Scripture Reading: Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV)Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Gospel Reading: 1 John 4: 7-8; 11-12 (NIV) 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Today is the first Sunday of the month of February…and a lot of us are talking about? What?! Come on, we’ve all seen it on the commercials and on FaceBook…Okay, let’s take a multiple choice test:
(a) Easter Sunday (b) Christmas Eve (c) Valentine’s Day
Well, I don’t know about you, but all my friends are making sure their Valentines plans are in place. The couples are planning something special to do with or for their loved ones. The ones that are single are trying to see who they are going to spend time with. And then there are some of us that are wondering, what about me?!
I was ready to preach today! I was going to go hard…find scriptures and define them. To help us understand what love is. And this is what I came up with… “GOD is LOVE.” LOVE from the perspective of a Single, Divorced woman, who has not given up on love!! That’s all I could come up with. GOD is LOVE.” Please, join me in reading Exodus 14: 10-14,
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Now, most of you are asking yourselves what does that have to do with love? Well, for me the whole bible is a love story that God wrote just for me. In it is the story of my life and my struggles. This week as we sat in Bible study I realized that when Moses spoke, he spoke for God. Words that God told him to speak. And I heard them whispered just for me…“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Pray <<play the song>>
I am going to do something I have never dared to do before. I know a cool chic, she was hot to death!! She wore the latest and greatest clothes; her hair was a thing to behold. If there was a song written just for her it would be “So Fresh and So Clean-Clean!” This girl dated all the time and she had a great time, but one day she realized there was more to life than the next party, her pace changed, and she did something she never thought she’d do. She started praying…wait a minute, you have to understand that the fact that she was praying wasn’t the crazy thing, that wasn’t anything new to her. The part that was new was what she was praying for.
God, I am ready to settle down, I am ready to be with the man that I love. I am ready for you to unite me to my other half. I am ready for the long white dress, and I am ready for the happily ever after, God…
And a week or so later, she was engaged! Simple as that. She prayed. And she got engaged. And she planned her wedding. And one day, years later, as she sat in her home, in a land far far away, something inside her woke up, early one morning she went to church. Just like that, she just went for a visit, because she was awake so early that her husband wasn’t going to be able to rest with her in the house. And a familiar message, a message she remembered from childhood came to her. “You are somebody, because God doesn’t make garbage.” And I remember thinking, I know, I’m cute!! And walking back into my home and looking around and thinking, there’s more to God’s plan for me than this. See at the time, I wasn’t letting anyone see that I was in a not so good relationship. Things weren’t right… I remember thinking, but God I prayed for my marriage!! You were there in the beginning God, where are you now? God, my enemies are surrounding me, they get closer and closer, where are YOU?
I was sitting around arguing with God, blaming him for the disaster that was my life. I know, people told me that wasn’t the right thing to do, they said that God is always right and I shouldn’t argue with Him. But, did you know that arguing with God can be prayer? Giving to God everything that is in you, EVERYTHING is prayer. Emptying yourself of your hurts and your pain is prayer…but I wasn’t ready then. But I started looking for God. I found that I was ready to start to really talk to God.
One day as I walked into church I heard the words, BE STILL. And I wondered how. I had been so busy for so long that I couldn’t sit still and find peace inside myself, and so I asked a trusted Christian friend what that meant…BE STILL, and she said be patient. And I said, I have a hard time with patience too, but what does BE STILL mean, and she said, be patient. And after going back and forth for a bit, I realized she was answering my question, but in my hunger to get where I wanted to go, I did not understand.
It took a long time, but one day, I finally felt that stillness, that inner peace that I had heard people talking about. And once I felt it, I could hear a quiet voice speaking into my heart, and I felt butterflies!! Those butterflies that come from a first love. The ones that tickle you from the inside out…that make you smile for no reason.
My marriage had not changed, but I was in love for what felt like the first time. And I talked to my love all day every day. And like Moses, when the world around me became crazy, when my enemies where chasing me down, my LOVE gave me reason to keep going and I learned to hear His voice…
One day I finally dared to ask Him, in one of those quiet conversations that we have when we are really in love, LORD why…and this time I was still and I cried out to Him, LORD, why did you let me marry Him? Why didn’t you warn me?! I prayed to you for my life mate and you…you weren’t there. You set me up to fail. You left me to be disappointed all by myself. By this point I was alone, sitting in a church praying to God with all of my heart. And this time, a woman came over, and she said:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
See, God did not do this to me. I did this to me. I prayed to God for a husband and rather than being still, I found my husband. Rather than being still, I planned my wedding. Rather than being still, I married him. But God, loves me so much that He is healing my broken heart and binding up my wounds.
And today, I can stand here and say, that I make mistakes (daily), I move to fast, I am still always in motion, but I stand here, knowing that Prayer is more than me asking and God doing. God is not a puppet, who does what I want when I want.
Instead, I sit here wanting to be a little like Moses…Moses had faith, without hesitation, he acted on God’s command. I do this knowing that God has a plan for my life and in His perfect time, He will say to me, like He said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?…move! Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that [you] can go through the sea on dry ground…”
But until that day comes, I will wait, while He continues to heal my broken heart. May God bless you and give you peace!