from JO’s sermon last night:
we all face situations that we don’t like: somebody’s not treating us right, business is not growing as fast as we had hoped, we’re single and still haven’t met anyone. it’s easy to live uptight, all wrought up on the inside; we don’t understand why it’s taking so long, why this person hasn’t changed, why our prayers haven’t been answered. we end up frustrated, fighting against everything that we don’t like. just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not where we’re supposed to be. God uses difficulties to do a work in us; we grow in the tough times, that’s when our character is being developed. God will not allow a difficulty unless He has a divine purpose for it. if we’re going to reach our highest potential, we have to make up our mind; ”I’m not going to live frustrated because I’m uncomfortable. I’m not going to be upset because things are not happening on my timetable. I’m not going to fight against everything that I don’t like.” our attitude should be, “God, I trust You, You’re in complete control, I may not like this situation, but You wouldn’t have me here unless I needed it, so I’m going to keep a good attitude and be my best right where I am.” that’s how you position yourself for promotion. scripture says:
Exodus 13:17-18 (NIV)
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.
He took them the long way on purpose because they were not prepared for war; God knew if He would have taken them in too quickly, they would have been easily defeated; their enemies were much bigger, much more experienced. I’m sure they prayed many times: ”God, we’re uncomfortable out here in the desert, we’re hot, tired, let us go in sooner.” but God didn’t answer that prayer, not because God was trying to make their life miserable, but God knew what was up in front of them; He had to toughen them up and get them prepared so they could step into the fullness of their destiny. in the same way, God has already laid out the plan for your life; He knows exactly what you need, when you need it, who you need. He knows the battles you’re going to face, the dreams you’re going to accomplish; He’s got it all figured out. that’s why we cannot pray away every uncomfortable situation. “God, this person at work, they’re gettin’ on my nerves, you gotta get Him outta my life”; no, God will use that person like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off of you. even if you were to pray them away, God would send you 2 more people just like them. God is more interested in changing us than He is in changing our circumstances; God loves you too much to let you stay where you are. it may be uncomfortable, but you have to remind yourself; ”this is not working against me, this is working for me. it’s getting me in position for the amazing future God has in store.” some of the things you may be praying about, if God were to remove them right now, you wouldn’t be prepared for where God is taking you. you’ve gotta let God do the work in you: be kind to the people that are not treating you right, keep being your best even though you’re not getting the credit. pass those tests. Paul prayed:
Colossians 1:10-11 (CEB)
10 We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God;11 by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; 12 and by giving thanks with joy to the Father.
he didn’t pray that God would deliver them instantly, remove the difficulty, he prayed that they would have the strength to go through it with a good attitude. Paul understood this principle, that God uses the tough times to get us prepared for the next level. David was chosen to be king, anointed by God to be the next leader of Israel; surely God would answer all of his prayers, make his life comfortable. no, David had to go through this same process; for many years, King Saul made David’s life miserable,. David had done Saul nothing but good; he would play music when Saul wasn’t feeling well, treated him with respect, but in return Saul tried to kill David, chased him through the mountainside. I can hear David praying, “God, you gotta get this man outta my life!! God, you know I haven’t done anything wrong.” isn’t it interesting; God didn’t remove Saul. He didn’t answer that prayer. here David was doing the right thing, it was an unfair situation, but God knew what He was doing; He was getting David prepared. the longer you do the right thing when the wrong thing’s happening, the longer you keep a good attitude in an unfair situation, the higher God is going to take you. don’t be discouraged by it: “I’ve been doing the right thing in this marriage for years, I’m not seeing any results,” “I’ve been volunteering in the nursery for a long time, nobody every says thank you.” ”I go to work, do more than I have to, I’m not being promoted.” you’re right where David was. keep being faithful, doing the right thing, God is getting you prepared for something amazing. your future is so big, God has to get your spiritual muscles, character, maturity, to match the level that God is about to thrust you to.
don’t fight it, just keep being your best; God is closely watching you. He sees every time you make a sacrifice, overlook a wrong, take the high road, help someone in need; that doesn’t go unnoticed. God is keeping the records, and He’s saying, “payday, breakthrough, reward, new level is coming.” just like David, you’re going to take your throne and become everything God’s created you to be. we naturally all like things easier, we’d for love God to remove the difficult people, eliminate the hardships, answer our prayers the first time we pray, but that’s not always what’s best. have a new perspective; those difficulties are not happening to you, they’re happening for you. the people that are hard to get along with, if you’ll have the right attitude, take the high road, be kind, ignore their negative comments, they’re not holding you down, they’re polishing, refining you, making you shine. don’t be upset. you couldn’t go where God wants you to go without them. they’re doing you a favor; without that sandpaper, you would stay rough. the next time you see them, instead of thinking, “oh man, I don’t feel like dealing with them,” no, just smile and say, “thank you Lord, I’m gonna be polished a little bit more today, I’m gonna shine a little bit brighter.” could it be that you are fighting what God wants to use? you’re spending all your time trying to pray away the difficulty, when you should be spending your time honoring God in the midst of your difficulty? instead of fighting where you are, try a different approach; embrace where you are.
it may not be where you wanna stay, I’m not saying to settle there and accept mediocrity, I’m saying to accept where you are, knowing that the Creator of the universe has you in the palm of His hand, He’s directing your steps, nothing that’s happened to you is a surprise to Him. at the right time, God will change it. in your due season, when you’re ready, when it’s best for you, God will remove the difficulty and take you to a new level. but in the meantime, one way we can show God we’re trusting Him is by enjoying our life while God is changing the circumstances. maybe all your friends are married, you’re still single; ”that’s alright, this is where God has me right now, I’m at peace, happy, I know the right person is already on their way.” that’s how you pass the test. not every other minute, “God, I’m begging You, please, send me a man,” no, “God, I trust you.” maybe you’re in an apartment, believing for a nicer place to live; not, “God, I am so sick and tired of this place, I haven’t seen one thing shift in my life,” no, ”God, I trust You, this is where You have me right now, I’m content. but God I know in my future You’re gonna open the windows of heaven, pour out blessings that I cannot contain. Lord, I wanna thank You in advance that it’s on the way.”
that’s how you see promises come to pass. some things you can only learn in the struggle. you can’t learn in the good times, when it’s easy, everything’s going your way; that doesn’t take any faith. you can only learn when you’re in the wilderness, not being treated right. don’t be frustrated because it’s not happening your way, on your timetable; God knows what He’s doing, He’s getting you prepared. your destiny is bigger than you think. you’re going to go further than you can imagine. God can see the new levels in front of you, He knows what’s up there. keep passing those tests, stay in faith even when it’s difficult, keep doing the right thing even when the wrong thing’s happening. don’t fight it, begging God every other minute, “please, God, You gotta change it,” that’s just going to frustrate you. learn to embrace where you are. it’s ok to be honest, and say, “God, I don’t like where I am, I’m uncomfortable, it’s taking longer than I thought, but God, I trust You, I know this is not happening to me, it’s happening for me, it’s all a part of Your divine plan.” when you learn to embrace where you are, it’s a freeing way to live, it takes all the pressure off.
Hebrews 4:3 (NIV)
3 Now we who have believed enter that rest..
the way to know that you’re really in faith is you’re at rest; there’s a peace. you may have a problem, believing for a situation to turn around, it’s taking a long time, you could easily be discouraged, no, the key is to stay in that place of rest, where you know God is in complete control, you’re not moved by what you see, you’re not worried because it’s taking a long time, you’re not disappointed because you went through a setback; every day you stay in peace, you are one day closer to seeing that situation turn around. ”I don’t understand why God doesn’t answer my prayers, I’m goin’ to church, I’m faithful, I help others.” maybe what you’re praying about is too small, maybe God has something much better, and He loves you so much that He won’t answer that prayer. but until you enter into this rest and quit being sour, thinking that Gods letting you down, it’ll keep the new thing from happening. a prayer that we should all pray on a regular basis is, “God, not my will, but let Your will be done.” it’s ok to say, ”God, this is what I’m believing for, what I want, what I’m dreaming about, but God, if you have something better, I trust you, You know what’s best for me.” if you’re only going to be happy if God does it your way, then you’re not really trusting. we can only see little bit down the road; God can see the big picture, He can see around every curve. He knows where the dead ends, shortcuts are. God knows how to get you to your destiny.
why don’t you take your hands off the wheel, and let God take you where He wants you to go? you gotta trust God even when you don’t get the answer that you were looking for. you gotta believe that God’s in control, directing your steps, keeping you on the best plan for your life. God knows what He’s doing; quit fighting against what doesn’t go your way, being disappointed because your plans didn’t work out. you may not understand it now, but one day you will thank God for those closed doors. God’s ways are better than our ways. don’t try to figure it all out, “why didn’t I get the promotion? I had the seniority, worked the hardest”; just as God supernaturally opens doors, God will supernaturally close doors. we all thank God for the open doors, and that’s good, we should celebrate that; I’ve learned to thank God just as much for my closed doors. what I used to see as a disappointment, now I see as the hand of God. if God closed it, He has something better in store. why don’t you trust Him, enter into that rest, “God, You know what’s best for me. I don’t have to have my way to be happy. I know Your plans are better than my plans.” God is so merciful, He loves us so much, if it’s not the right thing, God will keep the door closed even when though we’re trying to pry it open. we see it as a big disappointment, “God, I can’t believe You let me down, You didn’t answer my prayer”; the truth is, God was doing us a favor, He was saving us from heartache and pain.
how many things are we upset over, wondering why God didn’t answer that prayer, the situation didn’t change, the door closed? yet if God were to pull back the curtain, and let us see into the future what He can see, we’d realize God knows exactly what He’s doing, God has our best interests at heart. that promotion you didn’t get, you were so disappointed; it’s because God has something better. that door that closed, we couldn’t understand it, seemed like a perfect fit for us, but seeing the big picture, we realize that road was a dead-end, it was leading to nowhere. that traffic jam you got caught in, you were so stressed out; it was saving you from an accident. that person that walked out on you, it’s very painful; but if they hadn’t left, you wouldn’t meet the right person God has in your future. quit fighting against everything you don’t like; it’s not happening to you, it’s happening for you. when you’re at rest, you’re passing the test. don’t fight your delays, inconveniences, when you get caught by that train; you may not understand it, but God knows what He’s doing, He can see the big picture. dare to trust Him.
Proverbs 20:24 (TLB)
Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way?
you may never know why you had a delay, disappointment, setback, but when you really believe that the Creator of the universe has you in the palm of His hand, then you can stay in peace even when you don’t understand it. that’s what faith is all about. some of the very things that we fight against, that frustrate us, God has ordained them to keep us from accident and harm; they’re called divine delays, your plans are interrupted on purpose. since the Lord is directing our steps, don’t fight it. it’s not always going to make sense. some of you are always fighting, worried, uptight, don’t like where you are, don’t like the job, don’t like the people; why don’t you try a different approach? this will save you alot of frustration; embrace where you are, even when it’s uncomfortable, even when you don’t like it, stay in peace, keep a good attitude. when you do that, God is using it to your advantage. you’re growing, developing character, it’s positioning you for the amazing future God has in store. if you will enter into this rest, and not fight against everything, you’ll not only enjoy your life more, you’re going to step into the fullness of your destiny. God is gonna take you further than you’ve imagined, opening doors that no man can shut. you’re going to overcome every obstacle, accomplish every dream, and become everything God created you to be.