Trouble is Transportation – Joel Osteen

God bless you. Thanks so much for letting us come into your homes. We are here in the beautiful city of Detroit, at Comerica Park. I’m with the finest people in all of Detroit, Michigan right here with me tonight. We are blessed to have you as well. So blessed to have you guys. I want to talk to you tonight about how trouble is transportation. We all go through difficulties in life and things we don’t understand. It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “Why is this happening to me?” But God uses difficulties to move us toward our destiny. Nothing happens by accident. You may not understand it, but God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t going to work to your advantage.

Looking back over my life, the times I was uncomfortable, I had a disappointment, somebody did me wrong, it didn’t make sense to me then, but years later, I realized if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have met that person. If that door wouldn’t have closed, this bigger door wouldn’t have opened. If those people wouldn’t have done me wrong, I wouldn’t have the experience I needed for this challenge that I’m facing. Now I can see the whole time God was directing my steps. I thought I was going backwards, but he was setting me up to move me forward. I didn’t like it. I felt like I was stuck, but the truth is that trouble was transportation. It was moving me into my destiny.

You won’t become all you were created to be without difficulties. You don’t grow in the good times. You grow in the tough times. Trouble prepares you for the next level. Trouble develops something in you that you can’t gain when it’s easy and everything is going your way. In the difficult times, your spiritual muscles are developed. You gain strength, endurance, wisdom. Every obstacle you’ve been through has deposited something on the inside. Every relationship that didn’t work out, you gained experience, something that will help you in the future. The times you failed, you blew it, they weren’t wasted. You gained insight. It’s all a part of God’s plan.

Don’t complain about the trouble. Don’t get upset because life dealt you a tough hand. The reason you have big challenges is because you have a big destiny. Average people have average problems. Ordinary people have ordinary challenges. Here’s the key. You’re not average. You’re not ordinary. You’re a child of the most high God. The creator of the universe breathes his life into you. He crowned you with favor. He put seeds of greatness on the inside. You’re not ordinary. You’re extraordinary. Now, don’t be surprised if you face extraordinary challenges. It’s because you have an extraordinary destiny. God is getting you prepared for something greater than you’ve ever imagined.

Think about Moses. He was born into trouble. It was no fault of his own. As a little baby, when he was the most vulnerable, life dealt him an unfair hand. The king ordered all the Hebrew male babies, two years of age and under, be killed. It looked like Moses was done. Too bad he was born at the wrong time. But Moses had a mother who understood this principle. She didn’t believe that that trouble could keep her son from his destiny. She hid baby Moses in a basket and sent him floating down the Nile River. There were snakes, alligators, all kinds of danger. Moses could have dumped over and drowned. He could have starved to death, been eaten by wild animals. There were a thousand things that could have gone wrong, but that trouble wasn’t a surprise to God. The king issuing that death wish did not cancel Moses’ purpose. God has the final say. People don’t determine your destiny. God does.

It just so happened that Pharaoh’s daughter, this princess, decided to go down to the river and take a bath. She saw this basket floating toward her. She heard the cries coming from the inside. She opened it and there was baby Moses. It was love at first sight. She picked him up and said, “I’m going to take this baby as my own.” She raised Moses in the palace. Now, God could have stopped the trouble. He could have caused the king to change his mind and not issue that death decree. That would have spared Moses’ life. Instead, God used the trouble to move Moses to where he wanted him to be. Moses would have never learned what he needed for his destiny being raised in the environment that he was born into. In the palace, in Pharaoh’s house, he learned about leadership, about business, how to speak to people, how to conduct a meeting. The Egyptians were known for their superior education and ingenuity.

You may not like the trouble, you’re uncomfortable, it’s not fair, but God knows what he’s doing. That trouble is transportation. Just like Moses, it’s taking you to the next level. It’s getting you prepared. You wouldn’t be who you are today without all the things you’ve been through. Don’t complain about the trouble. It’s not hindering you. It’s preparing you. It’s not going to defeat you. It’s going to promote you. And you may not see how your situation could work out, but God has a way. He’s already lined up the right people. He has the breaks you need. Like Moses, there will be a pharaoh’s daughter that will be there to be good to you.

And you trust God when everything is good. Why don’t you trust him in the trouble? Why don’t you believe that even though you don’t understand it, that he’s directing your steps? You don’t have to live frustrated because you had a bad break. That trouble means you’re headed somewhere. You’re on the way to your destiny. If you’ll stay in faith, you’ll begin to see God connect the dots. You’ll see there was a reason that door closed, a reason that person walked away, a reason it didn’t work out the way you had planned. It’s because God had something better in store. He was using that trouble to move you into your divine destiny.

I heard about a young man that grew up here in Detroit. His parents immigrated to the United States from the small country of Macedonia. This young man loved playing baseball. In high school, he was a great player and very talented. His dream was to one day play for the Detroit Tigers, but he went away and served in our military. When he came back home in 1952, the Tigers offered him a four-year contract to play in their Minor Leagues. He was thrilled. He kept working hard, getting better and better, believing that he would make it up to the big leagues. But three years into his baseball career, he had a major knee injury and was forced to stop playing. As you can imagine, he was disappointed. All that he had worked so hard for suddenly came to an end. He had to move back home in with his parents. His father had already told him he wouldn’t make a living playing baseball and he couldn’t stay at home unless he went out and get a job and help pay for the rent.

This young man had a friend that owned a restaurant. He asked if he could come work for him while he was looking for another job. He said, “You don’t even have to pay me. I just need to go out some days so my dad knows that I’m working.” His friend said, “We don’t have a position available, but if you want to go in the back and help make pizzas, you’re welcome to.” This young man started working for free making pizzas. He was very good at making these pizzas, so good that he opened his own pizza restaurant. It was very successful. People loved it, so he opened another one and another and another. Today, almost all of us have had a pizza from Little Caesars Pizzas, one of the best, the restaurant that he founded.

Yes, that knee injury was a disappointment. Yes, it was a setback, but it wasn’t the end. It was transportation. It moved him toward his destiny.” Well, Joel, something like that would never happen for me.” How do you know? Your story is not over. God is not finished with you. That bad break, that divorce, that betrayal, that loss, is not your final chapter. If you’ll do like him and keep being your best, keep dreaming, keep honoring God, that trouble won’t stop you. It will become transportation. It will move you to the new things God has in store.

This man’s dream of playing for the Detroit Tigers never came to pass, but do you know today he owns the Detroit Tigers? Our friend, Mr. Mike Ilitch. It didn’t happen his way, but God had a better way. What you’re dreaming about may be too small. That door may have closed because God has something bigger for you. You’re working for that company. One day, you’re going to own your company. You’re believing to manage that addiction. God is going to free you from the addiction. You’re content to be single the rest of your life. God is going to bring somebody better than you ever imagined.

Don’t get discouraged by the trouble. It’s not the end. You trust God in the good times. I’m asking you to trust him in the trouble, when you don’t understand it, when you feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable. Dare to believe that he’s in control, that he knows what’s best, that your steps and your stops are ordered by the Lord. It’s a powerful attitude when you can say, “God, it feels like I’m going backwards, but I trust you.”

See, a lot of times, we try to pray away the difficulties, pray away the trouble, pray away the bad breaks. Here’s the key. You’re not anointed from trouble. You’re anointed for trouble. The scripture says, “God is a present help in trouble.” He’s not going to stop every disappointment, every bad break, but he will give you the strength, the grace, the power to go through it with a good attitude.

Psalm 89 says, “I have anointed David. I will steady him and make him strong. His enemies will not get the best of him. I will push down his adversaries and defeat his haters. He will rise to power because of me.” It doesn’t say, “I will anoint him so he doesn’t have problems, doesn’t have opposition.” It says, “I’m anointing him for the trouble, for the sickness, for the legal battle.”

Now, quit telling yourself, “I can’t take this. It’s too much for me.” You’re anointed for that difficulty. Just like David, right now, God is steadying you and making you strong. You don’t have to fight those battles, live stressed out. God said he would push down your enemies. That sickness, that legal problem, that trouble at work is not going to get the best of you. Why? You’re anointed for trouble. I’m looking at powerful people, anointed people, determined people, favored people. The most high God says, “You will rise to power.” That means you will see increase, promotion, healings, breakthroughs. You may be in trouble. Don’t worry. It’s not permanent. It’s transportation. You’re about to see God begin to connect the dots in your life. It hadn’t made sense in the past, but you’re going to see what God has been up to.

A couple of years after Victoria and I were married, we sold our house and moved to a different place. About three months later, there was a knock on the door. I answered it. A police officer was standing there. He handed me an envelope and kind of laughed, saying “Somebody must really not like you.” The people that bought our house were suing us over the plumbing. They sued the builder, the architect, the realtor, the plumber, about a dozen of us. We knew we hadn’t done anything wrong. We weren’t involved. But I was 25 years old and never dreamed I would be in the middle of a lawsuit, and I didn’t like it. I had to go downtown and give my deposition. I was so worried and so nervous. Afterwards, I couldn’t drive home. I was so nauseated that somebody had to come pick me up.

Several months later, it was all thrown out and everything was fine, but it seemed like that whole ordeal of having to go through that long, drawn out process of testifying seemed like it was a big waste of time. I couldn’t see how anything good would ever come out of that. But 16 years later, when we acquired our new facility, the former Compaq Center, a company filed a lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. This time, when I went to give my deposition, I wasn’t the least bit nervous. I wasn’t worried. I knew exactly what to expect. I had done it before. I was strong and confident. Now I realized the reason God allowed that lawsuit over my plumbing that didn’t matter was because he knew 16 years later, there would be a lawsuit that did matter that would affect my destiny. He had to get me prepared. I couldn’t see it at the time. Now I realized that trouble was transportation.

Instead of fighting everything that doesn’t go your way, why don’t you believe that God knows what he’s doing? Instead of saying, “God, why is this happening to me?” no. “God, I know you’ve got me in the palm of your hand. I know you’ve directed my steps. Lord, I may not understand it, but I trust you.”

This is what Joseph had to do in the scripture. As a teenager, God gave him a dream that he would lead a nation. But along the way, one bad thing after another happened to him. He was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused, put in prison. He spent years doing the right thing with the wrong thing happening. It didn’t look like it would ever work out, but Joseph understood this principle that as long as he kept being his best, that trouble could not keep him from his destiny. It was moving him forward.

If you study his life, you’ll see how God connected all of the dots. Every step was strategically orchestrated. If you left one out, the next one wouldn’t work. If Joseph’s brothers hadn’t have thrown him into a pit, he would have never been sold into slavery to a man named Potiphar. If he had never been sold to Potiphar, he would have never met Potiphar’s wife and been falsely accused and put in prison. If he hadn’t been in prison, he would have never met the butler and the baker and told them he knew how to interpret dreams. If he hadn’t told them that, the pharaoh would have never called him up to interpret the dream and eventually put Joseph in charge of the whole nation.

Any of those steps along the way, if you isolate them, it doesn’t make sense. It looks like a bad break. But you have to believe like Joseph. The disappointment, what looks like a betrayal, a setback, is all a part of God’s plan. It’s transportation. It’s moving you little by little into your destiny. God knows what he’s doing. God knew he would need someone in control of Egypt that would show favor to the Israelites, so years earlier, he started this process of getting Joseph in place. It looked like trouble, but the truth is it was the hand of God.

Joseph’s brothers took his coat of many colors. They took his coat of favor, but they could not take the calling on his life. What people take from you cannot stop your purpose. What’s on the inside is more powerful than anything on the outside. You keep doing the right thing despite the trouble, despite the bad break, despite the betrayal. One day, you’ll see like Joseph. God began to connect the dots. God will take you to your throne, so to speak. You’ll say like he did, “They meant the trouble for my harm, but God used it to my advantage.”

The scripture talks about how God will deliver us from trouble. That means, of course, that God will stop the trouble, but another way to see it is like the post office delivers a package. It may start in New York. It gets delivered to California. Deliver means they transport. They move it from one location to another. That package may have to go through five different stops along the way. The regional post office sends it to the city post office. They send it to the neighborhood post office. The mailman brings it to your house. It was delivered.

In the same way, right now, God is delivering you from trouble. You’re en route. The process has started. There may be a few stops along the way. Don’t worry. You’re not delivered yet. Like Joseph, you may be in the pit, in the prison, but the palace is coming. You’re in debt. God is delivering you into abundance. You’re dealing with depression. He’s delivering you into joy. You’re fighting that illness. He’s delivering you into health, wholeness, and victory. When thoughts tell you, “This trouble is permanent. It’s never going to change,” just answer back, “No. I’m being delivered. I’m already en route. I know this sickness, this trouble is only temporary. It’s just a stop along the way.”

I met a young lady. She grew up very healthy, active, and energetic. At 11 years of age, she had a pain in her side that wouldn’t go away. The doctors removed her appendix, but it didn’t help. Her health still continued to go downhill quickly. She lost 30 pounds in three weeks. The doctors were baffled, couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Her legs became weak. She lost movement in her arms and hands. She couldn’t swallow her food. When she went to speak, her words were not there. She described it like somebody was shutting off the circuits that controlled her mind and her body. She ended up in the hospital, in a vegetative state, not able to move, not able to open her eyes or communicate in any way. She was gone.

The doctors finally diagnosed her with a rare autoimmune disorder. It caused swelling on her brain and spinal cord. They told her family that she would be a vegetable the rest of her life. There was a good change she wouldn’t live that long. Against all odds, her family believed that God was in control, that he could restore health back into her. Her brothers and parents, they would hold conversations with her, talk to her like she was still there. Month after month went by. No sign of any change.

Two years later, this young lady woke up on the inside. She still couldn’t move, couldn’t open her eyes. It didn’t look like anything had changed, but now she was aware of everything that was going on. She was trapped inside her own body. She couldn’t tell anyone she was there. She could hear the doctors telling her parents that she was gone and there was no chance of recovery. She could hear her mother telling her that she loved her, she was going to make it.

Every Sunday in the hospital, her mother would turn our program on the television. This young lady would hear us talking about how God is a healer, how he can do what medicine cannot do. All through the day, laying in the hospital bed, paralyzed, not able to move, instead of feeling sorry for herself, in her mind, she would say, “I am a victor and not a victim.” Thoughts would tell her, “You’re trapped. You’ll never get out of this trouble.” She would answer back, “No. My time is coming. This is not how my story ends.” She prayed that God would give her parents a sign that she was still there.

Three years later, she was able to open her eyes. Still no other movement. Her mother said to her, “If you’re in there, if you can understand me, blink once for yes.” She blinked once. They knew she was there. That was the start of a long journey back. She learned to talk again, to eat again, to move again. In September of 2010, four years after she became sick, she was able to go back to school once again. Everything woke up except her legs. She was paralyzed from the waist down. And she was grateful to be alive, she was happy to be out, but she wasn’t satisfied. She knew what God started, he was going to finish.

She’d been told she would never walk again, but through faith, hard work, determination, and training, last March, a few months ago, she defied the odds and took her first steps. She no longer needs a wheelchair. No need for crutches. She can walk like nothing was ever wrong. Today, at 21 years of age, she’s one of ESPN’s youngest on-air personalities. She’s a model, an actress, a motivational speaker. My friend is with us on the front row. That’s Ms. Victoria Arlen right there. Come on, Victoria. Can you stand? Look how beautiful she is, strong and healthy. Victoria told me. She said, “I wouldn’t choose what happened to me, but I wouldn’t change it.” It was meant to stop her. Instead, it promoted her.

What am I saying? Your trouble is transportation. You may feel like you’re trapped in negative circumstances, trapped in depression, trapped in an addiction, trapped in mediocrity. It doesn’t seem like anybody can hear you. You don’t think you could ever get out. Like Victoria, that is not how your story ends. The same God that brought her out is the God that’s going to bring you out. I believe tonight dreams are waking up. Hope is waking up. Health is waking up. Abundance is waking up.

That trouble is not going to stop you. It’s going to move you to a level of your destiny you could have never experienced without it. And you may not have chosen what you’ve been through, but when you see how God pays you back, the new doors he opens, how he uses it to your advantage, you’re going to say like Victoria, “I wouldn’t change it.” Friends, you are anointed for that trouble. It may look like a setback, but really it is a setup for God to do something greater in your life. If you will trust God in the trouble, I believe and declare your trouble will become transportation. Like Victoria, God is going to open new doors, turn impossible situations around, and take you into the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus’ name. If you receive it tonight, can you say “Amen”?

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