from JO’s sermon last night:
life is full of things that we don’t like: disappointments, a friend betrayed us, we didn’t get the promotion. we see these things as being negative, thinking, “that was bad, it didn’t work out, my prayers weren’t answered.” but God won’t allow a difficulty unless He’s going to somehow use it for our good. this means that everything that happens in life, we may not understand it, but if you’ll keep the right attitude, it’ll push you further into your destiny. every closed door, the delays, the person that did you wrong, the loan that didn’t go through, God says, “it’s all good. I’m in control. it may not feel good, but trust Me and I’ll use it for your good.”
when you understand this principle, life is much more free. you don’t get upset because a coworker is playing politics, trying to keep you down; you know it’s all good. God allowed it, and He’s going to use it. you tried, but the business didn’t make it; you don’t give up on your dreams, you know it’s all good, it’s a part of the process. even simple things; you get stuck in traffic, you don’t let it frustrate you, ruin the rest of your day. you know God is directing your steps; He may be keeping you from an accident, or developing patience in you. whatever it is, keep the right perspective; it’s all good.
this boils down to trusting God. we’re never going to understand everything that happens in life. if you try to figure it all out, you’ll be frustrated. God has an advantage; He can see the big picture for our lives. He knows where the dead ends, shortcuts, bumpy roads are. sometimes, He’ll close a door that we’re asking him to open because He knows it would be a waste of time. when you’re a mature person, instead of getting bitter, you say, “God, I trust you. I may not like it, but I believe You know what’s best for me.” some of the things that God has in your future, if He gave them to you right now, you couldn’t handle it; He loves you too much to let it happen. He’s developing your character, growing you up.
that boss that gets on your nerves, doesn’t treat you right, you keep trying to pray him away; the reason he’s not going anywhere is because God’s using him like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off of you. as you keep doing the right thing, keeping your mouth closed, being respectful, that’s doing a work in you; you couldn’t develop your character without him. you may not like it, but it’s good; it’s getting you prepared for the next level. God is asking us, “do you trust Me with your closed doors, unanswered questions, things you don’t understand?” instead of fighting everything you don’t like, why don’t you have this new perspective; it’s all good? “this grouchy boss, I can’t stand him, but I know he’s good for me.” “this child that’s hard to raise, this sickness I’m dealing with, this dream that’s taking forever, I don’t like it, but I’m not going to live bitter; I know God is on the throne. He’s in control of my life. it may have been meant for my harm, but He’s promised He will use it to my advantage.” Paul said:
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God
not some things, but all things. they may not be good at the time; it’s painful to go through a loss, discouraging when a dream doesn’t work out. by itself, that may not be good, but God’s promised He’s going to bring it all together; one day. you’ll look back, and say, “that was good.” “I’m discouraged because I lost a loved one. I’m bitter because a business partner cheated me. that wasn’t good”; the problem is, you’re isolating that one incident. God hasn’t brought it all together yet; if that difficulty was going to keep you from your destiny, God would’ve never permitted it. that setback was really a setup for God to show out in your life. but you have to get rid of a victim mentality, and have a victor mentality. when you have this attitude, that it’s all good, you don’t go around with a chip on your shoulder because you had some bad breaks; you know no weapon formed against you will prosper, weeping endures for a night, but joy is coming in the morning, it’s just a matter of time before God brings it all together.
we celebrated Good Friday recently. we call it good today, but 2000 years ago, when Jesus was crucified, it didn’t look like a Good Friday; the disciples thought it was the worst day of their lives. their dreams were shattered; the man they had given their lives to was gone. doubts filled their minds; “maybe he wasn’t who he said he was. maybe he tricked us, and we wasted all this time.” I can imagine Mary, the mother of Christ, weeping and weeping as she sees her son on the cross; she’s heartbroken, in so much pain. if someone would’ve suggested, “Mary, this is a Good Friday,” she’d have thought, “what are you talking about good, look what’s happening?”
we all face these times when life doesn’t make sense: a dream dies, a relationship comes to an end, we come down with an illness. nothing about the situation seems good. good would’ve been the last word we would’ve used to describe this Friday; a better description would’ve been tragic, lonely, betrayed Friday. in the heat of the battle, it’s easy to get discouraged. the disciples could’ve said, “God, why did you let Judas betray him? why did you let the soldiers crucify him? God, why did you abandon your son in his time of greatest need?” but a few days later, after he arose from the grave, cooked them breakfast on the beach, appeared to them in the upper room, they realized he was who he said he was. they looked back on that Friday and said, “it wasn’t what we thought. it wasn’t depressing Friday, tragic Friday, it was all a part of His plan. it was Good Friday.” they looked back on what they thought was the darkest day of their lives, and they called it good.
what am I saying? it’s all good. it may not be good right now, it may not make sense on its own, but God knows how to bring it all together. what you think is going to stop you, hold you back, can I tell you, if you will stay in faith, one day you will look back and say that it was good. if Judas had not betrayed Jesus, we wouldn’t have salvation. God used the betrayal to move Jesus toward his destiny. the betrayal at the time didn’t seem good; it hurts when somebody does you wrong, walks out on you, breaks your heart. you may not see it at the time, but without that betrayal, like Jesus, you couldn’t become who you were created to be. if they left you, you didn’t need them; if they walked away, they weren’t a part of your destiny. it may be painful Friday right now, but keep moving forward; Sunday is coming, new beginnings are on the way, a resurrection is in your future.
when God brings it all together, when you meet that person of your dreams, somebody better than you ever imagined, you’ll look back and say with a smile, “it was a good Friday when that man left.” that supervisor that’s tried to keep you down for years, you didn’t realize it, but staying there with a good attitude, giving it your best, doing the right thing when the wrong thing was happening, that was developing your character, getting you prepared for the next level. you wouldn’t be who you are today without that difficulty. you may not have liked it, but you can look back and say, “that was a good Friday.”
God’s ways are better than our ways. the right way to pray is, “God, this is what I want, what I’m believing for, but God, You know what’s best for me. I trust You.” if you’re only going to be happy if God does it your way, that’s not really trusting. that’s not praying, that’s giving God orders; “God, here’s what I want You to do, when to do it, where to do it, who to use.” I’ve found, God doesn’t take orders. this is one of the main reasons we get frustrated, discouraged, because it’s not happening our way. but when you develop this trust, you let God do it His way; you know it’s all good. if the door opens, you thank God; if it doesn’t open, you still thank Him.
God can see things that we can’t see. sometimes, God will close a door because we’re believing too small. you may have dreams that haven’t worked out yet, you’ve had some disappointed Fridays; don’t get discouraged, God knows what He’s doing. keep honoring Him; your Sunday is coming. He’s going to open doors bigger and better than you ever imagined. just as God opens doors, God closes doors; we love the open doors, we celebrate God’s favor, but when the door closes, it takes maturity to say, “I don’t understand it, but I’m not going to fight it or get bitter. God, I trust you.”
when you’re hurting, disappointed, every thought will tell you, “this isn’t fair. God, why did You let this happen to me?” I’m asking you to trust God; He knows what He’s doing. it may not seem good, but when He brings it all together, you’ll look back and say it was a good Friday. Jesus would tell you, “it was good that Judas betrayed me”; sometimes, your enemies will do more to promote you than your friends. my enemies thought they were going to stop me, discourage me, intimidate me; they don’t realize God used them to light a fire on the inside. they helped me learn how to pray bold prayers, declare God’s favor, be a victor and not a victim, stand strong and fight the good fight of faith. they meant it for harm; God used it to my advantage. it’s all good. even your enemies; quit complaining about the opposition, people trying to push you down, make you look bad; they don’t control your destiny, God does.
you may be in a Friday today. nothing in your life seems good: you’re dealing with an illness, struggling in a relationship, you have people coming against you; it seems dark, lonely, discouraging, you don’t see how it could ever work out. stay in faith; God wouldn’t have allowed that if it wasn’t going to move you toward your destiny. you’re in Friday; the good news is, Sunday is coming. when you see your resurrection, when God vindicates, promotes, heals, restores you, when He pays you back double for that unfair situation, that’s what turns defeated Friday into Good Friday. no more betrayed, disappointed Friday, no, it’s blessed, joyful, victorious Friday. it’s all good; even things that at the time seem bad. God wouldn’t have allowed it if He wasn’t going to use it for good.
we may not always see it; “I don’t believe this, I’ve had bad things happen, and it did nothing but pull me down.” you don’t know what God was doing behind-the-scenes. or maybe God hasn’t brought it all together yet. this is what is faith is all about; when things happen that we don’t like, disappointments, bad breaks, betrayal, we can get negative, live bitter, or we can say, “God, I trust You. I don’t understand it, but I believe when You bring it together, it’s going to work for me and not against me.”
sometimes, God will inconvenience us so we can help somebody else. instead of being frustrated when our plans don’t work out, we have to remember, it’s not all about us. “these people at work, they’re negative, they complain, compromise; when is God ever going to move me out?” have you ever thought maybe God has you there on purpose, to let your light shine? maybe God’s counting on you to be a good influence on them; quit fighting it. the Psalmist said:
Psalm 37:23 (KJV)
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
if God has you there, He’s ordered your steps. the delays, inconveniences, the bad breaks, we may not like it, it may be uncomfortable, but instead of trying to pray it away, resisting it, why don’t you embrace it, and say, “God, this is where You have me right now, so I’m going to be my best, keep a good attitude. I may not like it, it seems bad, but I know a secret; it’s all good.”
this is what Joseph did in the scripture. nobody had more bad breaks than him: as a teenager, his brothers betrayed him, threw him into a pit, sold him into slavery, he was lied about, falsely accused, spent years in prison for something that he didn’t do. it was one bad break after another. he could’ve lived negative, bitter, but he understood this principle; even though it may look bad, feel bad, be unfair, when it comes together, God’s going to use it for our good. after 13 years of trouble, God not only vindicated Joseph, but he promoted him; he was put second in command of the whole nation. looking back, Joseph would tell you, the whole time, God was directing his steps. all of those bad breaks were part of God’s plan to get him to where he was supposed to be. the betrayal felt bad, but the truth was, is it was good; it was another step toward his destiny. being sold into slavery, that was unfair, wrong, he didn’t like it, but he wouldn’t change it; without that disappointment, he would’ve never become who God created him to be.
quit fighting everything you don’t like; God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t going to move you forward. the right attitude is, “God, this doesn’t make sense to me, but I believe when You bring it all together, one day it will make sense.” all those years, Joseph was doing the right thing when the wrong thing was happening; that was getting him prepared for his destiny, developing his character, strengthening his spiritual muscles. he was proving to God that he could handle it. what we all must do when we face things we don’t understand; quit seeing it as being negative, and embrace it as a part of God’s plan for your life. God will never give you something that you cannot handle. Joseph would say that those difficulties looked like setbacks, but really they were setups to push him into his destiny. he would tell you that it’s all good.
you may not see it at the time, but the closed doors, disappointments are good. the bad breaks, they may be uncomfortable, but when God brings it all together, it’s not going to work against you, it’s going to work for you. I’m asking you to trust Him. it may be Friday in your life, you don’t see anything good; don’t worry, Sunday is coming. God is in control; everything that was meant to stop you, God is going to use it to push you forward. He’s bringing it all together right now; you’re coming into Good Friday, blessed Friday, healthy Friday, victorious Friday.