Last Friday night I did the unexpected for a Jewish girl, I went to see Joel Osteen at Staples Center for his “Night of Hope” event. I’m friendly with his second in command so we sat in the 3rd row and went backstage afterwards. It was really a great night.
I had no idea what to expect going in but was sure there were going to be a lot of “Jesus” talk. I was a little worried because my husband and I got hit hard with the Hebrew stick, so I was sure we were going to stand out. It also didn’t help that my husband and I had the most “Jewish” conversation about parking costs on our way to the venue. God forbid we should pay top dollar for parking so we parked a little ways down the road.
We scaled down our Judaism from an 8 to a 2 as we walked into Staples. A Christian band played to begin with and I looked around and it seemed like everyone knew the songs and were raising their hands to the sky, feeling the spirit. That kind of weirded me out because we don’t have that kind of revivalist stuff in Jewish temple. We have davening which consists of saying Jewish prayers while rocking back and forth standing up…Which as I’m writing that, it sounds weird so who Am I to judge.
Victoria Osteen, Joel’s wife, got on stage next and talked about her kids, kids in general and her marriage. Then Joel got on stage and I’m not sure if it was his uber white teeth but he seemed to be glowing. In recovery we say, “take what you can and leave the rest behind.” I don’t judge any religion because there are many ways to God. I didn’t really dig all the Jesus talk but I listened for the message and I left the rest behind.
Joel definitely has an uplifting and positive message. I find that people either love him or hate him but those who love him, really LOVE him. Like my friend Alicia who was the best person to take to this event. She was absolutely radiating with joy. What I got most from his sermon was of all his talk about “the valley.” I live in Sherman Oaks, the valley in Los Angeles, but that is not what he meant.
Joel was talking about those times in your life where you’re really “going through it,” whether it be a death in the family, getting sober, financial crisis or personal crisis. In those times your faith has to be the strongest because God will lead you out of the valley and the lessons you learned while in the valley were preparing you for something bigger.
Nothing in God’s world happens by accident, you would not be led into the valley without being led out of it and into the promised land. God would not bring you this far to drop you on your head. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the picture.
There were so many valleys in my life and when he was talking I was thinking back to all of them and realized they all taught me a lesson that I used later and all of the valleys prepared me for what I’m doing now. So I urge all of you to look at your valleys, realize that they were the best things that could have happened to you and see where they have helped you on your journey to your soul’s purpose.