'Expect God's Favor': Interview with Joel Osteen

The megachurch pastor says that by expecting the best, we can enjoy the abundant life God wants for us.

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I don’t think it’s just snap your fingers. We’ve got to have an attitude of faith when things aren’t going our way.

Do you think that God ever shows his favor by presenting us with something difficult and not fun? Could it be God's will to give up everything and live in poverty, or help others in some way?

I think it is in some ways but God gives you grace to do that. If my dad was alive today and he had his way, he would live over there in India. That’s the way he felt prospered, to be with the people. He loved living in the Third World. I used to travel with him. We’ll go back into places that I, as a guy in my twenties, didn’t like.


Prospering just doesn’t have to do with money. God lets us go through difficult things. There’s not a person alive who can say, "You’re never going to have a tough time and God’s going to make your path easy." It’s in the difficult times that we’re growing and you can’t just rebuke everything hard. We’ve got to endure it and fight the good fight of faith and pass the test.

You say we should choose to let go of hurts and "let God make it up to us." What if he doesn’t?

I think he always will, because he’s faithful. He may not make it up the way we want. But when I say God may make something up to us, maybe an example of a husband or wife, somebody walked out of a relationship, I’m not saying God’s going to make up something that next year or maybe your whole lifetime, but I believe God can make it up and give you a peace and a joy that you never had before. I don’t think it's "Joel said God’s going to bring me another husband in two years." I think it’s a peace, a joy, a happiness.



What are the biggest problems people come to you with?

I would say it’s relationships. People are discouraged, beaten down. Relationships, finances, health [are] probably the big categories.

Is there a certain message you give them that helps them most?

You’ve got to believe that God is in control of your life. It may be a tough time but you’ve got to believe that God has a reason for it and he’s going to make everything good. It’s up to us to stay in that attitude of faith.

God works where there’s faith. And faith to me is having a positive outlook, believing that things are going to get better, and expecting good things in life. God’s given you the strength to endure a tough time. God’s there for you. Call on him, believe in his strength.

The book’s title and subhead--Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential--don’t include specific Christian terms. To whom are you marketing the book?

You’re exactly right. I don’t want to just preach to the church and I just feel like I have a broader message. I’d like to think that I can help everyday people who don’t necessarily go to church. I bet half the letters I get, the first line is "I’ve never been to church. I don’t watch a preacher on TV, but..."

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Laura Sheahen
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