This article is by Joel Osteen
Today’s pandemic has shaken our world. The economic world is shaken, with many people not being able to go to work. Our social lives are shaken, having to stay apart. With all the fear and uncertainty, many people’s emotional well-being is shaken. In life, we all have these times where things shake us to our core—an unexpected illness, a lost loved one, a job layoff. All the stability we were used to is no longer there. It’s easy to get discouraged and wonder why it happened and whether things will ever return to normal. But here’s the key: The shaking is not there to stop you; the shaking is there to shift you. If you keep the right attitude, the shaking will shift you into promotion, into greater influence, into better relationships. God uses shakings to get us in position for new levels.
In Acts 2, the early church in Jerusalem had been empowered by the Holy Spirit and was flourishing and doing great things. But then a man named Saul who hated believers came along and “began to wreak havoc against the church” (Acts 8:3), shaking the disciples’ lives with persecution. Believers were forced to flee their homes and livelihoods and scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria, including a man named Phillip. I’m sure they thought, “God, where are You? Everything was going so great. Why did You allow this?” But sometimes God will allow things to be shaken to shift us.
When Phillip arrived in Samaria, he could have been discouraged, but he knew God was still in control. He started preaching to the Samaritans about Jesus the Messiah and all kinds of miracles took place. Many men and women were baptized, and “there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). Phillip went from great distress to great joy and success. If he had stayed in Jerusalem, he would have missed the fullness of his destiny. Many times, a great shaking precedes great favor, great promotion, and greater influence.
Times of shaking force us out of our comfort zone, our Jerusalem. We may not like it, but it forces us to change and grow. If everything kept going along as is, we would never reach our potential. Stay open for something new. Don’t go back to the same ways you used to do things. God is shaking you out of the old and shifting you into something better. When you realize it’s taking you to Samaria, a place where you’re going to flourish and do things you’ve never dreamed, you’ll thank God even in the shakings. You may not be there yet, but stay encouraged, for you are headed toward great joy.