Sunday Sentiments is an attempt to record what God has been teaching me and the way in which He does it.
I have to start by saying I love my church. I've had the privilege of attending Fellowship a couple of times a year whenever I visited Tracy the past 5 years. Every time I would return home and tell everyone about the sermon that weekend. God used those sermons to minister to me in countless ways. This church is one of the reasons I was so excited to move here. When I visited Tracy, Joel, and Anna in September, the pastors were starting a new series on Genesis. When I moved here 5 weeks ago, they were in the 4th chapter of Genesis. You can see that they are taking their time with this. The last few weeks have been spent on the flood account. As a girl who attended Christian grammar school and Sunday school, I am still learning so much. Parts of the story I had taken for granted have been turned upside down. I am seeing the beauty of the theology behind the flood. And yes, I'm still being ministered by this careful examination.
About once a month, I start to really struggle with being single. You can probably guess when that is but I'm not going to spell it out for you. There are, of course, other times that being single is difficult, some of which has been highlighted by this move. Before moving here, I at least had my parents just a 10 minute drive away and a huge network of family and friends. Now, it's up to me and me alone to keep my place clean, run errands, deal with the landlord, set up the million things that need to be set up when you move out of state, and more. I have some friends here, to be sure, but they're all married, mostly with kids. And while I love them, sometimes that only highlights how alone and single I am. I share all this to let you know my current mindset. I want to be married but I'm not going to settle for less than God's best. And so that's why I'm still single, somedays more content than others.
Before he began preaching this morning, the pastor took a moment for corporate prayer. It started out fine. And then he started praying for the married couples and the parents. I could feel myself start to detach, muttering to myself that he better mention singles! I have sat in far too many services where the unattached are ignored. Or if we are mentioned, it's a general platitude. I've never sat in a church and listened to a pastor preach on singleness. Given my current emotional state, I wasn't sure I could handle the pastor overlooking me and the rest of my single brethren. But he did pray for those who are single or who have lost a spouse. (Never mind that those are two entirely different categories or that it doesn't account for those who are divorced. Can you tell this is a hot button issue for me?) The prayer was something along the lines of using this time to serve God because we don't have commitments to a spouse or kids. I think there might have been something like us being less busy but I might have heard wrong. And then he prayed that we would remain pure. Let me be clear that I respect this pastor so much and I don't think this prayer was wrong. It is my personal frustration that often the response to anyone who is single is that we have a plethora of free time or that we should just serve more. I may not have tons of free time now that I'm back at work but it's true that I don't have to consider the needs of my spouse or children. If I want to do something, I generally do it. Yes, this may free me up for more ministry opportunities. Yes, God may be able to use me more now as I am single than He would if I were married. Those answers just don't always sit well with me though. So I grumbled a bit.
Today's sermon was about how God remembered Noah (Genesis 8:1-19.) Here's what stood out to me. There is no record of Noah talking to God during the 377 days he was on the ark and he didn't leave the ark until God told him to. Can you imagine being in the ark with all those animals and your family day in and day out with no clue of what would happen next or when it would happen? Michael asked, "if God never spoke to you after the moment of your salvation, would you still follow and obey Him?" God never shows up on our schedule, only His own. Can I be faithful and obedient no matter what the circumstances are? The only way we can do this is to know that God remembers us and is with us. We can rest- be settled- in this truth. Michael then went on to talk about how to rest is to wait. And we don't like to wait. Suddenly, I was uncomfortably reminded of my internal response to the corporate prayer. This is where it really hit home. Not wanting to wait is my selfishness. Bristling about singleness platitudes or being overly sensitive to my plight is my selfishness. I don't know why I haven't met Mr. Right yet. There's no guarantee that I ever will. Focusing on being single may cause me to lose sight of everything else God is doing in my life. I need to trust God during this "in between" time. One does not have to be the loneliest number. It might be the number that can bring God the most glory. That, in the end, is all I really want.