NEW YORK — Thousands gathered in Yankee Stadium in New York City last Saturday for Joel Osteen’s “Come Home to Hope Event” — an evening centered around instilling in an increasingly anxious and discouraged generation a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
Osteen, who hosted the event with his wife, Victoria, focused his message on finding hope amid adversity and staying faithful in times of difficulty — a message he said was timely in the wake of COVID-19, economic turmoil and societal unrest.
“I want to talk to you tonight about freedom in the fire,” the pastor, who leads Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, said. “God won’t allow the difficulty unless He has a purpose for you. There is potential locked up in you that will only come out through adversity.”
The speaker and bestselling author cited Psalm 4:1, where David said, “God enlarged me in my time of distress,” to remind audiences that God uses difficulties and times of trial, betrayal and loss to refine and sanctify His people.
“In the fire, he discovered favor,” Osteen stressed. “The truth is, it’s setting you up. What you can’t see is God is enlarging you. … You’re going to see new growth, new opportunity, new talent. … Don’t fight the fire. Stay faithful in the fire. … God has a comeback for every setback.”
“Everything is a controlled burn. The enemy can’t touch you without God’s permission,” Osteen emphasized, citing the story of Job, who trusted God despite obstacles.
“God not only was for Job, gave him his health back, but He walked him out with double. … The Scripture says Job went on to live 140 years and enjoy his children and grandchildren. Maybe like Job, you’re sitting in the ashes, looking at what you lost, what didn’t work out, what you’re up against. You can easily live discouraged, feels like a wildfire. The truth is, it’s a controlled burn. God wouldn’t have allowed it if you weren’t going to come out better.”
“There are seeds of increase, seeds of healing, seeds of increase, seeds of destiny that are about to pour out. … You’re going to say, ‘Look what the Lord has done. On the other side of the breakup, the loss, is abundance and joy. The fire is necessary to see the fullness of your destiny.”
Saturday’s “Come Home to Hope” event marked the first time in over three years the Osteens held a large-scale stadium event due to restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their previous appearance at Yankee Stadium was for “A Night of Hope” in 2014. Their first visit in 2009 marked the very first non-baseball event at the stadium. This year, Lakewood also held a “Global Virtual Stadium” event for those unable to attend in person.