Hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God today, even though we feel forgotten. Sometimes, we feel like we are doing everything right but our circumstances don’t change. If we are going to get from where we are to where God is leading us, we need to learn how to deal with the disappointment of feeling forgotten. Disappointment is normal, but because of what Jesus has done, we don’t have to live with a spirit of disappointment. We can live with a spirit of hope!
Alright, everybody, welcome to Valley Creek Church. We’re really glad that you’re here with us. Whatever campus or location you may be at today, can we welcome each other together for a moment? We are so glad you’re here, wherever you are. And we are jumping back into our series called Disappointed. For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about finding hope in the midst of life. And it’s really been a big series for our church because God’s been doing some profound things in it. He’s really been exposing some things, he’s been healing some things, and so we’ve just given this series some space. We’ve given it some space to breath so God can do that which he wants to do. And one of the things that I think has really been exposed in this series is how many of us are really deeply disappointed in life. I think many of us, we didn’t admit it going into this series, but if we’re honest as we’ve been going through, we’re chronically disappointed.
Like, for a lot of us, disappointment has become a normal way of life. And while being disappointed is normal, living with the spirit of disappointment is not. In the Kingdom of God, it’s normal to experience unmet expectations. It is not normal to expect to be disappointed. That’s the difference. You see, disappointment is unmet expectations. This is what you were expecting, this is what happens, this is your level of disappointment. That’s normal in the Kingdom of God to experience that. What the spirit of disappointment is, is the expectation that I’m going to be disappointed in any and every area of life. That’s why in John 16:33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart for I have overcome the world.” In other words he says, “Disappointment is normal but because of who I am and what I have done, you don’t have to live with the spirit of disappointment, you can live with the spirit of hope.”
And so we have to learn how to deal with disappointment in a Godly way if we’re ever to going to experience the abundant life that God has in store for us. Unresolved disappointment will lead to an unfulfilled destiny. If we’re going to get from where we are to where God’s taking us, we’re going to go have to go through valleys of disappointment, without allowing it to steal our hope. And so we’ve said this series is not really about getting rid of your feelings of disappointment. It’s about helping your learn to grab a hold of hope so you can fulfill the destiny that God has in store for you. And we’ve been taking a look at the story of Joseph, an Old Testament hero of the faith. And what’s amazing about Joseph is he’s a guy who experienced wave after wave after wave of disappointment and yet he never picked up the spirit of disappointment. He never lived his life feeling like every day he was expecting to be disappointed. Again, he lived everyday expecting the goodness of God. And so let me just remind of the story of Joseph. And some of you are like, “Bro, we’ve been in this series a long time, we have to do this again?” The answer is — Yes, because every service, every weekend is somebody’s first time to show up. And we care more about mission than us having to hear some things that maybe we’ve already heard before, right?
So the story of Joseph goes something like this. Joseph is one of the 12 sons of Jacob. He’s his father’s favorite son. His father gives him this special robe to show that he has his favor. Joseph has this dream and this destiny from God, that God was going to raise him up, and he was going to be this amazing ruler. And so, because of that, his brothers hated him. So one day, they take Joseph, they ripped off his robe, they throw him in a pit, they told his father he was killed by ferocious animals. And they sell him to slave traders. Joseph gets sold as a slave, he ends up in Egypt, he gets bought by a guy named Potiphar, and he starts serving Potiphar well. Then one day, Potiphar’s wife makes a pass at Joseph, he rejects her and she’s so mad that he rejected her, that she spins the story, says, he made a pass at her, Potiphar is furious and throws him in prison. Joseph now ends up in prison.
And you want to talk about a disappointing life, I mean, you could put the word Joseph in the dictionary next to the word disappointment. I mean that’s just it. And yet, because there’s so much favor upon his life the prison warden let’s Joseph, kind of, become the chief servant, the chief prisoner in all of the prisoners. So he, kind of, runs the prison. And one day, Pharaoh is upset with two of his own servants, the cupbearer and the baker. And so he takes them and he throws them into prison. And because Joseph, kind of, runs the prison, he’s serving these guys and he realizes they’re sad. And he says, “What’s up?” And they said, “We have a dream and we don’t understand what it is.” And he says, “Well, tell me your dream. I could interpret it for you.” So he tell him his dream, he interprets it for him. And after he interprets the cupbearer’s dream, listen to what he says back to him. He says, Genesis 40, “But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness, mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison for I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews. And even here, I have done nothing to deserve being put in the dungeon.”
In other words, he says to the cupbearer, “Hey, in three days you’re going to get out of here. You’re going to be restored back to your position and when you go, please remember me, tell Pharaoh about me, and get me out of this place.” And the dream happens. The interpretation of dream happens exactly the way Joseph predicts it and here’s what it says, “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph, he forgot him.” Can you imagine 11 years of disappointment? So 11 years from the pit to this moment. Eleven years of disappointment. And this moment Joseph’s thinking, “This is my chance. I’m getting out of here. I’m helping this dude. He’s going to go to Pharaoh. He’s going to get me out. It’s all going to work. Everything is going to happen. All those disappointments, my breakthrough is coming.” And then he forgot him. And in that moment, Joseph had to face one of maybe the worst disappointments of all, the disappointment of feeling forgotten.
And like Joseph in this life, you will have to deal with the disappointment of feeling forgotten. Like do you ever feel like everyone else’s life is moving forward and you’re stuck? Do you ever feel like you’re forgotten in your pain, in your loneliness, in your sickness, in your job, your circumstances, or your routine? Do you ever feel like your prayers don’t get answered, like your dreams and desires have passed away like you’ve, kind of, been left behind? Do you ever feel forgotten by your family, your friends, your industry, the world, life, maybe even God? Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything right and yet nothing seems to change? Yeah, that’s called the disappointment of feeling forgotten. And so how do we deal with that disappointment without allowing it to steal our hope so we can get from where we are to where God is leading us? So a couple thoughts for you, four thoughts that I want to walk you through, and here’s the deal, I got a lot — I gave you two short weeks the last few weeks, okay?
So we’re going back to it. So I need you to buckle in with me. It is really wide because the spectrum of where you feel forgotten is so wide, so listen to what the Holy Spirit has for you and grab a hold, and let’s go on a journey together. Are you with me on that? First thing is this, don’t give up. If you feel forgotten today, don’t give up. And sometimes, somebody just needs to look at you and say, “Don’t give up.” What’s so amazing about Joseph is he never gave up. No matter what happened, he never gave up. Genesis 40, again, “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph. He forgot him. When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream.” Pause. He forgets him, and two years go by. One sentence in the Bible equals two years of feeling forgotten. So now we’re up to 13 years and then Pharaoh has a dream.
And he was so bothered by the dream and no one can interpret it. And here’s what it says, “The chief cupbearer,” the guy who Joseph helped get out of prison, “said to Pharaoh, ‘Today, I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard.’ The prisoner and the prison warden. ‘Each of us had a dream the same night and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now, a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard.’ The prison warden. ‘We told him our dreams and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dreams and things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us. I was restored to my position and the other man was hanged.’ So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved, and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream and no one can interpret it, but I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.’ ‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will Pharaoh the answer he desires.'” Thirteen years. Thirteen years of being disappointed. Thirteen years of feeling forgotten. Can you imagine the moment when the prison warden comes walking through the prison and says, “Joseph, Pharaoh’s calling for you.” Thirteen years, no one has ever called my name, well, Pharaoh’s calling you now, are you ready? And in that moment, Joseph was ready because he didn’t give up.
You see, if he would have given up, when they said, “Pharaoh’s calling for you,” he would have said, “I’m not helping that guy” or “I don’t know. Nothing’s going to change. I don’t interpret dreams anymore. I’m not a part of that.” No, no, what does he do? It says he shaves and changes his clothes. He gets himself ready, he walks into the throne room of Pharaoh, he stands there, and Pharaoh says, “I heard you can interpret dreams” and Joseph looks bright back at him and he says, “I can’t do it, but I know God will.” In other words, he declares his hope. He declares the expectation of the goodness of God. Thirteen years of disappointment and he never gave up on God. Thirteen years of disappointment and he never cashed out on his relationship with God. Thirteen years of disappointment and in this moment, when he has his moment, he has tended his relationship with God so strongly that he’s able to flow in his gift, interprets Pharaoh’s dream by the power of God and everything changes. You see, what happens to so many of us is when we get disappointed because we feel forgotten, we give up. We cash out and we sideline ourselves. When God asks us to lean in and trust, we lean out and doubt. We give up on ourselves. We give up on our future. We give up on our hope and we give up on God. And so we just kind of spend our lives going through the motions. But Joseph didn’t. You see, he stands before Pharaoh and he says, “What’s the dream?” Pharaoh tells it to him. Remember, I’m like condensing like 14 chapters of the bible to you in just a few messages.
He says, “What’s the dream?” And Pharaoh tells it to him and Joseph interprets it. He says, “Here’s what’s going to happen. There’s going to be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. What Pharaoh should do is find a wise man, make him in charge of Egypt and spend the seven years of abundance storing up a bunch of grains, so during the seven years of famine, Egypt will still prosper. Pharaoh looks right back at him in Genesis 41, “So Pharaoh looked around all of his advisers and he says, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God.’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’ So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took his signet ring, put it on his finger, put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.”
And just like that everything changed. Suddenly he went from the prison to the palace. His family forgot about him. His friends forgot about him. The cupbearer certainly forgot about him. The world forgot about him, but God never forgot about him. The Lord remembered Joseph and he remembers you. So don’t give up. Don’t give up on God because he’s not given up on you. Romans 12:12 says, “Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, commune with God at all times.” In other words, the more you feel forgotten, the more you need to build your relationship with God. So you’re ready to flow when it’s time to move on to the next thing. Isaiah 44, “I, the Lord, made you and I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49, “Can a mother forget her nursing child?” “Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you.” Your family, your friends, your industry, the world, even life will forget you but God never will.
In fact, in Genesis 16, Hagar, a woman who feels forgotten, a single mom running for her life. She has an encounter with the Lord and in Genesis 16:13, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me.'” No matter how forgotten you feel today, he sees you. He sees you in your pain. He sees you in your brokenness. He sees you in the prison, the dungeon, the divorce, the addiction, the sickness, the sadness. He sees you. So don’t give you because your breakthrough moment is coming. Don’t give up. Take your next step. Keep moving. You see behind ever suddenly is years of feeling of forgotten. This is what we forget. You read the bible or you hear these testimonies and you hear these poor people. Suddenly everything changes. Okay. Behind every suddenly is years of feeling forgotten. Thirteen years Joseph felt forgotten before suddenly he went from the prison to the palace. How about the paralyzed man in John 5? Thirty-eight years he’s paralyzed. He feels forgotten for 38 years until Jesus walks into his life and suddenly Jesus says, “Pick up your mat and walk.” How about the woman with the flow of blood? Twelve years she feels forgotten until Jesus touches her life and suddenly everything changes. The man who is born blind for his whole life, he has felt forgotten until Jesus shows up and suddenly everything changes. The same is true with you. If you feel forgotten today, know your suddenly is coming. Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in you, he will be faithful to complete it.”
So here’s the question. Have you given up? Have you given up on yourself? Have you given up on your future? Have you given up on hope? Have you given up on God? Where have you come into agreement with the spirit of disappointment where you’re expecting to be disappointed at every turn? Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary in doing what is good in the disappointment of feeling forgotten for at the proper time, suddenly everything will change”. Even if you’ve given up on God, he still hasn’t given up on you. Okay. So don’t give up. Second thing is this. Remember the process is always more important than the outcome. The process is always more important than the outcome. The entire story of Joseph is not about Joseph ruling Egypt. It’s one of the most important things you have to understand. The entire point of the story was not about Joseph ruling Egypt. It was about God setting Joseph’s heart free. If it was about Joseph ruling Egypt, the moment god gave Joseph the dream and told him his destiny, he would have just picked him up and taken him to Egypt and plopped him in that little role next to Pharaoh. But that’s not what happened. Why? Because the process needed to take place to expose, reveal, and heal broken parts of Joseph’s life. Every disappointment was part of the process of setting Joseph free. Listen to this. Psalm 105, “But God had already sent a man ahead of his people to Egypt. It was Joseph who was sold as a slave. His feet were bruised by strong shackles. His soul was held by iron. God’s promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true. Eventually, the king of Egypt sent for him, setting him free at last.” In other words, you know what that says. It says God was more interested in the process than the outcome.
He says there was a process Joseph had to go through. Why? Because his character need to be purged, he had character issues, maybe like some of the rest of us in this room that needed to be dealt with. It was never about Joseph ruling Egypt. It was always about God ruling Joseph’s heart. It was the whole point. You see, at the end of the day, God is always more interested in the process than the outcome and we are usually more interested in the outcome than the process. Anybody want to agree to that? God is always more interested in the process than the outcome. We are usually more interested in the outcome than the process. Like here’s the deal. We all want Joseph’s outcome. None of us wants Joseph’s process. But it doesn’t work like that. Every one of us, we want to fulfill our destiny like Joseph did but we don’t want 13 years of disappointments. We want Moses’ maturity, but we don’t want 40 years of being a shepherd in the desert by ourselves and then 40 years of wandering the wilderness with grumpy people. I’m just saying. I don’t know if that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make. We all want David’s intimacy with God, but we don’t want the 10 years of running from a madman named Saul in the desert. We all want Paul’s wisdom, but we don’t want to get stoned, and persecuted, shipwrecked, beaten, jailed, and rejected. And we all want the disciples’ authority. We just don’t want to commit to being in a regular small group. I’m just saying.
I’m just saying. We want the outcome without the process. God is interested in the process more than the outcome which is why we’re always confused about God’s timing. The primary reason we get upset with God is timing issues. It’s because we’re looking at the outcome and he’s focused on the process. And so what happens is he’s doing the process. We’re getting angry that he’s not changing the outcome. And so what happens? We get frustrated at life and we get frustrated at him, but it’s because we’re looking at it the wrong way. I mean listen to this, Romans 5, “We also rejoice in our sufferings. In other words, you should be glad when you’re disappointed because we know that suffering, disappointment produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that he’s given us.” In other words, it says it’s the process that creates character and ultimately hope within your heart. So without the process, you will never have hope. James Chapter 1 says it like this, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” I think we should take a vote on removing that verse from the bible because he says, “Be joyful when you’re disappointed.”
Why? “Because you know that the disappointments, the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature, complete, not lacking anything.” In other words, there are character deficiencies in you and in me and it’s in the disappointing process that God can do a deep work inside of us. We want God to change it. He wants to change us. We want him to fix it. He wants to free us. So hear me. You’re not forgotten. You’re in the process. And you can’t rush what God is doing because you’re going to need what God is doing for the days ahead. You see, hear me. The outcome without the process will destroy you. I see it all the time. I mean when we’re in a church like this and we have lots of people that we’re leading and shepherding and trying to help them experience the life — I watch it all the time. It’s the person who gets a big chunk of money without going through the process of learning integrity. It’s the person who goes and takes a job that’s bigger than their character. They didn’t go through the process of learning character and it completely crushes him. It’s a person who gets a big ministry leadership role without going through the process of learning wisdom and it crushes them. Listen to me. If God would have given Joseph Egypt without the process of the 13 years, it would have killed Joseph. It would have crushed him. And if God would give you your destiny without making you go through a process, it will destroy you. So maybe, just maybe, if you feel forgotten and you’re disappointed that things aren’t moving forward, maybe you’re not ready for the outcome. Maybe it’s actually God’s grace that’s protecting you, holding you back from that, working you through a process because he wants to do a deep work in you so you can be strong enough to sustain it. The whole point of the process is the process is meant to strengthen you so you can steward the outcome.
And sometimes the process is the outcome. Sometimes the whole point is just the process. Are you with me on that? I mean do you remember when Jesus and Peter, Jesus is about to go to the cross right before the rooster incident with Peter and have this little conversation. And Jesus says to Peter, he says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked you to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Now, if I’m Peter, I’m thinking, “I don’t like that, Jesus. Why do you got to pray for me? Why won’t you just tell him no? I’m just saying this could be really easy.” What’s Jesus saying? He’s saying, “Pete, the process is more important than the outcome.” What’s the outcome? The outcome is Peter being the first century church leader preaching the gospel to the nations, bringing heaven to Earth, advancing the kingdom of God. That’s the outcome. That’s what he’s called to do. But there is a process that needed to take place first he wasn’t ready for. So, what does Jesus say to Peter? He says, “Peter, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. A process is coming and you’re not necessarily going to love it.” And Peter would have known exactly what Jesus meant. You see, when they sifted wheat in those days, it went something like this. You would go out and you get the harvest and you bring the harvest and you’d bring it into a barn and there were three steps. The first thing they do is they take a big tool and they would just start crushing it. Bam, bam, bam, bam. They crush the wheat and the whole point was to break open the husks, to break off the stalks, to break of the leaves, to break open the husks so the seed would be revealed. Bam, bam, bam, bam. Crush it. And then what they would do is they take outside on a windy day and they would toss it. They would over and over with a pitchfork toss it all in the air. And what the wind would do is the wind would blow away the stalk, the leaves, the husks, all the parts that weren’t important. It would blow it away as they were tossing it up over and over again and the seeds would fall down to the ground. And then the third step is they would take what was left and they’d take it into a sifting thing and tsh, tsh, tsh, tsh.
And they’d sift it to get all the fine, little pieces that were all left. So in the end, the only thing that was left was the pure seed. Let’s be honest. That’s what disappointment feels like, isn’t it? Crushed, tossed, sifted. Why? Because God is trying to get rid of all of the garbage in our life so the only thing left is the purity of the kingdom of God, the hope of Jesus in our hearts. Listen to me. God wants to do big things in you before he does big things through you. And sometimes, God will take everything away from you so you can handle everything he wants to give to you. So here’s my question. Where are you more focused, on the outcome than the process? Better question, where are you disappointed in the outcome where God is asking you to be hopeful about the process? You’re not forgotten. You’re in a process. Third thing is this. Embrace the seasons of hiddenness, okay? If you didn’t like point two, you’ll like point three even less. I am sure that Joseph was confused about the seasons of hiddenness. I mean, you got to be kidding, 13 years the guy is hidden. Like he has this divine dream, this profound destiny from God and yet everything is taken away from him and for 13 years, he’s hidden. They took away his coat. They took away his father, his family, his friends, his finances, his freedom, and he was hidden in a pit. He was hidden as a slave and he was hidden in a prison. For 13 years, everything is taken away and he’s hidden. And he’s watching everyone else’s life move forward. You say why. Because Joseph had to go through the school of identity, he had to learn about who he really was.
You see, in Genesis 37 when we first meet Joseph, he is a prideful, arrogant, insecure, little guy. Just read it. He walks around and he tells everyone how awesome he is. He walks around and tells everyone about his dream and his destiny and everyone is going to bow down to him and he’s going to rise up and it’s going to be amazing. No wonder everyone hated the guy. What is he? He’s prideful and he’s insecure. And then, he goes through 13 years of hiddenness. And after 13 years of hiddenness, you can see the humility. The moment he’s brought before Pharaoh and Pharaoh says, “I heard of you that you can interpret dreams.” What does Joseph say, he says, “I can’t do it, but God will.” And after he interprets the dream and gives Pharaoh wisdom, he says “Go find a wise man to rule Egypt.” He doesn’t even step forward and say, “I’m the guy. Thirteen years ago, God told me I would be the guy. I’m here. I’ll take care of this for you.” He says, “Go find a guy.” That’s a true leader. A true leader doesn’t self-identify and say, “Pick me here now.” A true leader says, “Man, I’m going to pray because I understand what a responsibility that is for that person. And yet, if you ask me, I will do it.” And you can watch. You can watch those 13 years as Joseph’s identity was torn down and built back up and everything changed. You see, seasons of hiddenness are invitations to discover who you really are. When you find yourself hidden in life, it’s like going to the mailbox, opening up a letter and it’s like, “Congratulations. You’ve been accepted into the School of Identity. Classes begin immediately. You may not withdraw at any time.” And as much as we hate it, we need it. Because here’s the deal, none of us really can discover who we are when life is great. Let’s be honest. When life is great, you’re crushing it, everything is awesome, everyone thinks you’re amazing, you have everyone’s attention.
You define yourself by your performance, your awards, your titles, your achievements, your looks, all that kind of stuff. Okay. But that’s not who you are. So what has to happen? You have to go into a season of hiddenness where a lot of things are taken away from you, where God can help you discover who you really are. You have to go into those moments when you’re in a job that you can’t stand, when you’re watching all your friends get married and you want to be, but there’s nothing on the horizon, when you have to take care of a sick love one for a year after a year after a year, when you feel like you’re in an unfulfilled calling or your ministry isn’t happening or you feel forgotten. What’s happening? It’s God inviting you into the school of identity to say, “You are not defined by what you did or by what you do, but what He has done.” Just think of Jesus. Guys, for 30 years, Jesus was hidden as a carpenter. Can you imagine this? You’re like, “You’re not even like in heaven.”
“Like you’re like spoke heaven into existence. And now, for 30 years, you’re hidden as a carpenter. Now, you’re like fixing tables and chairs.” And yet one day, there’s a big wedding feast and they run out of wine and Jesus’ mom says, “Hey, can you help out?” and he’s like, “Woman, my time hasn’t come.” He says, “I can’t reveal myself because I’m in a season of hiddenness.” 30 years. He gets baptized and when he gets baptized after 30 years, he goes under the water and the Father speaks from heaven, “This is my beloved son in whom I’m well-pleased.” You’re thinking, “This is the moment. Let’s do it.” You go cast out some demons, raise some dead people, heal some sick, walk on waters, do some things nobody else has ever done. Do you know what happens? The very next thing, it says, “The Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness for 40 more days of hiddenness.” And do you know what happened in that hiddenness? Satan came and tested his identity. “If you are the son of God, turn these stones into bread.” “If you are the son of God, summon the angels and do something cool. If you are the son of God, bow down and worship me and I’ll give you all the kingdoms of Heaven. Like if you really are now the son of God and you figure that out in your hiddenness, then I want you to prove it, expose yourself, reveal yourself to the world.” And the same thing will happen to you. It’s in seasons of hiddenness where your identity is declared, but it’s also where it’s tested.
See, it’s when you’re hidden that you ask questions like this, “Who am I really? What is my value? What is my place?” And what God does in the seasons of hiddenness is he strips everything else away so that your ears are open and you can hear him say, “You are my beloved son or daughter in whom I am well-pleased.” The truth is, you can’t hear that when life is great because you don’t want to hear it, because you’re defining yourself by your money, your performance, your awards, your looks, all those different things. You are the Father’s beloved, He loves you, son or daughter. He’s brought you into his family. You’re his. You belong to Him and he is well-pleased in you before you do anything right and even after you do everything wrong. You are not your looks, your awards, your money, your success, your house, your cars, your sports, whatever. You only hear that in hiddenness and yet, the paradox is that hiddenness where Satan says, “Come on, man, prove yourself. If you are somebody, do something cool. Like everybody else around you is doing something cool, so let’s see you do something, too.” Okay, here’s what I want to tell you. Don’t expose yourself to the world when God is hiding you for the kingdom. God was hiding Joseph from the world for the kingdom. He wouldn’t hide Joseph from the world to just make it rough on Joseph.
He was saying, “Joseph, the world will use you and abuse you. I’m going to hide you for a season to take you through the school of identity because I got kingdom purposes for you.” He will hide you from the world for the kingdom. So hear me. If he’s hiding you, don’t expose yourself to the world because the world will use you and abuse you when God wants to protect you and heal you. Spiritual orphan stepped forward and say, “Look at me. I need to be somebody. Somebody validate me. I got to do something off as awesome.” Sons and daughters, step back and say, “I’m good.” The very fact that you feel the need to expose yourself proves to yourself that you’re not ready to graduate from that level of the school of identity. Because why? Because it’s an insecure identity that wants to reveal itself to the world in seasons of divine hiddenness. God has a profound kingdom purpose for you. You got to go through the levels of the school of identity. 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand that in his time, he may lift you up.” In other words, if God is hiding you, let him hide you. Let him hide you because in the right time and the right season and the right place, he will pick you up and lift you up for your kingdom purpose. Don’t expose yourself to the world because they will eat you up and spit you out and God wants to heal you and free you. So here’s the question in that one. Are you embracing the hiddenness or are you revealing yourself to the world? Like did God tell you to take that job, accept that promotion, move to a new place, start that blog, go back to school, go back to work, network, start that side business, whatever it might, did God tell you to do that? Or did you just get tired of being hidden and you chose to say, “I’m stepping out on my own”?
The only question God’s really asks us when we’re in the season of hiddenness is, do you trust me? Do you trust me to hide you from things that will hurt you and do you trust me to lift you up when the timing is right? Jeremiah 29:11, that verse we put on all our Christian trinkets, you know who he’s really speaking to? He’s speaking to a group of people who are hidden in a foreign country that they want to get out of and God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not harm you, plans for a hope and a future.” He says, “Let me hide you because I’m doing something deep inside of you. And in the right time, I will lift you up for your Kingdom destiny.” You’re not forgotten, you’re in the school of identity. Which brings me to the last thing and it’s this, serve the people God has placed around you. Okay. Joseph had to have felt over qualified to serve in a prison. This is Joseph. He’s got the favor of God, he’s got the spirit of God, he’s wise, he’s prophetic, he can interpret dreams and he has called to rule nations. And yet he’s in jail serving servants. The cup bearer in the baker, they’re the king’s servants and they get thrown in jail. And Joseph is serving servants in jail. Even though he feels forgotten he still chooses to serve them. Here’s my question, what if he wouldn’t have served the cup bearer? What if he wouldn’t have served the cup bearer? Yeah, it went by, 2 years went by but it was the cup bearer who told Pharaoh about Joseph. You see, serving was his way out of his disappointment and it’s your way out of your disappointment. You see, here’s the deal, just because we’re disappointed doesn’t mean we’re no longer called to serve the people around us.
In fact the people that God has placed around you in your life right now, just understand they’re there as a test. You’re like, “Yeah, they test me.” They’re there as a test to see if you have the heart of your destiny before you step into your destiny. They’re there to test to see if you have the character to sustain the calling that God wants to give to you. So we don’t get to say we’re all over qualified, we’re unwilling or we’re uninterested, no, no, no. It’s in those moments that we’re actually invited to serve even more. Like here’s the question, what do you do when you feel forgotten? You serve. You say, “Why?” Because serving keeps us humble and hopeful. Serving is not only the pathway to your destiny, it is your destiny. See if you can catch this. Serving is not just the pathway to your destiny, it actually is your destiny. Like your destiny is greater levels of servanthood. You’re like, “No, no, no. My destiny is doing something awesome, going cool places, getting great titles, cool promotions, rule in the world.” Okay, no. It’s not your destiny. Your destiny is greater levels of servanthood. Every bit of influence, resources, promotion or relationship that God gives you, He gives them to you so can serve more. It’s your destiny. So if you won’t serve in prison, you can’t rule in the palace. If you won’t serve now, I promise you, you won’t serve then. But if you will serve the king’s servants, eventually you’ll be standing in the king’s throne room. Can you catch that?
Joseph served the king’s servants and eventually he was standing in the throne room. If you’ll just serve the king’s servants, the people he places in your life, eventually, you will be standing in the throne room. Serving can open doors for you unlike anything else. Like do you remember the story, the Parable of Minas? It’s in Luke 19. Jesus tells this parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. He says there’s a master. And he’s going away for a long time, he takes minas, it’s a sum of money and he gives one to his servants and he leaves. And what I’d never realized is he left and he was gone for such a long time that they felt forgotten. And so here’s these servants with this little bit of money and he tells them to put it to work and they’re like, “Man, you left and we’re forgotten. Why bother?” But they do it. So after a long time goes by that master comes back and the first guy steps forward he says, “Sir, you gave me 1 mina, I put it to work and I got 10 more, here you go.” And he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, come and take charge of 10 cities.” “10 cities? You gave me a little bit of money to use?” “Yeah.” It was a test. It was a test to see if you would be faithful in the little things. I wanted to see if your heart had the destiny in it before I would allow you to fully step into the fullness of it. Take 10 cities.
Second guy steps forward and says, “Sir, you gave me 1 and I put it to work and I turned it into 5 more. Here you go.” “Well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful with a few things. Take charge of five cities.” “Five cities. Yeah, why?” “Because it was a test. I was testing to see if your character could sustain the calling that I have upon your life. Go and serve those people well.” And then, the third steps forward says, “Sir, here’s your 1 mina back. I was afraid and I felt forgotten so I did nothing with it.” “Take it away from him because it was a test and he didn’t pass.” See, serving people when you feel disappointed and you feel forgotten, it’s a test. Like, we so easily catch on it, like understand, the cupbearer was a test for Joseph. It was a test. If Joseph wouldn’t be willing to serve the cupbearer, he wasn’t ready to rule Egypt.
And if you won’t serve the people in your life even though you’re disappointed, you’re not ready for what’s next. That’s why so few of us are still holding 1 mina in our hand when God has 10 cities for us to rule. The first thing that goes when we get disappointed is servanthood. I don’t want to serve you if I’m disappointed. I want to mope and complain, and grumble and cry. And I want you to feel bad for me, I want you to serve me because I’ve been disappointed for a long time. And you should all laugh of that because it’s true. And if you’re not laughing, maybe you’re doing that right now. So it happens. Okay, but here’s the deal, disappointment steals servanthood, but it’s servanthood that releases hope. Disappointment steals servanthood, when disappointed, it takes servanthood out of our life. But it’s servanthood that releases hope. You say how? Servanthood keeps hope alive because serving is hope in action. It’s literally saying, “I am so confident in the expectation of the good news of God that I’m going to engage in such a way that I feel like I’m partnering with what he is doing.
That’s why in Mark 9:35 Jesus says, “If you want to be first, you have to be content being last and servant of all.” In other words he says, “If you want the fullness of your destiny, go to the back of the line and start serving people. Because I promise you, if you go there, I will be the one to promote you.” So serving when you feel disappointed, is supernaturally positioning yourself for a promotion from God that’s why it brings hope. And that’s why people who don’t serve have no hope. I am not saying serving at a national team. I’m saying serving the people in your life. Serving is basically just saying, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know my future holds serving. Because my destiny is greater levels of servanthood, so I will engage in my destiny here and now by serving the people around me,” because the moment you stop serving, is the moment you have already checked out on this phase of your destiny.
Your destiny is not a destination, it’s a journey with God. So, if you’re not serving now, why on earth do you think you’re serving the palace? Because if you don’t serve now, God will put you in the palace, you’ll use the palace to crush people, and the palace will eventually crush you. So what God says is, “Hey, we go work this out.” So tell us. And so what happens for Joseph is, he sits there and he serves in the dungeons so God invites him to now serve in the palace. How about you? How about you? Maybe you’re in a job that you feel overqualified for, are you willing to just serve the people around you? The cupbearer? Because I tell you what, Joseph was a whole lot more wise than the cupbearer. You’re in a family and you feel like you’re called to more than just raising a family, are you willing to serve your family in this time, in this place?
You’re here and you got a gift. You got a gift of teaching, leading, worship, administration, science and wonders, miracles, prophecy, I don’t care, whatever it is, and you’re sitting around, are you waiting for a platform, or you’re just willing to serve the people that God puts in your life and be a part of the body of Christ? Listen, I understand some of you are like, “Bro, that’s harsh.” Yeah, it’s why a lot of us are still holding 1 mina when God wants to give us 10 cities. I’m trying to get you on the journey of out of the mina to the destiny. Well, you say, will that put me in the palace and I’ll start – it didn’t work like that.
That’s what we’ve been talking about. Just serve the cupbearer in your life. Wherever you feel forgotten, it’s that place that God’s asking you to serve. Listen, feeling forgotten is probably one of the hardest disappointments we go through. But it is also the place where God can do the deepest work. This is not about getting rid of the feeling of disappointment. This is about getting to the destiny that God has in store for us, hope. Hope is the confident expectation that God will remember me today even though I feel forgotten yesterday. So, you close your eyes with me. The quick question is just simply man, what does God want to say to you? That was a lot but I think God’s inviting us to a lot. So Holy Spirit, we invite you to move in this place. May we not give up, may we embrace the process, may we go through the school of identity and would you give us the courage to serve the people you have placed in our lives. We love you Jesus. In your name we pray, Amen.