Full text of pastor and author Joel Osteen’s sermon titled “Believing When You’re Not Seeing”.
Best quote from this message:
“Get ready, your 35th day is coming, God is about to do something unusual, something that’s never happened for you.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Joel Osteen – Pastor, televangelist, and author
Well, God bless you. It’s a joy to come into your homes, and if you’re ever in our area, please stop by and be a part of one of our services. I promise you we’ll make you feel right at home.
I’d like to start with something funny.
And I heard about this man that was very stingy with his money. Just before his death, he made his wife promise that she would have him buried with the $50,000 he had saved. His wife reluctantly agreed.
At the funeral, right before they closed the casket, she snuck in this small wooden box. Her friend said, “Surely, you didn’t just bury the money.”
She said, “Of course, I did. I am a Christian. I can’t lie.”
The friend said, “You mean, you just buried $50,000?”
She said, “Yes, I did. I wrote a cheque.”
Say it like you mean it.
This is my Bible. I am what it says I am, I have what it says I have, I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert; my heart is receptive; I will never be the same. In Jesus name. God bless you.
I want to talk to you today about: Believing When You’re Not Seeing. It’s easy to believe when things are going our way: we’re getting good breaks, our health is improving, our child is turning around. When you can see it, it doesn’t take much faith.
The test comes when you can’t see any sign of what you’re believing for. You’re working hard, but doors aren’t opening. You’re praying, but the medical report isn’t improving. You’re doing the right thing, but your marriage isn’t getting better. You know God put the promise in your heart, you know He gave you the dream, but there’s no sign that it’s happening.
If you just saw a little improvement, if you just felt a little better, at least you would know that what you were doing was helping. But many times before a promise comes to pass you have to go through a season of silence, where you’re not seeing anything changing.
You’ll be tempted to think: “Is what I’m doing even working? Is my believing, my praying, my giving even making a difference”? This is when many people get discouraged and quit give up on what they’re believing for.
But just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean God is not working. Behind the scenes things are changing that you can’t see. God does much of His work in secret: you can’t see Him lining up the people you need, you can’t see Him arranging good breaks for you, you can’t see Him sending the angel with your promise, putting the healing, the promotion, the vindication on your schedule.
All you can see is “Joel, I’m praying and nothing’s happening. I’m doing my best, but nothing’s improving” – you’re in a season of silence.
The question is: are you going to get discouraged and quit believing because you’re not seeing? Or are you going to dig your heels in and say, “God, I may not see anything happening, but I’m not moved by what I see, I’m moved by what I know. And I know what you promise me is on the way”.
If you’ll stay in faith, at some point you’re going to see what God was doing behind the scenes, suddenly things are going to shift in your favor. What happened? You saw what God was up to all those months, even years you didn’t think anything was happening, behind the scenes things were coming together.
And sometimes it hasn’t happened yet, because another person involved is not ready, God is working on someone else who’s a part of your story. Or when that obstacle wasn’t changing, you didn’t realize it, but God was using the obstacle to change you. You were growing, getting stronger, developing patience.
If He would have removed it sooner, you wouldn’t be prepared for where He’s taking you. But the scripture says, “Don’t get weary in well-doing for in due season you will reap if you faint not”. It doesn’t say, “You may reap”, “There’s a good chance you’ll reap”. God says, “If you won’t get tired of doing the right thing, if you won’t let what you see talk you out of what you know, then your due season is coming, you will reap if you don’t faint”.
But God wouldn’t have told us to not get weary in well-doing, if He didn’t know it would be easy to get tired of doing what’s right, it’s easy to get worn down, think it’s never going to work out: my marriage is never going to make it, my business is never going to grow. No, get your fire back, your due season is closer than you think.
In the scripture it compares the life of a believer to an eagle. When a mother eagle is going to have a baby eaglet, she lays an egg. For 35 days she has to sit on the egg to keep it warm. She never feels the baby eaglet kick, the egg never grows any larger, there’s no sign that what’s on the inside of the egg is alive. The mother eagle could think, “If it was alive at least it would move a little bit, at least I would hear something”, but day after day the mother eagle sits unmoved by what she doesn’t feel, unmoved by what’s not changing. On the 35th day, after no signs of life, suddenly the little eaglet starts pecking out of the shell, before long it hatches healthy and whole.
But think about the faith it takes for that mother eagle to sit on an egg that seems dead. Unlike a person, when a lady is going to have a baby, we have all these signs: their stomach gets bigger, their feet may swell, their back may hurt, they may get meaner… I mean they may have morning sickness, their womb begins to grow. Over time it’s obvious you can see the baby is developing.
When Victoria was pregnant with Jonathan, we were driving down the road and I turned on some music. Just like clockwork he started kicking in the womb, like he was keeping beat to the music. You could see a leg coming out here and elbow coming out there: we had no doubt that he was coming. Those last six months we never once thought, “I wonder if he’s in there, I wonder if he’s alive”. We didn’t have to wonder, we could see it.
If God brought promises to pass like a person giving birth, it would be no problem to stay in faith. It would be easy to thank Him that it was on the way. But most of the time it won’t be like a person, it will be like an eagle. You’re going to have to believe something is happening when you can’t see any sign of it. You’re going to have to sit on that promise, believing, expecting, praying, thanking, when you’re not getting any kicks, when you’re not seeing any growth, when the egg is not moving, you don’t hear any sounds – deep down you have to know, something is happening that you can’t see.