This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 24, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Now, for families like the ones we heard from here tonight who lost everything to the wild fires, the question remains, so how do they begin to rebuild their lives?
Joining us now is Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which is the largest and fastest-growing church in the country. And Joel is also the author of the brand-new book, "Become a Better You: Seven Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day". And here with their insight on finding faith, dealing with tragedy, Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria.
Pastor and Victoria, thank you both for being with us.
You know, Pastor, I guess we try to put ourselves in the position of people — as the governor said, you worked your whole life to get that down payment. And you worked so hard to pay that mortgage. And then in an hour, literally, everything that you've worked hard for, your life's possessions, can be taken away from you.
How do you, as a pastor — what do you tell people that are dealing with such tragedy?
PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN, AUTHOR, "BECOME A BETTER YOU": Well, we always tell them, Sean, that you've got to believe that God is still in control and that, you know, bad things happen to good people. But we've got to just always keep the faith and believe that, even when things come against us, somehow God has a way of turning them around and still working them to our advantage.
So, you know, faith is about trusting God when you don't understand it. And I think that's where they have to find themselves to say, you know what? God I don't understand this. But again, I think we do have to count our blessings and thank God that there's — there's not a whole lot of loss of life.
HANNITY: You know, something? Maybe I'll throw this to Victoria. You know, Victoria, sometimes we — I guess we get, maybe too wrapped up in our possessions. But when people get out, I talked to people today. They say they're just so happy to have their life back.
And they're all so — whenever there is tragedy, you see incredible goodness out of people. Generosity, people donating money to Red Cross, blood and baby formula and blankets and cots and supplies. There is an innate goodness and a real caring from other people that you see in tragic moments like this. Don't we?
VICTORIA OSTEEN, WIFE OF PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN: Absolutely. And you know, this country is known to rally together. And that they're good. You know, they're good to each other. And you know, it does put things into perspective when there's such a great tragedy like this. I just think that, when we rally together, when we come together and when we're grateful, that we can get through anything.
HANNITY: Yes. You know, Pastor, I want to go back to you. It seems — I have some friends of mine that are — that are pastors and priests. And — and one of the things, when people are going through the toughest times, they reach out to people in your position.
And they say to you, you know, "Help me" in these moments. What is your general advice? And that's got to be a pretty hard job, to take that burden on your shoulder that you've got to offer the advice to people in these tragic moments.
J. OSTEEN: It really is. And we saw it here with Katrina, Sean. It's the — it's the same thing. You've got to just believe that there are going to be better days up ahead.
And another important thing I always tell them is don't get bitter. You know, don't get mad at God; don't get mad at the government. Don't get mad at somebody. Just keep your heart pure and just believe that God is still in control of your life.
And somehow — you know, I've seen it in my own life. God can take your darkest hours and still turn them around and bring you out into some great, bright hours. So that's always our thing, is to just give people hope. Know that there are better days up ahead.
HANNITY: You have a lot of advice. And I've been reading through your book. I'm — actually, I'm enjoying it very much here, about, you know, becoming a better person, becoming a better you.
And you have a really — on one hand, very simple but yet very profound things that people can proactively do to build better lives for themselves. Why don't you guys describe that.
J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what, Sean? I just think that there are simple things we can do. And I talk about just not getting stuck in a rut. It's easy to get complacent and just think, well, this is — you know, I'm going to be stuck at this level when my marriage and my career and my attitude.
But I really think that complacency can just — you know, it's one of the worst things for us. We have to always be growing and believing that we can get better.
And we just talk about being positive towards yourself and developing better relationships. But God wants us to continue to grow. We should never get stuck.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Joel and Victoria, it's Alan. Thank you so much for coming on the program tonight.
I had a chance to see you both at Madison Square Garden just over the weekend. And you were just unbelievably wonderful and great and inspiring to the people who came to see you.
And Victoria, you were terrific. Joel, now, Joel gets a lot of attention, because he's front and center on the television show, but your presentation was equally compelling. I thank you both very much for coming on the show.
I guess you've got to ask yourself why — people always ask after Katrina and after these kinds of tragedies, after 9/11, after the fires we're seeing on our screen, why, Victoria does — why does God do this?
V. OSTEEN: Well, again, you know, it's a natural disaster. I don't know if God necessarily does it. Like Joel says, good things can — bad things can happen to good people.
But we serve a good God. God is good. And in the end of all this, God is good. And I believe that these people can build their lives better than they were before. But they're just going to have to persevere and focus and not get negative.
And I think the governor is doing a great job to keeping a positive attitude out there and staying, rallying the troops. That's what we have to do at times like this. We've just to stay up. We can't use our energy to be negative. We've got to use our energy to be positive and move forward.
COLMES: And Joel, I guess people who are going through this event, they're probably thinking, "Why me? Why did this happen to my house? Why did my house get burned down when the house next door seems to be standing?" And it's got to be, as Sean suggested, very difficult to counsel somebody in that kind of situation.
J. OSTEEN: It really is, Alan. You don't — you know, I can't say that I have the answers. I don't know how — you know, like you said, one bad thing can happen to, you know — who gets chosen? I don't know.
But you just have to come back to that core, like Victoria said, to believe that God is in control and that he's still a good God, even when bad things happen. We certainly don't understand it.
But I do know this, that in every trying time in my life — the death of my father and other things like that — I've always, when I've turned to God, I've always felt a peace like I've never felt before. And I believe that when you turn to our faith in times like this, God will never let us go through something that's too hard. And so I just rest assured in that.
COLMES: You talk — you say, use the phrase very often to let God fight your battles for you. How do you know when to stop fighting yourself and to turn it over to God?
J. OSTEEN: Well, I believe that we should do everything that we can do. We should be responsible. But I believe at, you know, at a certain point, you can't change other people. You can't bring your house back, you know, if it's already burned.
So you've just got to say, "God, you know, at that point, I'm going to turn it over to you. I'm not going to worry about it. I'm not going to stay up at night. I'm just going to believe that you're in control of my life."
It's really things that you — you know, you really have no over. You just have to say, you know, I'm going to give it to God.
COLMES: Victoria, do you believe you have to — do you have to believe to receive? Do you have to be a believer to have these good things happen to you?
V. OSTEEN: Well, I — you know, the scripture says that God works by faith. And you have to have faith. You have to have trust in God so that God can work.
Because so many times, people try to get in there and they try to manipulate the situation and do everything theirselves. But like Joel was saying, there's a point where you can only do so much. And you have to turn it over to God. And you have to say, God, you know what? I need your help. You need to open doors for me, you know. I can do only what I can do.
But you know what? I just say this time is a time when people need to rally together and just get their families together. Because right now, it's going to be very, very stressful for families. And I just think that, you know, we need to do that. So...
HANNITY: Victoria, we have a hard break. And they are all in our thoughts and prayers in Southern California. When we come back — thank you both for being with us.
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