywhere we could. Apparently, God is just as good at hiding as he is seeking, because we have millions of people and one Moses, and we've been looking one month".
I don't know who this is for, but the Lord said, "It has been a month". Oh, the architecture of this verse. It's just as important as the application, so please bear with me as I try to get it to you like God gave it to me. It was so important how they said it. It said in verse 8, "The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab one month…" Moses, Moab, month. To leave Moab and go forward into Canaan, they had to accept the death of Moses, and they mourned him one month, until… Watch this. (Oh yeah, they got it up there. I'm so glad they got it up there. Y'all don't bring your Bibles, and I don't want you on your phone while I'm preaching. I don't want you having that distraction factory right there in front of your face while I'm preaching, because somebody is going to text you, and it's going to tear you out of this message. The Lord is trying to preach, and it's going to distract you. You can't multitask as well as you think you can. I don't care if you are a woman. So put your eyes on the screen.)
They grieved in the plains of Moab one month. One Moses, one month. "…until the time of weeping and mourning was over". He didn't say the feeling of mourning was over, but he said it's time to move forward. "But I don't feel like moving forward". I'm not preaching about feelings today. I'm preaching about faith. To move forward when you're not finished, to move forward when it still doesn't make sense, to move forward when you still have questions, and the questions are now not only unanswered, but the questions have had baby questions, and you can't figure any of it out. The Lord says the feeling wasn't over, but the period of mourning was over. You've got to move now.
If it's for three people God sent me to preach this to, I'm preaching to you right now. If you're not even in the room with me, I'm preaching it to you right now. It's over. No, no, no. You heard that like cruel. I don't mean it cruel. You heard it like, "Stop crying" or "Don't go to therapy" or "Don't tell anybody" or "Just act like it didn't happen". I did not say any of that. I'm just saying that the time for you staying in Moab, looking for a Moses who isn't coming back, looking for a season of your life that was awesome but is over, looking for somebody to apologize… They've already moved to Cancun. It's over. Scrolling through Facebook, wondering "What are they up to now"? It's over. Delete the app and live your life. You did what you could. You waited a month. You've been down there thinking, "Oh, I'm so holy. I'm mourning over this".
Oh, I love the Bible verse. It says weeping may endure for a night, but I came with an announcement that joy comes in the morning! It's over! We're going forward! Forward with our shirttails out, forward with our tear-stained faces, forward with our unanswered questions, forward with our unfinished faith…forward! High-five 18 people and say, "Forward"! That's where I'm going. Forward! Don't know how. Forward! Don't know who's going to be there. Forward! I'll send you a postcard. Forward! I'm going to make something of this next season. Forward! This year I'm growing. Forward! It's over! I've been by this pool 38 years. I reckon I'm ready to get up. I have somebody to help me now. Y'all are like, "That's not in the text". Oh, I left one thing out.
Verse 9: "Now Joshua…" No more Moses. "Did you look for him up there"? "Yeah, I looked over there. No Mo. I looked for him over here. No Mo. I went back; I texted him. No Mo. I went back; I tried to ask him to have me back. No Mo". For every "No Mo" in your life, there is a "Now Joshua" that God has been developing. I took my Deuteronomy pill this morning, y'all. Now Joshua… Look at this verse. This is anointed. "Now Joshua son of Nun…" Where you see none, God says now. Where you see no way God says, "Now, watch me make a way. Let me through. Make some space. Make some room". Lift up your heads, all ye gates, and let the way maker through! No Moses, but there is more. The Devil told you, "No more. No more. No more".
He was wrong, because you're moving forward. You're not finished. You're moving forward. You're not finished. It's not a midlife crisis; it's a midlife cocoon. You're changing in there. You're transforming in there. You're coming out with wings. You're coming out with wisdom. You're coming out with the will of God. I'm coming forward with the weapons of praise and a double-edged sword in my mouth! Let my future go, Devil! Now Joshua! I saw this one time before. I saw one time before where they thought it was over. I saw this one time before. You heard it like this when I said it: "It's over now". You heard it like this: "It's over now". It's all it has been telling you. "It's over now. You're not going to change. If you were going to change, you'd change by now. If you were going to do it, you'd do it by now. If it was going to happen, it would happen by now. It's over now". The Lord said it, but he said it differently. He said, "It's over. Period. Now…" It's over. The period of mourning is over.
Now Joshua… "Send for Jesus. Lazarus is sick. Jesus loves Lazarus. Jesus will come for us. We hosted him in our home. He'll come for us. I cooked chicken for Jesus. He'll come help Lazarus. Send for Jesus". The Bible says something really crazy in John 11:4. It says that when Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, he said, "This sickness will not end in death. It is for God's glory". Do you want to know the plot of your story? I just gave it to you right there: God's glory. He's getting ready to get some glory out of this so he can show a generation what a chain breaker is. Oh, some sermons you just want to stay in all day. I just want to stay in this one for a moment. They said, "Go get Jesus. We need Jesus. We tried the doctors. The doctors can't do it. We prayed about it. Prayer didn't fix it. We medicated him. Medication wouldn't do it. Send for Jesus".
The Bible says something that's kind of like what it said in Deuteronomy 34:9, "Now Joshua…" Look at verse 5 of John 11, for what is said in Joshua is echoed in John. It says, "Now Jesus…" Now Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. He loved Mary, even though she was lazy, and Martha, even though she was bossy, and Lazarus, even though he was sick. Now Jesus… You think you did something he can't fix? You think you have something he hasn't seen? You think you're going through something he doesn't know the way through? You think you're working through something God can't heal, that he hasn't already worked out? Now Jesus loved Lazarus even to the point of death, even when his body was stinking, even when the maggots made their home in his eye sockets. I know it's gross. That's how God is. That's how far his love reaches. That's how far he'll dip down to get you.
Now Jesus loved them very much, so verse 6, when he heard about Lazarus' sickness, he stayed where he was until it had been four days. "It's over. He's dead now. Tell Jesus, 'Don't bother.'" About the time they told Jesus Lazarus was dead, he told Peter, "All right. Now I'm going". Peter was the one who would get in Jesus' face and contradict his logic as God. Peter said, "Now, Jesus, you know it's not good for you to go back there. They're trying to kill you in the region, and Martha might kill you if the scribes don't because you're late".
Now Jesus. Martha comes running out to meet Jesus. She doesn't even let him get inside the town. She got there really quick. She said, "If you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died". "God, if you would have done it, maybe I wouldn't have lost my son. If you would have done it, maybe I wouldn't have turned to the pills. If you had rescued me from that abuse, maybe I wouldn't struggle with this now. If you'd done it…"
But through her tears of grieving, she said something powerful. "Even now I know God will give you whatever you ask". But there's more to the story. Look at verse 29. When Mary heard that Jesus was there, when she heard that he was asking, she got up quickly. You don't have time to figure everything out before you walk in faith. You need to put the appointment on the calendar for this week. You hear me? You need to take a step toward it this week. You need to flush it before the halftime show today. You don't have time to be in your tears talking about what God can't transform because he's out of time. He is fashionably late. He is faithfully late. He may not have come when you wanted him, but that doesn't mean it's over.
So, she gets up quickly. Get ready for this. Verse 30 lit me up. It says, "Now Jesus…" "I need you now, Jesus! I need you in this moment". "Now Jesus…" You have a dead situation, but you have a now Jesus. You have a sick heart, but you have a now Jesus. You have a weary soul, but you have a now Jesus. I have a now Jesus. I have a third-day Jesus, a fourth-day Jesus, a generational Jesus, a Jesus who was the Word in the beginning, and he won't fail me now. I have a now Jesus, and when he says, "Take me to the place where you laid the body," he already knows where the grave is. He has just been waiting on you to take him there. He knows. You don't. But I'm going forward not knowing.