Steven Furtick - God Can Handle It
There's a kind of faith that is very dangerous. I'll show you two extremes here, and both are warned against in Romans, chapter 4. Sometimes there is a version of faith that looks more like denial. Then there is the absence of faith, which creates despair. What I see in Romans, chapter 4, front and center, from the father of faith, is that he was able to avoid both extremes. It says in verse 19, "Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact…" That one phrase helps me understand what faith is and what faith isn't. The kind of faith I am to emulate from my father Abraham, whose seed I am, is not a sort of denial. I'm putting that before you because when we teach about being positive, it doesn't mean that everything in your life is positive, and I want you to know that.
Here's the thing. Some people don't exercise faith, because they live in denial, and they actually begin to use their faith as a cop-out and don't confront things for what they are. Abraham faced the fact he was old. He faced the fact his stuff stopped working a long time ago. He faced the fact. He looked at himself and said, "It is what it is," and he looked at his wife and said, "It was what it was, but it ain't what it was. Now it is what it is. We're old now. We could have done this 30 or 40 years ago, maybe. We could have done it 50 or 60 years ago, but now it is what it is". "I didn't go to college. It is what it is. I didn't go to high school. It is what it is. I went through my first marriage. I was too stupid to make it work".
You know what? You can't get over what you do not own. So face it. Face it. Faith doesn't mean living in denial. Faith doesn't mean that it's all good. I have women in my church who were sexually abused. It's not all good. I have people in my church who can't get a job because they have a criminal record. It's not all good. I have people in my church under the sound of my voice right now who didn't grow up with a dad. It's not all good. You know what? Faith can handle that. The starting place of authentic faith is honesty. It is what it is. "Lord, I'm disappointed right now".
Do you know you can tell God that and he won't hold it against you? When God spoke to Abraham and said, "I'm going to give you a seed that's going to be your son, and out of your seed is going to come a nation as numerous as the stars," Abraham laughed in God's face. It didn't bother God, because faith is not a feeling; faith is a decision. I'm going to say it again to counteract all the wrong thinking you've ever had in your life about faith. Faith is not a feeling. You can be a pessimistic person but still have great faith. Even great faith has weak moments.
So the call to faith is first a call to come out of denial. Otherwise, you'll be waiting on God to deliver you from a situation that is going to require discipline. I'm going to say it again. When you live in denial, you'll be waiting for deliverance in a situation that requires discipline. Are you waiting for deliverance in a situation that is going to require discipline? In other words, are you waiting on God to cancel your debts or are you making a plan to pay them off? Faith doesn't wait on a check. Faith gets up and goes to work or at least looks for work. Faith will do it, but you have to face it.
You have to face it or you live in denial, and you'll say, "Well, I guess the reason nobody wants to be my friend is because God has me in a lonely season right now". No, God doesn't have you in a lonely season. Your bad attitude and poor relational habits of not treating people correctly have gotten you in a lonely season, and until you face it faith can't fix it. Until you face it, faith can't fix it. Faith can't fix what you won't face. He faced the fact, but he kept his faith. You can do both. He faced the fact. "I'm not living in denial". But he kept his faith. "I'm not living in despair".
Faith is standing in the middle and making a decision that it is what it is, but it's not what it seems. I have that beneath-the-surface faith. I have that Saturday faith, waiting on something to come up out of a tomb and resurrect for the healing and salvation of the world. He narrated his situation with his faith, so he became the father of many nations, and we are his seed. How cool is that? We are the seed of Abraham. Seed. That made me think about something. Will you think with me today? When Jesus was trying to explain to the people what the kingdom of God was like, he said in Mark, chapter 4, verse 31, "The kingdom of heaven is like a skyscraper, big and bold, massive, a towering structure".
I wish he said that. I wish my faith was as big as a skyscraper. I wish I walked around never doubting. I wish all my stuff worked. That's what I'm trying to say. In fact, I wish this stuff I preach was as easy to live as it is to preach sometimes. Don't you wish it was as easy to live as it is to write down in your notebook? The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Guess what I have in my pocket? No, not mustard seeds. I have trees in my pocket. I came to preach to somebody. You have trees in your pocket. You have potential in your life. You have trees in your pocket. You have healing in your mouth.
You can tell your neighbor, "You have trees in your pocket". That's what God was telling Abraham. "I put a seed in you. I put a promise in you. I put a purpose in you. I put potential in you. Don't judge the tree by the size of the seed, because when it's grown it's going to look like something you can't even imagine right now". So he says, "Can you see the tree in the seed"? This is the question of faith. Can you see the hope of the world in a barren womb? Can you see leadership potential in your rebellious child? Can you see how it might have been a blessing that one person walked out of your life? They say we miss the forest for the trees, but sometimes I think we miss the trees for the seeds. Elijah sends his servant up. He's like, "Hey, check it out, because it's about to rain". The servant comes back down and says, "There is nothing there". He said, "Go and look again".
Elijah is doing something kind of weird while he's sending his servant back and forth, because he sends him six times. The Bible says… I'm not going to attempt to demonstrate this, because my flexibility is limited, but he put his head between his knees. I think it's because if he looked at the sky, if he looked at the situation, if he went by sight… The Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight. He had to close his eyes to what was there in order to see what would be. Finally, after six times, on the seventh time his little servant came back and said, "Well, there's a cloud up there, but it's only about the size of a man's hand". "To what shall I compare the kingdom of heaven? It's like a seed, a cloud the size of a man's hand. It's like a mustard seed". That's the smallest seed they knew of at the time. "Yet when planted, it grows".
I love that phrase. I feel the oil of God and the electric power of the Holy Ghost on that phrase. "Yet when planted, it grows". That's your word for this season of your life. Yes, it's small, yet when planted it grows. I'm going to stay right on this, because I know when God is speaking, and he's speaking to somebody. It's a cloud the size of a man's hand, yet when planted it grows. It's a little boy's lunch. It's only five loaves and two fish. Jesus said, "Put it in my hands, because yet when planted it grows". He's just a shepherd boy in a field. He looks like a seed, yet he's a king, and when planted in the soil of adversity in Saul's court, David grew to become a king.
To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It's like a seed. You can't see it at first. It doesn't even seem like something worth showing. It doesn't even seem big enough for the cameras to pick up, yet when planted it grows. God said it's time for you to start planting seeds of purpose even in the soil of doubt. If you plant it, it'll grow. If you plant it, the cloud will burst. If you plant it, the rain will fall. If you get your hands dirty and have faith and hope against hope, yet when planted it grows.
I feel a spirit of faith. I want to impart faith to you. I don't know if you believe in this kind of stuff, but I believe in a moment, in the presence of God, he can plant the incorruptible seed of his Word in the soil of an expectant heart and a ripe harvest. You'd better catch that. You'd better catch that tree. You'd better put that in your pocket, and this week when you're up in a situation and it looks like a small little thing, and it looks like it doesn't stand a chance, and it looks like a little virgin girl from Nazareth, and it looks like Joseph in a pit, you need to understand that the pit wasn't a pit; it was the soil he was planted in so he could come forth in Egypt and bring…
Tell somebody, "I'm growing. I'm growing. My faith is growing. My heart is growing. My capacity to love is growing". But the thing about the growth of the seed is… Do y'all hate when I holler like that? I know some of y'all wish I didn't do it, but I watched some basketball games during the Final Four and the NBA play-offs. I watched all kinds of fans get up with their shirts off and their chests painted and jump around about some men in some shorts running up and down a hardwood floor. I just figure our faith ought to be enough…
Jesus said, "I have to go to the cross. I have to be crucified, and they're going to bury me in the ground". That's one narration of what happened when they put Jesus in a borrowed tomb. He was buried. But guess what? Jesus said, "When they put me in the ground, I'm not being buried. I'm being planted to produce a harvest". Touch somebody and say, "I'm planted". It does not appear yet what I shall be, but when you see me I'm going to look more like him. I have news for you. It is what it is, but it's not what it was, and your eyes have not seen what it's going to be. Shout if you believe it!