Hi, everyone. My name is Joquin Evans and I am the senior leader of Bethel Church in Austin, Texas. I want to welcome you to God Today. I want to talk to you today about being willing to get it wrong sometimes so we can get it right sometimes. I know it is a funny title, but really it comes to our ability to trust God and know just how good He is.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 3 that, “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly all that we could ask or think.” That is just His nature. He wants to surprise us, really, in how good He is. I have a couple of stories where I stepped out and I took a risk and it didn’t work out the way I thought it was going to work out, but God actually did more than I could see at that moment.
The first story was, I was on an airplane coming back from a ministry trip. As I boarded the plane, there was a lady in the first or second row. She had one seat for herself and her foot was up in the seat next to her with a large air cast on it. It was sticking out in the aisle just a little bit. When I boarded the plane, I couldn’t help but notice this lady with the air cast. I thought to myself as we walked by, “When we land I am going to see if I can pray for that lady.”
My seat is way back in the plane, and I have an aisle seat. All flight long, I can see straight down the aisle to the front of the plane where this lady’s air cast is sticking out in the aisle. You could say it was taunting me the whole flight. Hours of just looking at this air cast. Finally, I think to myself, “You know what? I am not doing anything right now. I am just going to go now and see if I can pray for her.” I go up to the front of the plane, introduce myself, and ask if I can pray for her ankle. She says that I can and so I pray. I actually end up praying three different times for her ankle, each time getting a bit more assertive and a bit louder each time.
The first time it was really quiet, we are on a confined airplane. Each time I would ask her to check her ankle. She would move it and say, “Ow, it still hurts.” But each time she would say that I would get a little bit more stirred up. Like, “God, it is not okay for me to step out in risk like this, in this confined airplane, and you not show up. That is not your nature.” I would pray again, a little more assertive and she said, “Ow, it still hurts.”
I prayed for the third time and really went for it this time, praying loudly, and commanding the break to heal and just going for it. People are looking out from their seats, down the aisle of the plane like, “What is this guy doing?” I prayed like that the third time and I said, “Check it out.” She moves and says, “Ow, it still hurts.” I think to myself, “There is nothing else I can do this moment.” So, I said, “Hey, I prayed in faith. Do me a favor, keep checking it during the flight and if something good happens, let me know at the end.”
The flight finally lands, they let her off first, and I am way towards the back so it takes me a while to get off. But, I am surprised to see her waiting for me on the jetway when I got off. At this moment, my faith spikes. I am sure she has a great report for me, something amazing has happened to her ankle. So, I walk up to her and say to her, “How is your ankle doing, what has happened? She says, “Oh, my ankle? It still hurts.” But then she says these words to me, she says, “You know, I have never seen faith like that before in my life. You prayed like you actually believed something was going to happen.” Which I did, although nothing happened. She said, “I have known about Jesus, but I don’t think I know the Jesus you know. I want to know Jesus. Will you pray for me?”
I got to pray for this lady and lead her to Jesus right there on the jet way. She gives her heart to Jesus, the tangible love of God comes up on us. She is crying, I am tearing, and we are hugging. We are celebrating God right there. We say our goodbyes and she limps off the jetway with her crutches, with a broken ankle and a healed heart. Even though it didn’t happen at all like I expected it to happen, I believed God was going to touch her ankle right there on the plane. He didn’t touch her ankle, but He did the greater miracle which was touch her heart and bring salvation grace into her life. Even though she walked off with a broken ankle, God still won in that moment.
It is our capacity to trust God even when it doesn’t work out the way we think it is going to work out. We know God works in mysterious ways, the question is “How much can we trust Him?”
I have another story that I love. It just so highlights this nature of God. I was at Starbucks, sitting at the outside tables at Starbucks. I was meeting with someone, having a coffee, and there was another couple, a couple of tables away. God was just highlighting them to me. I said, “Excuse me a moment, I just need to go talk to these people.” I got up from the table and I went and introduced myself. I said, “This might sound strange to you, but I am sitting over here and I just feel like God is highlighting you.” I literally didn’t have anything else to say. I didn’t have a prophetic word, I didn’t have a word of knowledge, I didn’t have a scripture verse that was highlighted in that moment. I just felt like God was highlighting them. So, I said, “God is highlighting you, do you need prayer for anything by any chance?”
The lady looked at me with the strangest look and said, “We aren’t from this town, we are just passing through. We stopped here to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee.” She said, “Do you know you are the third person in the last hour that asked if you could pray for me?” She said, “I told the other two people ‘no’.” Then she said, “But I think something is going on here, I think I better let you pray for me.” At that moment, although I didn’t have a word of knowledge when I went up there, at that moment a word of knowledge came. I said, “You have pain in your left hip and it shoots down into your leg, don’t you?” She said, “Yes, I do, how did you know that?” I said, “I already told you, God is highlighting you.” I said, “Can I pray for it?”
So right there at the outside tables, I had her sit with her back flat up against the back of the chair. And I lift her legs up and sure enough, her left leg is about an inch and a quarter shorter than the other one. At that moment, I could just feel the faith of God, the goodness of God. I turned to her husband, I said, “You are going to want to see this.” He leans over the table, kind of wide eyed. I prayed and as soon as I could get the prayer out of my mouth, asking her leg to grow to meet the other one, it shoots out and grows. She goes, “Whoa! I felt that, what just happened to me?” I said, “Can you get up and test out your hip for me?” She starts walking around, doing high knees. She says with tears in her eyes, “This is the first time in 12 years I haven’t had pain in my hip.” God completely healed her at that moment and the result was, she and her husband re-dedicated their lives to Jesus right there at the tables of Starbucks.
Now, that was an amazing encounter. But, I left that encounter thinking to myself, “Who were those first two people who approached her and asked if they could pray and got a “no” in response?” I don’t know who they are. I was moved by the reality that those two people will never know the end result of their stepping out in faith. I don’t know, they could have been nervous, it could have been one of their first times doing something like that. They mustered up all the faith they had and they stepped out in faith and they got a rejection, they got a “no”. They could have walked away defeated and deflated, not knowing that was the very seed that opened up her heart so that when I stepped up she said, “Yes, you better pray for me.” And ends up getting healed and rededicates her life. Those people will never know, until they get to Heaven, what God did. The point is, God is always doing more than we can see.
In Luke 8, is the story of the sower who sows the seed on the field and some seed falls by the wayside, some is scorched by the sun, some is choked out by the thorns, and other seed falls on good soil and grows up to multiply 30, 60, 100 fold. The thing is, the sower didn’t first judge the ground before he threw the seed. The sower’s job was to throw the seed. He threw it everywhere and some ground responded, some soil responded differently. Some seed landed where it bore fruit 30, 60, and 100 fold. The problem is, sometimes we don’t want to take the risk. We say, “This isn’t the right situation, they don’t look receptive, I am not feeling it at this moment.” And we end up hoarding the seed of grace God has given us. These love encounters to give away, and nothing happens. Our job is to throw the seed. Even when we throw the seed, and all we get is a “no” or what we feel like is a rejection, we need to know just how good God is. God will use that seed to follow it up and more is happening every time than we even know.
I just want to pray God would give you another level of confidence and another level of boldness in trusting Him. When you step out, He is going to show up. Father, I thank you for every hungry heart that is watching this. God, I pray for a fresh boldness, God. I pray for a revelation of just how good you are that it is impossible for us to pray and have nothing happen. It is impossible for us to step out and risk in faith and not have you show up. Of course, you are in charge, and it can look differently than we think. I just release a faith and understanding you are always doing more than we can ask, think, or imagine. I bless you for that revelation today in Jesus’ name. Amen.