Joel Osteen Book Excerpt: 'It's Your Time'

Instead of getting down and thinking, Poor old me, learn to turn it around and say, "Yes, this is the greatest attack that I've ever been through, but I know it means that I'm headed for the greatest victory that I've ever seen." Remember, it's always darkest right before the dawn.

You're about to give birth to that promise.

I read about an experiment that attempted to measure the power of attitude in rats. The researchers wanted to see how the rats' attitudes affected their will to live. They put one rat in a large tub of water with high sides so it could not get out. Then they put the tub in a dark room. They timed how long the rat would keep swimming before it gave up. The rat lasted a little over three minutes. Then the researchers put another rat in the same tub, but this time they allowed a bright ray of light to shine into the room. That rat swam more than thirty-six hours, seven hundred times longer than the rat with no light.

Why was that? The rat with no light had no hope. When he looked ahead he saw only darkness. There wasn't any reason to keep swimming. That's what happens when we don't expect God's favor. We lose faith that we can overcome our obstacles. We don't believe that God is in control, so we lose our passion, we lose our enthusiasm.

That's why it's so important—especially in times of difficulty—to keep reminding yourself: "The Creator of the universe is directing my steps. He has me in the palm of His hands. And even though this is difficult, I know it's just a matter of time before it turns around. I know my payday is coming."

You may be about to give up on a dream. You think it's been too long. It never will change. It will never work out. But you must get your fire back. Fan that flame. Keep that dream alive. Even though it's taking a long time, the good news is, God still has a way to bring it to pass.

Victoria once lost a ring her mother had given her. It was a diamond band that had been in the family for several generations.

Although it was valuable, it held even more sentimental value to us. Sometimes when we'd go on trips Victoria hid the ring in our house. We thought maybe she'd hidden it and forgotten the hiding place. So we looked and looked and looked in every drawer, in every cabinet. I looked behind couches and between cushions. I found things that I hadn't seen in ten years. But never Victoria's ring.

After a couple of months of looking on and off, I finally gave up. That ring was nowhere to be found. But every few days I heard Victoria pray: "Father, thank you that I will find my ring. Thank you, for You are leading me and guiding me."

I didn't say anything out loud, but inside, being the great man of faith that I am, I thought, Victoria, you are wasting your time. We have turned this house upside down. That ring is just not here. It's funny, but when my mother-in-law noticed that Victoria was not wearing the ring and asked her about it, Victoria said, "Oh, Mom. I've put it away in a really safe place."

I thought, Yeah, so safe that we can't even find it.

As the months went by, I probably heard Victoria say she would find that ring five hundred times. I never once heard her give up and say, "It's gone. I've lost it. What will I do?"

She had an optimistic attitude, "I'm closer than I think. I know any day that ring will show up."

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