TD Jakes - Delayed Gratification
This is the first time that the disciples got to see him lose. All he ever did was win. At 12 years old they brought him into the temple, and he warred up against the doctors and the scholars. He won, he outsmarted all of them at 12, all he ever did was win. When his mother told him they ran out of wine, he took water and turned it into wine, and the wine could not resist the Word for the Word said "turn to wine" and the water obeyed, and all they had ever seen him do was win, but this week, he was acting strange. It was not unusual to see him go apart to pray. He often went apart to pray. Even after he fed the 5.000, he went into the mountains to pray, and he came back walking on the water, and it was fine and it was good, but this was different.
This was a different kind of prayer. This was a stressful, agonizing, tormenting prayer. This was a prayer that made him want company, because when you have delayed gratification and you're suffering, you want friendships. Misery enjoys company, but there are some places that God is taking you that you can't take anybody with you. No matter how much they love you, no matter how much they like you, there are some things that God takes you through that you have to face it alone, you have to face it alone. I went in the labor room with my wife, and I was in the room with her, but when they said "push," they weren't talking to me. When they pulled out scissors and did an episiotomy, I didn't bleed. The truth of the matter is I told everybody we were having a baby, but when I saw them do what they did, I said, "No, we ain't having no baby. You having a baby, and I'm praying for you," because some things nobody can do for you.
Peter, James, and John have gone into the garden of Gethsemane, the place of pressing, the place where all of the olive trees were kept, the place where the only way you could get the oil was to crush the olive, and it is ironic that a crushed Jesus comes into a crushed place, getting ready to be transformed from one element into another. Crushing is always standing in the way. I wish I had some crushed people in here. I wish I had a few people who are going through some crushing times. I wish I had some people who have lost a friend or lost a house or lost a spouse or went through something that crushed you, and you didn't know whether you can take it, and you didn't know whether you could make it, and you wondered where was God in the middle of your situation. I get tired of people always acting like you're on top of the mountain.
Every now and then God orders a valley in your life, and when God orders a valley in your life, you gotta be prepared to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and know that I'm gonna walk through it. I'm not gonna stay in it, but I gotta walk through it because the valley comes to teach me. God teaches in the shadows. God teaches in the darkness. God speaks in the night. When God said, "Let there be light," he said it in the dark. Some of the greatest words you will ever get from God will not come from your successes, they will come from your failures, in the darkest moments of your life. That's when faith stands up undaunted. I don't need faith for victory, I need faith when I have to lose to win. Go on to sleep, Peter. He said you should've been praying, lest ye enter into temptation.
The temptation to fluctuate, the temptation to be unstable, the temptation to vacillate is broken by prayer, but instead of praying, they were sleeping, and the more you sleep, the less you pray, and because you are mighty men of valor, you should've been praying not to enter into temptation. The temptation is to offer a quick solution to a long process. The temptation is to shortcut the strategy. The temptation is to look for an easy way out. Oh, Peter was asleep. So when Jesus comes out from the garden of Gethsemane, as soon as he walks out of the garden, and the garden of Gethsemane is not a big place. It's about big as half of this stage, and maybe a little bit more with olive trees all over the place, and Jesus has been back in the inner sanctum of the garden of Gethsemane, way past where his people were. You can't be a leader if you can't go past your people.
Jesus walks out of the garden prayer rich, and Peter, James, and John come out faith poor, and as soon as they come out of the garden, here comes a railing mob. A mob is coming, whereas, a mob has come, and they're saying, "Where is Jesus"? Can you imagine the utter terror when people are not only assembled in a mob with weapons and lanterns, they're calling your name. "Where is Jesus"? And then, Jesus does something that's utterly amazing. It's not mentioned in my text, but it's mentioned in the gospel of Saint John. He said, "I that speak am he," and they all fell backwards. I that speak am he, and they all fell backwards. He's letting us know that he did not succumb to the power of the mob. He's submitted to the prayer with the Father. He says, "I can handle the whole mob.
I can swallow you up. I could knock you off your feet. I could bury you in the earth. I could drown you in the Jordan. I can speak a Word, and you couldn't catch your breath. I am not allowing myself to be shackled because you're stronger than me, I am being shackled because I'm strong whether I'm shackled or not. I'm strong with no car. I'm strong with no friends. I'm strong with no help. I'm strong with no money. I'm strong with no company. I'm strong if you need me. I'm strong if you stay. I'm strong if you cuss me out. I'm strong if you'll allow me. I'm strong if you spit in my face. I that speak am he," and they all fell backwards, and oh, half-praying, half-sleeping Peter reached in and got his sword and cut off Caiaphas's nephew's servant's ear.
Watch this. He cut off his ear. Of all things, he cut off his ear, and Jesus stoops down and puts it back on again because how can he ever get better if he can't hear? The enemy wants to cut off your ear. He'll do anything to keep you from hearing what thus saith the Lord. You didn't hear what I'm saying. You don't hear what I'm saying. The enemy's after your ear. That's why he sent your crazy girlfriend to cut off your ear. Her advice is cutting off your ear. Your associations are cutting off your ear. Your so-called friends are cutting off your ear. Anything that stops you from being able to hear is cutting off your ear, but Jesus stooped down and put it back on again because faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
And what I'm trying to teach in the text, I'll say this and I'll close, they didn't recognize Jesus losing. He had always been a winner, and you can always get a bunch of people to follow you when you winning. Now he's a loser. Where is Thomas? Where did he go? Peter, why are you sitting over there with them? Judas, you counting your money. Where did they go? But what the disciples didn't know is what I'm trying to teach. Is that for great wins you have to endure great loss. This is where we contemporize the texts. Jesus knew that the only way up was down. Jesus knew that the road to success was struggle. Jesus knew that there was no way to get the oil out of the olive but to crush it. Jesus accepted the process, and he knew that the pain in his life right now did not negate the promise that was on his life.
In fact, it initiated the promise that was in his life. There was no way for him to be Lord of all above the earth, under the earth, and in the earth without going through all three dimensions. So he rebuked Peter for him trying to save them just as much as he rebuked Peter for cutting off the man's ear, and then Peter denied him, and here's the kicker. Jesus still kept fooling with Peter. Now, if you had got in the way of my destiny and if you had denied me and made friends with my enemies and denied me three times, seem like to me that would be a sign I'm gonna be you, you and me, we finish. When you see me, you go that way, I'll go that way. We Christians, so we gotta nod. We will nod at each other. Stay out of my face. Jesus invites Peter to preach the inaugural address on the day of Pentecost. This is for every man, woman, boy, and girl who's ever had a little Judas, a little Thomas, a little Peter in them. That does not mean that God is through with you. That does not mean that God is through with you.
The reason they did all of that is for the first time in following Jesus, they had to learn delayed gratification. The woman with the issue of blood was healed immediately. The man with the withered hand was healed immediately. The man who was sick of palsy was healed immediately. I can show you case after case where they were healed immediately. Lazarus was raised from the dead immediately. The water was turned to wine immediately. This is the first time that they saw Jesus in shackles. Do you know what it would feel like to see your leader, your father in chains? They did not understand delayed gratification. They didn't understand that the rust bucket got the house. They didn't understand that the saving opened up the door and we don't seem to understand that the best promises often come out of the longest delays, and the reason I'm preaching this message is that the Lord told me to tell you you've been delayed, but not denied.
The Lord told me to tell you I don't know what he's talking about, but you'll know what he's talking about? God told me to tell you he's still going to do it. God told me to tell you, though the vision tarry, wait for it. In the end, it will speak and not lie. God told me to tell you that he has not forgotten what he promised you and even though it looks like everything is going contradictory to what he showed you, God said it's just delayed gratification, and he told me to tell you that after you've suffered a while, he'll establish you and make you perfect, and he told me to tell you that nothing that you've suffered will negate anything that he promised you, that he's still going to bring it to pass. It may not look like it all week long. It may not look it while you're hanging from the cross. It may not look like it while they lure you in the grave, but early Sunday morning, God said, "I will not lie to you. When I get ready to snatch you up, I'm gonna snatch you up so fast it's going to blow your mind".
I just wanna know who I'm talking to. I want to know who this Word is for. I wanna find somebody who's been on hold a long time and you've been waiting a long time and you've been delayed a long time and you wonder, Has God forgotten you? And you wonder will God ever remember you, and you thought maybe God had changed his mind and the Lord sent me to preach this message to let you know I didn't change my mind. It's just delayed gratification, and God said after you've suffered a while, I'm gonna raise you up and establish you. I don't care how many stones they roll in front of you. When I get ready to get you up, I'll raise you by my power. I'll raise you by my glory.
You don't have to play a trick. You don't have to do a scheme. You don't have to play a game. God said, "When I get ready to raise you, you don't have to flirt with the soldiers. You don't have to make a deal with Rome. When I get ready to raise you, I'll raise you up. I'll raise you by my power. I'll raise you by my glory. I'll raise you by my strength, because what I have spoken, I have spoken, and what I have said, I have said, and I swear", God said, "I swear". God said, "I swear". God said, "I swear". God said, "I swear, I swear I'm gonna bless you. I swear I'm gonna bless you". Give him 30 seconds of crazy praise.
"I swear, I swear, I swear, I swear, I swear I'm gonna bless you. I swear I'm gonna bless you". It might look bad right now, but God said, "I swear, I swear, I swear I'm gonna bless you". This Word is for you. It's for the hell you've been going through. It's for the pain you've endured. It's for the nights you've cried. It's for the moments you felt like giving up, but God said, "I swear I'm going to bring you out". Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life. When they put you in jail, goodness and mercy went to jail with you. When they were beating your back, goodness and mercy was there with you. When they put you in the grave, goodness and mercy was there with you, and God said, "I'll always assign two angels. Goodness is on your right side; mercy's on your left side".
And the Lord told me to tell you I got you covered. I got you covered, and when it's all over, I'm gonna bring you out, and when I bring you out, you're gonna be more grateful because you suffered for it. You cried for it. You waited on it. You're not gonna be like the other people who got arrogant. God said, When I bring you out, you're gonna give me the praise. You're gonna give me the praise 'cause you're gonna know if it had not been for the Lord that was on my side, I would have been swallowed up, but thanks be to God who gave me the victory. I wonder if I can find ten people in this room, a hundred people on the internet that what you got you know God gave it to you. The door that got open, you know God opened it for you. I want you to testify, God will keep his Word. Some of you were in abusive relationships. Some of you had to flee for your life. Some of you have been beaten. Some of you have been in jail. Some of you have lost your last dime, but didn't God do it? He brought you up.