Steven Furtick - I Didn't Ask For This
Here's a great question: "God, what are the opportunities I have right now that are in my life because of my disappointments"? She offered God the place of her disappointment. She said, "We have that room on the roof that we never got to finish. We never got to buy a bed for our son because God didn't give us one. We never got to put a desk in his room for his homework because God didn't give us one. We didn't get to give him a lamp or a nightlight. We never got to buy him any pajamas, but there's a man of God who passes through here, and I refuse to stay stuck in the bitterness of what I didn't get".
You be Paul, I'll be Silas, and we will turn this prison into a place of praise. I'm telling you, if two of you will touch and agree concerning anything in his name, he will do it. You might be saying, "I'm all alone right now". No, you're not. There's no stipulation on geography in Matthew 18:20. He said if two of you will touch and agree… So, even if you're watching this by yourself, and even if you just signed divorce papers last week or even if your kid just told you they hate your guts or even if the third person just told you, "No, we do not have the position available" or even if you're dealing with the addiction that makes you feel like a fraud when you smile at people, but there are chains on the inside, God came to tell you, "You are not alone".
I'll be Paul, you be Silas, and let's make a space for God to fill. I feel praise rising up in this place right now! I'm glad I came over today. It's just the two of us. "We have more house than we have family. I have more time than I ever had before. God, I didn't plan on having all this extra time". God said, "I gave you the extra to see if you would trust me, what you would do with it, what you would do with the extra". In this place. What place? The place of her disappointment. This is what Holly told me on the walk before I ripped off her sermon. I started preaching it back to her. I said, "This is too good to keep just between the two of us. I've got to go preach it. I've got to preach it for the weekend. I've got to preach it for the eFam. I've got to preach it to all of the different countries and all of the different people". But it started with just the two of us.
She turned to her husband and said, "Since it's just the two of us, let's meet the needs of this prophet. You know that room we were going to…? Yeah. When we built this house, we built it with extra room for the kid God was going to give us, but why don't we just…"? "I thought by now in my life I was going to be here. I didn't ask for this situation, but let me offer it". "I didn't ask for this disappointment. I didn't ask for this thorn". What would it be like to offer God your disappointment…the deep one, the one you smile over? Elisha is lying down one night. He's getting comfortable now. At first, she had to urge him for a meal. Now she can't get rid of him. I'm telling you, if you make God a place… He doesn't want to visit; he wants to stay. He doesn't just want to speak to you.
You're like, "Oh man. I wish I could listen to you preach all day". You don't have to listen to me preach all day. God will speak to you long after I shut up. Just make him a place. So, Elisha is lying down, and he asks Gehazi, "What can we do for this woman"? That's what drew me to preaching it, because last week I preached on the question "How far will they go"? I talked about how Jesus asked 308 questions and only directly answered eight of them and how God is a God of questions even though we want so many answers. Put a question mark in the chat. That's God's favorite punctuation. I think his second favorite is a comma, because the comma means it might have stopped, but it's not over. He's the God of the comma, but he's the God of the question, and the question is…What will you do with this disappointment? She turned it into a place God could use.
Are you doing that right now or are you bitter? Are you in resentment, regret, shame, all of those places that we stay? Do you know what's crazy, Holly? Since it's just the two of us, I can show you this. The question that led me to this text wasn't the question that told me I needed to preach it. When he asked her that the first time, she pushed him off. She said in verse 13, "I have a home among my own people". But Elisha asked again, "What can be done for her"? This is amazing. He's up there asking God for something she stopped asking him for a long time ago.
You know how you can learn to live with certain things? I'll give you a version of this. "I'll never be free from that. I'll just learn to finesse it". That could be anything in your life. Somebody thought of drugs. Somebody thought of sex. Somebody thought of negative thought patterns. It doesn't matter. You say, "I'll never be free from it. I'm just going to stop asking". Especially if you raised your hand in church and went down and prayed, and, "Okay. This is the time. This is the breakthrough. This is the one. This is it".
Now it's kind of a way where you click on church and watch church, but you only let God's Word in so far. You get God's Word to cope with stuff, but you've lost hope that it can change. This is the woman. She's a great woman, and God is using her, but there is still something she stopped asking God for. What is that for you? After you've done everything you can do… This is a proactive woman. Didn't you see her pushing the prophet around? If you're going to boss Elisha around, you have to be a proactive woman. She's proactive. Do you see how she's talking to her husband?
"Get a table. Get a lamp. Go down there. I know you're old. I know your knees hurt, but we've got to take care of the man of God. Let's get this room set up". She's not some passive woman, but in this area… And everybody has one. "I guess I'll never be happy. I'll be happy when I get to heaven. Down here on earth, I'm going to just make it through. Oh, this is the valley of the shadow of death". God said, "I didn't want you to make the valley of the shadow of death your permanent mailing address". "I guess I'll just stay in the cave. I guess I'll just be anxious. I guess I'll just live in this state. I guess this is just what it is".
This is not all it is. "What can be done for her"? Elisha wanted to know. "I know she said, 'Nothing.' I know she said she's all right. I know she said she's good. I know she's stable. I know she's great. I know I'm staying in her house, but everybody has a need in their heart…everybody…even if nobody else knows it". Gehazi, the scoundrel, said, "She doesn't have a son". Elisha said, "Get her back". I heard God saying, "Come back. Come back". Do you remember how he told Elijah, "Go back the way you came"? "You don't belong in a cave. You don't belong in this low state. You don't belong in this pattern. You don't belong in this place. This is not you. You're a child of God. Bring her back. I've got to do it. I want to bless her. I've been brainstorming ways to bless you. Nothing can cancel it. Nothing can stop it. I came all this way. I'm not going to stop now. I brought you this far. Come back".
Then he made her the promise she had stopped praying about. "About this time next year…" It's one thing to tell her she's going to have a baby, but he said, "You're going to hold it in your arms". That's emotional. He's giving her a picture of something that has cost her so much pain that she stopped praying. I went through a depression. The thing about Holly and me, when we were talking about this the other day… I didn't know if I could share this with you, but she was saying how there were times where she would see me hurting, and she could only help so much, and she would feel so helpless. She would see me hurting, but she would see me continuing to do what I had to do. It would come, and it would go, and it would come, and it would go.
During that time, I think I started to convince myself I didn't deserve to feel good, so I would cover it up by saying, "I'm just going to serve God. It doesn't matter how I feel". But to bury your disappointment is not a sustainable strategy. Elisha said, "About this time next year, the thing you've stopped asking…" Don't you love the passage? He didn't ask for a bed, and she didn't ask for a baby, and God is giving them both what they didn't ask for. Is God giving you right now what you didn't even ask for in a way you could have never anticipated? Come on. It's just the two of us right now. You don't have to put it in the chat, but between you and me, is there something you've buried, something God promised? He said, "I'm going to be out of a guest room soon, because about this time next year, there's going to be blue all over these walls. About this time next year…"
Oh man. I can just see us right now on December 31, 2020, bringing in the new year. "Oh, next year is going to be better". But she did not respond with praise. Her instinct was to push him away. When God really speaks something significant to you, you push it away. You go, "I can't hear that. No, no, no". Even when something good happens, you get threatened by it, because the last time I got my hopes up… This is what the woman said. "Don't mislead me. I've been down this path before. I've hoped before, and it hurts to hope. I'd rather just show everybody publicly how good it is. I'd rather just pretend like everything is okay". But just like the prophet said, just like God said…
Verse 17: "But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her". Before we stop and shout over that, the Bible only gives one verse to this little boy's life. The whole chapter has been about her frustration, one verse about his life. Verse 18: "The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, 'My head! My head!' His father told a servant, 'Carry him to his mother.' After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died".
The only thing the boy ever said in the text is "My head"! Those are the only words he got to say, and then he died. This is what brought me to the sermon. After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, he sat on her lap and died. This is so amazing. Holly, I have to show you this. God showed me this. It was so good. When we were walking around talking about it, I didn't even know this was in it. "She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door…" That's important. She shut the door and went out. "She called her husband and said, 'Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.'"
Notice what she didn't ask her husband to do: what he didn't have the power to do. She said, "You can give me a donkey, but you can't give me a miracle". Stop expecting out of people what only God can give. This is why we get depressed. We keep waiting on people to complete us. Renee Zellweger was lying to you. If you wait on somebody to complete you, you are going to be in a constant state of suspension. They can help you. God can use people to bless you, but there are some things that are just between you and God. Just the two of us. I hear God saying, "Quit putting demands on people that are unreasonable. Let me fill those spaces. Let me have that room. Let me have that question".