TD Jakes - God Knows When
When I read the text amidst the magnitude of powerful things, prolific things, that stood out to me, it was the one word "when" that captivated me the most. "When", the time capsule. "When", the ambiguity of it; "when", the uncertainty of it; "when", the promise of it... "the Lord knows when" is often an expression. Like you say, "The Lord knows when I'll get back to Alabama. The Lord knows when I'll get back to the store". It's more of an expression, but today I wanna use it more as a conviction. I want it to have more meaning than a casual American colloquialism. I want it to point to the fact that "the Lord knows when" is my conviction.
I wanna discuss an absolute conviction with you, just something that you can really sink your teeth into. "The Lord knows when". His knowledge and sense of timing has long been a discussion of theological worth. "That God knows" is where we get omniscience, God being all-knowing, knowing everything from the beginning to the end, that the Lord knows. It is comforting to say, "The Lord knows when," especially when I don't. It is important for us to understand "the Lord knows when" to rebuke the tendency to believe that our lives are chaotic. We turn on the television set every day and we don't know what in the world we're going to see. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what calamities we're gonna face.
There's a feeling of uncertainty. There's a pensiveness that's inherent in our spirits right now, sitting on the edge not knowing what's going to happen next. To know and to remind yourself that God is omniscient and that God has a plan and he has a schedule and he has a sequence and he has a structure gives comfort, whether he shares it with me or not. For God often knows things that he chooses not to share, like parents don't always share with their children and children don't always tell their parents. It is possible to have information and not espouse the information to you, but the Lord knows when. It's like children going on a ride, and they're in the back seat of the car and they keep saying to you, "Are we there yet"? Yet they are comfortable to ride in the car in the uncertainty of not knowing where they are in the journey. They are confident because they know that their father or their mother has the wheel.
Are we there yet? I don't know whether we're there yet. I don't know whether we're at the end of suffering. I don't know whether we're at the end of sacrifice. I don't know whether we're coming to harvest or not. Are we there yet? But I do know who holds the wheel, and as long as I know who holds the wheel, I'm not worried about where I am in the journey, because I know before we got in the car you had a plan, you had a map, you had a strategy, you had a timing, and I'm going to wait on you. God has a watch, and a timer is on it and it's already set.
Solomon declares in Ecclesiastes, "To everything there is a season and a time, to every purpose under heaven". Nothing is running chaotically. Everything is on schedule. Everything is on schedule. I said nothing is chaotic. Everything is on schedule. You ought to write that down. Everything is on schedule. I'm right where I'm supposed to be, when I'm supposed to be, goin' through what I'm supposed to go through at the time I'm supposed to go through it, because God has a time and a season for every purpose under heaven. It's not about, "I wanna know my purpose, Pastor. I don't know my purpose. Please pray for me that the Lord would showing you your purpose".
Don't worry about your purpose. Worry about your season, because when you get in your season, your purpose will be clear, and wherever there's purpose, there's gonna be timing, and wherever there's a timing, there will always be a when. Somebody just type "when, when, when, when, when, when". God knows when. God knows when. God knows how. God knows what. "When the Lord turned again our captivity", when we left off last week, we were weeping. We had hung our harps by the willow trees, and we have wept when we remembered Zion, and we learned how to live off of memories. We were sustainable because we couldn't remember days that were not this tough. I was talking to my wife the other day and I told her, I said, just late at night, I said, "I'm at Camp Running Water". She said, "What are you talkin' about"? I said, "I'm at Camp Running Water". She said, "What do you mean"? I said, "I'm seven years old. I'm at Camp Running Water, and you think I'm here in Dallas, but I'm at Camp Running Water because I was thinking about where I can"...
I know how to live off of memories, and all they had as they were drug, shackled, and chained, bleeding and ostracized, and carried down, down from Sweet Jerusalem. O Jeru, Jerusalem, Jeru, the city of salem, peace. They had left the city of peace and gone into the plague of adversity, and not only did they leave, they did not leave up under their own auspices or on their own accord, but they were drug in chains by the Babylonians into captivity. Last glances looking back, they promise Jerusalem, "If I forget thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth". There ought to be some things that you refuse to forget. And when they came down to near the river of Euphrates, and there they saw the willow trees, and they hung their harps on the willow trees and they wept. Jesus wept. All of us weep.
There are times you go through a season of mourning, a season of struggle. To be transparent, I've gone through seasons of weeping, not a few minutes or an hour, seasons of weeping, seasons of weeping. I can remember coming into the hospital room with my wife, going up on the elevator to see her mother, who was in the hospital, and her mother expired, and with my own two hands, I close Mother's eyes, and I watched my wife turn into a ghost and the room was filled with agony, and as our hearts were wracked with pain, we could not believe that somebody so strong, so vibrant, so tough, so full of life, so powerful. My mother-in-law was the kind of woman you either liked or you didn't, and she didn't care which one you chose.
How could she be gone? It was the first time that death had circled in in recent years so close and touched somebody that was a part of our lives, and my wife was devastated, and you know, If you know anything about losing anybody close to you, that's not the kind of thing can shake off in a week or a month. You don't shake that off in three months. That devastation continued and continued and continued, and I had to preach with it, and we had to go to church with it, and we had cameras in our faces with it, and just when it was starting to ease up a little bit, my mother took sick, and got worse and worse and worse and died with us holding on to her, gasped her last breath. She was gone, and I wondered, "How in the world could I be anointed, and used of you, and seen people healed in my services, and you not heal my mother"?
I remember preaching in this very church, going to the hospital wet, and laying my body on top of hers and praying for her, and she still died. My best friend in the world, we were closer than two peas in a tiny pod. She died. Before I could get over my mother-in-law, my mother died, and then my daughter came in the room and told me she was pregnant, and it was a season of weeping. Have you ever gone through a season of weeping, that before you could get out of this, here comes something else, and your heart is overwhelmed, and you smile in front of people as best you can, but you go home, "Please, please, let me go home so I can go back to being real, 'cause I'm tired of faking a smile," and I only told you I was doin' okay 'cause I knew there wasn't nothin' you could do about it anyway, and let me go back to my weeping, and we wept.
When we left off last week, the children of Israel were in a season of weeping and bleeding and suffering, and they'd hung their harps by the willow trees and they wept. They asked them to sing. How can you sing the Lord's song in a strange land? And people honestly want you to perform like you haven't been through what you've been through, but there is a degree of pain that comes so strong that you have to shut down everything. There's something this conference you can still function through, but there is a level of sorrow that is so grotesque and so obvious and so profound and so demonstrative that it will shut your time.
How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? They hung their hearts by the willow trees and all we could hear was nothing, nothing but weeping. There is a cry that engulfs the soul, that warms the spirit, that takes you to a place where you wonder, "Will I ever"? Y'all don't know what I'm talking about. I wish I could talk to somebody who was real with me, 'cause I get sick of church folks sometimes. Sometimes they'll catch you in your grief and in your season of pain, and they're in their season of progress, and they'll looked down and, "Child, if you just believe God, everything'll be all right. If you just walk in faith and claim"... Shut up! You're in spring; I'm in the winter. Shut up! You don't have no coat on 'cause it's not cold on your side of the world, but over here, we are in a season of weeping.
And they wept a long time, and they wept a long time, and I had to come back and preach this part of it to let you know that there is a time after you have suffered a while, and cried a while, and been empty a while, and been plagued a while, and been lonely a while, and been frustrated a while, and been without a while, and had to be denied a while. There is a place that comes along after you've been confused a while, after you've been in anguish a while, after you've been tormented a while. There is a when, when, when. There is a time, my brothers and sisters, that God just says, "Enough".
I don't know who I'm preaching to today, but the Holy Ghost said, "Enough". I don't know who this message is for, but God said, "Enough". You've been in a season of hell and high water, but the Spirit just said, "Enough is enough". You're coming into a when, and you're coming into a release, and you're coming into a breakthrough. If you think that I might be preaching to you, give him a crazy praise right now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And all of a sudden, he began to turn everything around. Babylon was someplace that they thought would never be destroyed. Babylon was strong and fierce. Babylon was posted by the rivers of the Euphrates. It started out as a small port. It grew into a great empire. They were ruling and conquering and taking over, but they messed around and he took God's children down into bondage, and when God got sick of it, he brought it to an end and he stopped it, and Babylon is reaping what they sowed. "Fret not thyself over evildoers and how they prosper in their own way". Sooner or later, God will cause them to reap what they sowed. You might be outnumbered, they may have more money, they may have more contacts, but when God gets ready to bring you out, he will bring you out.
I don't know who I'm preaching to, but I feel like I'm talking to somebody. If I'm talkin' to you, just type "when, when, when, when, when, when, when, when, when, when". "When the Lord turned again our captivity, we were like them that dream". In one moment, the weeping had turned to laughter. "Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing", the very people who were hanging their harps by the willow trees and weeping when they remembered Zion are now giggling and laughing 'cause God has a when. I am telling all of you that are suffering, and all of you that are in agony, and all of you that are secretly suicidal, and all of you that are depressed, don't get too used to being depressed. Don't get too used to being down, because God owns a when. And when God says when, he will bring it to an end, and the same lips that quivered with tears, and the same face that cried itself to sleep, and the same person who rolled over and over in agony and couldn't rest at night, God will make you burst out and start laughing.
"When the Lord turned again our captivity, it was like a dream". These people hadn't been free in so long that free didn't seem normal. Have you ever been denied something so long that you got used to not having it? Have you ever been alone so long that you stop bein' lonely? Have you ever been in a crisis so long that it became your norm? "When the Lord turned again our captivity, it was like a dream," and the Holy Spirit told me to tell you you're gonna dream again. When I get through bringing you out, you're gonna be scared to believe it. It's gonna seem like it's somebody else. When I open up a door for you, it's gonna blow your mind. When I set you free, you're going to say, "Is that me"? I don't know what to think about it. Is this my house? Could this be my job? Could this be my husband? Is that my wife? You mean you would do that for me?
God said, "I'm gonna bless you till you're gonna have to pinch yourself". Oh, get ready to pinch yourself. God said, "I'll blow your mind. I'll cause you to prosper". The contracts will close. The property will sell. The door will open. The mountain will move. The yoke will be broken; the enemy defeated. When the Lord turned again. When he turned, when he turned, God got to turning. He did something in heaven, and it hit the earth realm. He did something in heaven, and God raised up somebody who didn't even know me to deliver me. "When the Lord turn again our captivity, we were like them that dream". It was hard to believe. "Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing".
I want somebody to just start laughing right now. I want you to practice your laugh. It's not gonna seem like a laugh right now, but I want you to start practicing your laugh. 'Cause God said, "I'm gonna make you laugh again". You're gonna get right up in the devil's face and laugh. You're gonna get right up in the face of the Babylonians and go to laughing. You thought I'd never laugh again? Check this out, ha ha ha ha ha ha. Check this out, ha ha ha ha ha. Check this out. Cancer, ha ha ha ha ha ha, leukemia, ha ha ha ha ha ha, COVID, ha ha ha, you thought you had me. I'd like to die, but ha ha ha.
God said, "I'm gonna fill your mouth with laughter and your tongue with singing, and all of a sudden, I am going to bless you so good that even the unbelievers are going to say the Lord have done great things for them. I'm going to bless you so good that you're not gonna be able to hide it. I'm gonna bless you so good that unbelievers are gonna be standing there with their mouth hanging open in shock". The Bible said, "The heathen said the Lord have done great things for them, and they agreed with the heathen and said, 'The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.'" I pray a spirit of gladness.
Father, right now, in the name of Jesus, I pray a spirit of gladness against every spirit of heaviness, and every spirit of forlornment, and every spirit of frustration, and every spirit of defeatism, and every spirit of agony, and every spirit of witchcraft, and every spirit of evil, and every spirit of death, and every spirit of mourning. I pray a spirit of gladness would break out right now.
Somebody's gonna start laughing in the Holy Ghost. You started out crying, but you're gonna end up laughing. God's gonna give you a belly laughter, a laughter down in your spirit and down in your soul. Open your mouth and make a joyful noise. Make a joyful noise. Make a joyful noise. Make a joyful noise. Make a joyful, joyful, joyful, joyful, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. Do you know joy is how we draw waters from the wells of salvation? Why did you let the devil have your joy? It's time to reach in there and get your joy back. Reach in there and get your smile back. Reach in there and get your peace back. Reach in there and get your power back. Reach in there and get your happy place back.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter and the tongue with singing, 'cause suddenly I got to see it, the Lord. I saw the end of my suffering. I saw the end of it. You're gonna see the end of it. You're gonna see the end of it. It's a tough period right now, but you're gonna see the end of it. All of those things I listed that I suffered, I lived to see the end of it. I lived to see it turn around. I lived to see it come out. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. You're going through a season, but if you'll hold on, you're going to see the end of it. The Lord hath done great things for us. Have you thought about that lately? Have you ever had to remind yourself how blessed you were, that the Lord hath done great things for us?
You know, it's the enemy's job to always show you the negative, but you've gotta count up the positive and say, "You know what? It's not as bad as I think it is". The Lord hath done great things for us, and I'm gonna go ahead and be glad. I give you permission to be glad. I give you permission to have joy. I give you permission to get your smile back. I give you permission to get your praise back. I give you permission.
Some of you have not had permission. You've been locked up. You've been shackled down. You've been bound. You've been held captive by a spirit of defeatism, but I break you loose and I give you permission right now. I break every bond over your spirit. Whereof we are glad. We are glad. Turn again our captivity as you did the streams in the south. Turn it absolutely around until I looked schizophrenic. Turn it around until they think I've lost my mind. Turn it around until the last time you saw me, I was laying down crying like this, and you thought I would never get back, and when you come back in the door, I'm laughing and dancing and shouting and praising. God will turn it around. He turned our captivity around.