From Thursday to Sunday I was away on a (very small) mission trip with my youth group (which I may blog about later, but knowing my blogging habits, it won’t happen). Yesterday I was asked to preach at the local baptist church on singleness. The pastor of the church used to be a pastor at my church and was the one who originally asked me to preach on singleness. So yesterday morning I found myself in front of 200 strangers talking about singleness.
What was interesting is that after the sermon people kept coming up to me to tell me their stories. Their experiences of marriage and singleness. There were so many stories which we’re terribly sad, some which were full of redemption, all stories where people were talking about the goodness of God. Like the woman who told me about getting married very young to a horribly abusive man, she escaped, and when she had no plans ever to get married again, she met a new man who she told me was the most wonderful husband any woman could want. Or the man who told me about how his wife walked out on him, and for years he was lonely and bitter, till one day at church he was told by a visiting missionary to hand his desire for a companion over to God. He did so then and there. Twenty minutes later he met a woman who he fell in love with and they’re getting married in six weeks. Or there was the woman who told me of what it’s like to live with a husband with dementia who can no longer make any sense of life. However in the months before it became really bad he gave his life to Jesus after his wife’s decades of prayer. There was story after story.
It was an honour and a privilege to have so many people come up and share with me their stories. I’m not sure why it happened yesterday in a way that it’s never happened after I’ve preached before. It could have been the topic, rarely does singleness get covered in church. It could have been that I was a visting preacher so people felt like they could share with be easier. It could have been that people connected some of the things I was saying with their own stories. I’m not sure. Whatever it was, I’m pleased God would decide to use me to to speak to others. It’s the honour of preaching.