TD Jakes - Recognizing God's Answers
Misplaced rage makes you a victim of something that you had nothing to do with. Oh my. Now, tonight, I'm talking about recognizing God's answers because, to a large degree, God's answers don't often look like our prayers. Okay. Recognition could be defined as the brain's ability to identify stimuli or like situations. Places, people, objects, et cetera, are all recognition, that you have seen before. And so recognition, in the word recognition is cognitive, your brain's ability to relate what you see to something you have seen.
Re-cognition is a cognitive ability that makes it possible to recover stored information and compare it to the information being presented in front of you. Like you look at somebody and you say, "Oh, that's Freddy, I didn't recognize you. How you doing"? Re-cognitive, re-call-cognitive, because I saw you before but I didn't recognize you, so I can't say, "I cognize you," I have to say, "I recognize you," because I have a previous experience as a reference to have recognition. I have a terrible problem with names, and when I have to remember is somebody's name, it is easier when I tie it to something that I remember. So if somebody says, "Hi, my name is David," I think, "Psalmist David". So if I can remember the Psalmist David, I'll say, "Hi David, how you doing"? because I need to tie what's in front of me to something that's behind me; recognition.
So when we come to recognizing God's answers, often, the only image we have in mind is what was in our head. So, when God answers and he delivers something that is different than what we saw in our head, sometimes we don't know how to handle it, because the answer doesn't look like the prayer. Can we go deeper with this? Let's go to Isaiah 55:6-9 for a minute and let's take a look at that. Isaiah 55:6-9, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways," watch this, "And the unrighteous their thoughts". Wait a minute, I understand, "The wicked forsake their ways," but when he gets to the unrighteous, he says forsake your thoughts. That means that the unrighteous have to be careful because your thoughts may betray you. "I thought I would be here by now, I thought I would be married by 30, I thought I would be out of debt by 50, I thought," and the Bible says forsake, for you to forsake your thoughts.
Ooh, y'all got quiet. Forsake what you thought marriage is, forsake what you thought church was supposed to be, forsake what you thought you deserve in a companion, forsake what you thought you should be paid on a job, because God did not promise to pay you according to your thoughts, but according to his. And how are you going to, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," while you hold on to your own? So there has to be a moment in your life that you go blank, and say, "Not my will, but thine, be done. You know what's best". "Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon them". For thoughts? Yes, he will pardon, he will forgive you, my mother would say it this way, "For thinking like a fool". Wasn't she good for telling you that? "You're thinking like a fool". She didn't call us a fool, but she said, "You're thinking like a fool, that don't make no sense, you're thinking like a fool," because she understood parenting is about teaching how to think. You can't teach a child how to think when your answer is, "Because I said so".
So I have a tendency, when I'm frustrated with any individual, to say, "What were you... thinking"? Yeah-yeah, yeah, because I can't understand how you did what you did, I have a problem with your ways, but the root of your ways is in your thoughts. Anytime you see somebody acting a certain way, the action is the fruit of their thinking. What were you thinking? Then God goes on and says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts," that's why I want you to forsake your thoughts, because, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways". Now we keeps in this ribbon tied between thoughts and ways, thoughts and ways, his thoughts justified by his ways, your thoughts justified by your ways. God declares unto you, "I'm not thinking what you're thinking, and my ways of getting you there are not your way. I swore I was going to bless you but I didn't tell you how, I swore I would bring you out but I didn't tell you through whom". "I thought it was gonna come through the Bishop, I thought it was gonna come through the music, I thought it".
Your thoughts, get them out of the way, get 'em out of the way. If you can surrender your thoughts to God, what you think about it, rather than building a shrine around your opinion and worshiping at the altar of that that is fragile, and open yourself up, that's what, "I surrender," really means. "I surrender all," means I surrender what I had in mind, I surrender what I had planned, I surrender how I thought it would turn out, I surrender my definition of success at this stage in my life. For instance, somebody says, "Oh, you're such a successful pastor," and I always think to myself, "Are you talking about quantity or quality"? Who says that the most successful pastor it's the one with the most members? Perhaps God goes by quality and not by quantity.
Oh, y'all ain't gonna talk to me tonight. So all of a sudden you are judging on the outer appearance, and God is looking at the heart, and it could be that the guy the storefront with 12 members is a more successful pastor because he is qualitative and not quantitative. We like it big, we do it big in Texas, I wanna see big, I want to see big; God wants to see quality. So, "I'm a big man," but are you a good man? I found out that you can be strong in your body and weak in your will, you can be physically strong and emotionally weak, and some little old girl that weigh 90 pounds soaking wet can be tougher than nails and can't lift up a barbell.
So when you start talking about strength, are you talking about outer strength or inner strength? Outer strength is deceptive, because you can be strong outwardly and be fragile inwardly, or you can be fragile outwardly and be tough inwardly. Are you hearing what I'm saying? It's some tough people in here tonight; they might not look tough, they might not dress tough, they may not have triceps or biceps or anything like that, but mess with them. The bad thing about messing with people, you don't know how tough they are to you hit 'em. Toughness can't always be quantified by what you thought. So, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts". Come on. God is trying to teach them to forsake what they had in mind so that they can recognize his answers.
Seldom in my life has his answers look like my prayer, seldom in my life has his answers looked like my prayer. His answer came in such a way that it confused them. I'm going to show you what I mean. God's answers can't be cognitive, they cannot be cognitive. So God says over and over again, "I will show you," okay, "Because where I'm getting ready to take you, you don't have a predetermined picture in your mind for what I'm getting ready to do in your life, you have no point of reference for what I'm about to do in your life". I don't know who I'm talking to, but I'm talking to somebody in this room right now or on the stream right now. You have no point of reference, God is gonna do a new thing in your life. The former things have passed away, so I'm going to forget those things which are behind, and I'm going to reach to those things which are before. Because God is gonna do something in you that you never saw in your mother, that you never saw in your father, that you didn't see in your grandparents, that you didn't see reflected in your neighbors, that you didn't see coming in your life.
And it cannot be cognitive and still be divine. God is going to do something like you have never seen him ever do before, and so he says, "I will show you". Type it on the line, I will show you, put in your notes, I will show you. "I can show you better than I can tell you, I will show you. I will show you that I will provide for you, I will show you that I can heal you, I will show you that I can bring you out, I will show you that I can supply all your needs, I will show you that there's a method to what looks like madness in your life. I will show you why your family rejected you, I will show you why your father forsook you, I will show you why your mother didn't raise you.
Stop murmuring and complaining just because you're hungry for something that you didn't get, I will show you, I already considered what they weren't going to be in your life, I will show you. Not your mother, not your father, not your sister, not your brother, I will show you. Keep on walking with me and I will show you, because you will not recognize what I'm getting ready to do in your life, because you have never passed this way before, you have never passed this way before. And if you can put up with the trauma of uncertainty, eventually, I will show you I got a plan to work this out that you haven't seen. It's not on your blueprint, it's not on your drawings, it's not on your schedule, it's never been done before, I am going to do something new in you. It's not going to be like your first pastor, it's not gonna be like your childhood, I will show you".
Look at somebody and tell them, "God's going to show you". Don't worry about it, God's gonna show you. You don't understand it right now, that's okay, God is going to show you. You don't recognize God's hand in where you're at right now, but God's gonna show you. It doesn't look like God is with you, but God is going to show you. You feel like God has forsaken you, but God is going to show you. You don't recognize anything around you, not a street sign, not a road marker, you don't know where you are; you're at a stage in your life of uncertainty, you have never been this age before, you have never been at this stage before, it's foreign to you; you don't know what to do in this season of your life, you tried to do what you used to do, you can't do what you used to do, you tried to do what you're gonna do and you can't do what you're gonna do, but stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, "I will show you".
Type it on the line, "I will show you," put it on the pad, "I will show you," tell your neighbors, "I will show you". "When it's time for you to know, you're gonna know; when it's time for you to see, you're gonna see it; when it's time for you to understand it, you're gonna understand it. Until then, walk by faith, and not by sight. When it's time for your eyes to open, they're gonna open; when it's time for you to see, you're gonna see it. But I told you to go to the pool, and I knew you were blind, and I want you to grope after it and feel after it, and when you get to the water, I will show you". Everybody who got that, give him a praise right now. I got this building, I didn't know how we were gonna pay for it, I had no clue.
There was nothing in my background that prepared me to need, I can't remember now, something around $86 million just to build this sanctuary, I had no point of reference. I could not recognize a strategy because there was nothing in my past of that magnitude. I told my mother about it, she said, "Baby, I can't think that high". I thought, "Lord, Mama, I can't either," but God says, "I will show you". They told me not to build this kind of church in this kind of neighborhood, they told me I ought to move up to North Dallas and build the church where the money was, but God told me to, "Stay right here, I will show you".
Now they didn't give me bad advice, they gave me good advice that makes really good sense, but this is not cognitive, this is supernatural; this is not natural wisdom, this is not the wisdom of men, this is the foolishness of God. God has a way of doing things that boggles the mind of the wise. God says, "I will show you". Some of you, God told you to move here, and you said, "Lord, I don't even know what to do here". He said, "That's all right, just go ahead and move here, I will show you". Glory to God. And so you packed up your stuff and you moved by faith, and you told your family you were moving and they thought you were crazy, but you left your kindred and you went to a place that God said, "When you get there, I will show you".
Now you're learning about faith, now you're learning about trust, now you're learning about prayer, now you are learning about power. And every now and then, your mind says, "What are you doing here"? but don't let your mind talk you back to where you've already been, this is not cognitive, this is supernatural, God said, "I will show you". If I'm preaching the right thing in the right place to the right people, make some noise in here right now. He's gonna show you, he's gonna show you. That's why he's got you online tonight, because he wants to reaffirm in you he's got a plan, he hadn't revealed it to you yet but he says, "I will show you".
When the time is right, God is gonna reveal everything to you as a believer, but until then, he has to test you to see if you will walk in obedience without understanding. Oh, I'm talking to somebody. Anybody on a faith journey right now? and you're in the wilderness and you don't understand it, and there's a feeling of uncertainty, and you've got great faith but sometimes you murmur and complain 'cause God got you out your element and got you out of your comfort zone. And you got a bunch of critics criticizing you, but God keeps saying, "I will show you". That's why you had to be in this Bible class tonight, because God is giving somebody confirmation.
I don't know who it is but I feel a spirit of confirmation coming in this place right now. God will show you why you had to be here, why you had to do it then, why you had to move now, why you don't have no friends yet. While you are still uncertain, God shook you away from that which was familiar because it wasn't fruitful and he brought you into a place where you could be fruitful, and he says, "I will show you". Give him 30 seconds of crazy praise. Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, I said all of that to get to the text. In our text, we learn that God's answers often defy our recognition. He said, "I'm going to send you bread," remember? I'm back in Exodus, I'm in Exodus 16:1-5, 31-32. He said, "I'm gonna send bread," but the people called it manna. They were looking for bread.
Wait a minute, what is their cognition of bread? Egypt. The only bread they recognized was Egyptian bread, so when God sent bread down from heaven they didn't recognize it, they called it manna, which means, "What is it"? Now, God called it bread, they called it manna. What is the difference between bread and manna? It's what your cognitive thoughts tell you it should've looked like, and now it's in front of you and the answer doesn't look like what you thought. Oh, I'm working on something. The reason I'm in this text tonight, well there's a lot of reasons I'm in this text tonight, but one of the reasons that I'm in this text tonight is because sometimes God's answer looks so different from what you thought that you will reject his answer because you don't recognize it.
This is the substratum of the Gospel. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not," because they did not, they did not recognize him. If the princes of this world would have known what they were doing they would have never crucified the Lord, but they did not recognize him. "Who do men say that I am"? "Some say that thou art Elias, and some say that thou art Jeremias". "Who do you say that I am"? Only one of the 12 recognized him, it's the same guy who recognized him on the water. "Thou art the Christ".
Oh, y'all don't hear, y'all ain't shouting good as I'm preaching. "Thou art the Christ, the son of the true and living God". And Jesus says, "Flesh and blood have not revealed this unto you, you didn't get this through your natural eyes, But my Father which is in Heaven... And upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". I will build my church on the backs of men and women who can sense what they don't see, who can recognize me in another form, who have supernatural revelation of who I am. I'm gonna build my church. Every so often, I'm going to raise up a man or a woman who can see what other people cannot see; and if you can see what they cannot see, you can get what they cannot get. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying to you. Look at your neighbor and say, "You better recognize". You better recognize.