Steven Furtick - Do You Feel Stuck?
Maybe when you feel stuck you're building strength. That's the only way you really build strength. It's to get to that sticking point, to get to that point where you can't push through. I used to have this spotter in high school. He would stand over me, and the moment I started to struggle, he would just lift the whole weight off of me. I thought, "Man, that's not a good spotter". That's not a good God, to never let you have any weight. That's not a good God, to never let you have any challenge. How would he grow your faith? No. See, a good spotter… You're on rep 11, 535 pounds. And I'm just a little stuck. God is standing over your life… I need you to know this. He sees where you're stuck, that sticking point, and he says, "I'm not going to take it off of you; I'm going to give you a lift".
Have you ever had God be your spotter? I declare the God of angel armies is standing over your life, and if you feel stuck, he will do what you cannot do! He is your strength! He knows how to get me past the point where I'm stuck. Now watch this. You may not like this. The first sticking point Moses encountered was not Pharaoh. The first sticking point Moses encountered, and maybe the greatest one, is that he tried to negotiate with God, and he got stuck. He got stuck at the burning bush before he got stuck at the Red Sea. God is like, "I chose you". He's already stuck tending sheep for his father-in-law, Jethro. He'd been doing that 40 years because he got mad at somebody and killed him, because when you get stuck you get stupid. Now he's doing something that's a consequence of his decision. Then the Lord speaks to him. He's like, "I chose you. Go to Pharaoh and tell him, 'Let my people go,'" with the hand motions.
Moses is stuck. You might be stuck in yourself. He said, "But behold, they will not believe me…" But you haven't even talked to them yet. "…or listen to my voice, for they will say, 'The Lord did not appear to you.'" Now there are two things about this that are wrong. First, it's on other people, and second, it's about a future event. You can't control either. So he's stuck, and he's stuck for good reason. It's because he knows himself. He knows Moses. You know you. To negotiate with God is usually like, "Nah, I'd better not try that". So I'm stuck in myself. Isn't this crazy? He's telling himself a story of what's going to happen. Have you ever been stuck in a story of what's going to happen? I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes just like, "Ah"! I'm in a king-sized bed. Everything is good. I have the most beautiful woman in the world sleeping next to me. "Ah"! I'm screaming. I'm stuck in a story of what might happen tomorrow or what has happened before.
Have you ever been stuck in a story? Have you ever been stuck in yourself? Have you ever been stuck in a story about yourself? I mean, rejection is painful, but Moses takes it to a new level. This is not rejection. He rejects himself before anybody else has the chance to. This is like advanced-level… This is pre-jection. "I'm not even going to try. It's the story of my life. Everything always goes wrong". I see this. I don't want to do a dating seminar, but I already did a negotiation seminar. When you ask her out on a date like, "I know you probably don't want to, but…" You have to have some confidence to it, man. Walk up to her like, "Hey, I didn't know if you wanted to go Tuesday or Wednesday". Come on, I'm helping you. Name your kid Larry. (That's my legal first name.) Moses is like, "I can't do this. I know me. I don't have it. I can't do it". He's stuck in a story about himself.
Now, the bigger story does not revolve around you. Remember that. When we get stuck in ourselves, we miss the whole point. God is doing something that is bigger than you. It's bigger than what's wrong with you, it's bigger than what you didn't do, it's bigger than the time you wasted, and it's certainly bigger than the opinions of others. So God makes this kind of pep talk. He's like, "What is that in your hand"? This wouldn't make me feel any better if I have to lead a whole nation and tell the most powerful man in the world, "Let my people go". He's like, "What is that in your hand"? and Moses says, "A staff". The ESV calls it a staff, but technically, it's a stick. For every sticking point in your life, God has given you a stick. You have one right now. In order for Moses to see what that instrument could be, he had to release it and throw it down on the ground. When he released it on the ground, it became a snake.
Until you surrender it, you will never see what it could be. If you will release it, if you will put it before God, if you will say, "Here's my intellect. Here's my will. Here's my understanding. Here's my ability," you will watch it transform. It will transform. It became a snake to become a sign, because Moses needed to know "This is really God," because he was stuck in himself. When you need to get out of yourself, you have to release what God has given you so he can show you what it can become. Then he had to do something crazy. He had to do something I would never do. He had to do something you only do if you really love nature. He had to pick up the snake. When he first released it and it became a snake, he ran from it, because he was smart. Not because he didn't have faith but because he had intelligence. But then God called him to reach for what he had been running from.
I promise you I feel the Holy Spirit so strong right now. When he did it, it turned back into a stick. A stick is something small, but it would be that same stick… I need you to know this, because you've never been through this challenge before. You've never been 24 before. You've never been 61 before. You've never been a wife before. You've never been a mom before. I've never been a dad before. This is my first rodeo. You've never been through this before. "This wasn't on my schedule, and I don't feel like I'm what I'm supposed to be for what I'm up against". Can I tell you what God told Moses? By the power of the Holy Spirit, when you stand in front of those Red Seas in your life… God took him back and showed him the same stick, the same stick God had changed into a snake and back into a stick, that same stick. He told him in Exodus 14:16, "I want you to take your stick and point it at what you're going through. I want you to take your stick, and I want you to point it at what you can't get over. I want you to take your stick and raise your staff".
I know it's small. It always feels small. I know some of you are visited by the perpetual spirit of "never enough," but it becomes enough when you stretch it. It becomes enough when you use it. This is the miracle of faith. Why? Because God changes things. Say it. "God changes things". That's what he does. God changes things. He turns mourning to dancing. He changes things. He gives beauty for ashes. He changes things. He turns shame into glory. He turns crosses into empty tombs. He turns graves into gardens. He turns bones into armies. He turns seas into highways, and if you will stretch what he gave you over what you're going through, you're going to get through this. I declare it! I decree it! God said it! That settles it! Back up, Pharaoh! I'm coming through!
I know it feels small, and I know for many your energy has been diminished by what you've gone through, and I know some of you feel too young and some feel too old and some feel too in between and some feel too… Shut up and trust your stuff. Don't do something stupid like give up and quit just because you feel tired. I felt tired from the 9:30, and I came out and preached this one. I had to get in a freezing cold shower to wake up, because you need this word. So I grabbed my stick and preached it, because I can't stop doing what I'm called to do just because I'm tired. You will have to trust that it is enough. Not that God is enough but that what he gave you is enough for where he put you. This is a sticking point.
If you sit there and try to negotiate with God, you will miss it. The saddest thing in the world is that Moses never even went into the Promised Land. He got stuck. He hit a rock with his staff, the same staff he raised over the sea and the waters parted and they got through. He took that staff because he was tired of the people, and he struck the rock twice, and God said, "Now you can't go in, because you don't trust me enough". Everything you love will have a part of the process you will not like, including following Jesus. Did Jesus love the Father? Then why did he ask in the garden of Gethsemane, "If there's any other way, I don't want to do it"? Because everything you love will have a part you don't like. I'm so sick of my generation thinking we always have to feel happy to move forward.
Sometimes we can do it because we love God enough and we love people enough and we're called and because we have a staff. I have a stick. I have to stick it out. I have to persevere. I have a purpose. I have a reason. I have a calling, and no, you can't have me back, Pharaoh. No! I've come too far to get stuck here. Some of you came from broken homes and broken families and busted situations, and God would not bring you out here to drown you. He's dealing with your enemies. Stretch your stick and trust your stuff and go forward and stand there. It's a small thing, and if you trust him enough to stretch the small thing over the bigger thing… I don't know what that is for you. I'm going slow because I need you to imagine, and I need you to see yourself on the other side of this, what it's going to be like when you're helping somebody else and all the hell you went through isn't wasted but it's invested.
It's the dumbest thing, but I just saw a picture like Popeye, or something, of you just getting strong in your spirit because you're pushing past the sticking point. Now, you have a spotter, and God is not going to let it fall on you, but you have to imagine. "Okay. I will rejoice again. I will sing again. Okay. My children are going to be free because I fought for this. Okay. I'm going to do it". But you will have to commit. You will have to walk through it, and that means you'll have to walk through something that feels like it could collapse on you at any time. The story goes that he stretched the staff. He trusted God, and God made a… Don't you love this? An interstate highway through the sea. Who else can do that? Who else can turn a sea into a highway, a stick into a snake? Only God can do it.
The ability to walk through something God is holding up for you. You can't stick your right foot in and your right foot out. You can't hokey-pokey through the Red Sea. It's going to mean saying, "God, I'm going to see this through. I'm going to stay in this uncomfortable place. I would rather stay stuck and have you deal with what you need to deal with. I would rather stay stuck and see your purpose for my life fulfilled". When you're standing in front of something you've never seen before, hold on to what you know. You have a stick. When it happens this week, when you hit the sticking point, if it's a mood or if it's a… I don't want to say this, but if it's a mother-in-law or if it's something really deep and dark that we can't talk about out loud, when you hit it, use your stick. Small, trust, imagine, commit, and know. That spells stick. Small, trust… "God, it doesn't feel like much, but it's enough". Trust, imagine, commit, and know.