Stronger Than You Think


by Joel Osteen

We all face pressure in life and times when we could feel overwhelmed. The obstacle looks too big, we never dreamed we’d be dealing with a sickness, or we thought the trouble at work would be over by now. It’s easy to feel as though it’s too much, and we can’t take it anymore. But Scripture says, “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can endure, but He will make a way of escape so that you will be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

When God designed you, He took into account everything you would face—every struggle, every unfair situation, every setback—and He put in you the strength, the courage and the determination to withstand it.

God didn’t say He would make a way of escape so you can run from it, or so you can avoid it. He said it was so you can bear it. God designed you to handle that pressure. He wouldn’t have allowed you to get in that pressure if He hadn’t already put in you what you needed to handle it. You will always be able to bear whatever comes your way.

I read about a little fish called the Mariana snailfish. It lives at the very bottom of the ocean, almost five miles underwater. No other fish can survive at that depth. The pressure at that depth is more than a thousand times the pressure at the surface. It would crush any other fish.

But when God designed this snailfish, He made its bones flexible so they could withstand the pressure. These fish have special cells and a unique digestive system. Most fish have one gene to stabilize proteins, but this fish has five. Because they’re designed to handle the pressure, they don’t live burdened, struggling or overwhelmed; they thrive there.

In the same way, when God designed you, He knew what pressures you would face— financial pressure, relationship pressure, raising children pressure, dealing with an illness pressure. If that pressure was going to crush you, if it was going to be unbearable, God wouldn’t have put you there. He doesn’t make mistakes. Whatever you face, remind yourself that you can handle it. You’ve been designed for it. You wouldn’t be at that depth if the pressure was going to defeat you.

Now you have to get in agreement with God. If you go around thinking, This is too much. I can’t raise these kids. This pressure at work is overwhelming, that’s going to defeat you. The Scripture says you are full of can‑do power. You are well able to overcome opposition, to outlast adversity. But I’ve learned that can‑do power doesn’t do you any good if you have a can’t‑do mentality. Quit looking at all the things you can’t do. Have a new perspective: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This obstacle may be big, but I can overcome it. This trouble is taking longer than I thought, but I can outlast it.

This situation feels overwhelming, but I can handle it. I’ve been designed for it. I’m strong, I’m anointed, and I’m equipped. Don’t have a weak mentality. You weren’t created to fall apart when pressure comes. You are stronger than you think. You are more favored than you think. You are more anointed than you think.

Like God designed that small fish with special cells and special bones to withstand the pressure, how much more has God designed you with special strength, with courage, with fortitude, with stamina. When you start seeing yourself as strong, empowered, and well able, you won’t live overwhelmed.

You’ll discover strength that you didn’t know you had. God is not only saying that you are stronger than you think, but even the enemy is saying, “If they find out who they are, surely they will defeat us. If they realize they are a mighty hero, we are no match for them.”

Are you seeing yourself the right way? Have you discovered what’s in you? That situation that seems overwhelming, that pressure that feels unbearable, it’s not there to defeat you but to help you discover strength that you didn’t know you had. You’re not weak or at a disadvantage; you are a mighty hero. You are a man or a woman of fearless courage.

The pressure on you from the outside may be great. Other people may not be able to take it, but God knew you would face it.

That’s why, as with that little snailfish, He’s already giving you even more than what you need to just survive. To survive is one thing, when we just make it through life, burdened down and feeling it’s unbearable. You weren’t created to survive but to thrive.

When things come that should be unbearable, you’ve tapped into strength that you didn’t know you had. You still give God praise, you still shine at work, and you still accomplish big dreams. Don’t go your whole life and never discover what’s in you. You are stronger than you think.

In Numbers 11, Moses felt overwhelmed. He was leading the Israelites through the desert, some two million people, toward the Promised Land. They were complaining, “We’re tired of eating the same food. We liked it better in Egypt. Why did you bring us out here in the desert?”

Moses said, “God, why did You lay the burdens of all these people on me? They’re not my children. I’m not able to bear this on my own. It’s too heavy for me.” He felt so pressured and so stressed that he added, “God, I would rather that You kill me than have me carry this heavy load.” It felt unbearable. He couldn’t take it anymore. God told him to call 70 men, 70 elders of the people, who could help him.

God said to Moses, “I will take some of the spirit that’s on you and put it on these men. They will help you carry the burden.”

One principle is to delegate, because you can’t do everything by yourself. But it’s interesting that God said He was going to take “some of the spirit” that was on Moses and put it on these men. Do you see how strong Moses was? Even though he couldn’t do the work of all 70, God said, “You have so much potential, you have so much you haven’t tapped into, that I’m going to take from you and give it to them.”

Imagine God taking from what’s in you and giving it to 70 people, and you are still able to do great things. That’s how strong you are. That’s how powerful you are. That’s how anointed you are.

I want you to see yourself as a mighty hero, as someone who’s well able. The reason you face big challenges is because you have a big destiny. The reason you have great obstacles is because you have greatness in you. The reason the pressure feels overwhelming is because you are stronger than you think. That difficulty is an opportunity for you to discover what’s in you.

This won’t happen if you’re weak, defeated and saying, “I can’t take it anymore. It’s too much for me.” If that was true, then God made a mistake when He designed you, or He accidentally put you in an environment that you couldn’t handle. No, God doesn’t make mistakes.

The pressure is showing you how strong you are, how much you can handle. That’s getting you ready for how high God is going to take you. He’s preparing you for new levels, for greater influence, for unprecedented favor.

God has awesome things in your future, but there will be awesome challenges in your future. To reach your destiny, you have to discover what’s in you. Every time you realize that you’re stronger than you think, and you overcome, you outlast, and you endure, that strength is going to be instrumental for the next challenge, for the next dream. That’s preparing you for the amazing things God has in store.


Excerpted from the book You Are Stronger Than You Think by Joel Osteen. Copyright © 2021 by Joel Osteen. Published by FaithWords Books an imprint of Hachette Book Group. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Joel Osteen is a New York Times bestselling author and the Senior Pastor of America's largest church, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. More than 10 million viewers watch his weekly inspirational messages through television, and over 60 million people connect with Joel through his digital platforms worldwide. Joel can be heard 24/7 on SiriusXM 128 - Joel Osteen Radio. Connect with Joel on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit his website at joelosteen.com.

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