Porch 2020 Messages
Super Single and Not Able to Mingle
JD Rodgers | 2020-04-07
In this season of quarantine, being single and not able to mingle is a struggle for many. We all want to go back to normalcy, but we shouldn’t waste the time we have and miss what God is trying to teach us. In this message, we learn two ways that we can succeed in this unique season of singleness if we choose to use our circumstances for a greater purpose.
Super Single and Not Able to Mingle
In this season of quarantine, being single and not able to mingle is a struggle for many. We all want to go back to normalcy, but we shouldn’t waste the time we have and miss what God is trying to teach us. In this message, we learn two ways that we can succeed in this unique season of singleness if we choose to use our circumstances for a greater purpose.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are back here live, The Porch.Live experience, so wherever you are tuning in from all over the world literally, thank you for joining us. We just want to say we're so glad you're here. If we have not met, my name is JD Rodgers, and this is honestly a first for me. I am sitting here under extreme measures, social distancing, trying to keep away from everyone, and everyone here is just trying to be really cautious.
I want you guys to know I've even asked a few friends to come up here and join me and just sit out here because I miss you guys. Honestly, it is hard to be in this room right now and not look out and just be with my homies, my Porchies. So just know you guys are so missed, but I'm so excited that the Lord has blessed Watermark with this kind of technology where you and I get to still just learn more about him and open up the Word together.
So we're not starting a new series tonight. Tonight, we are just talking about something that really has been hitting home for me in the midst of corona. Before I tell you what it is, corona…I just want to be honest…I hate it. I am tired of corona. I am ready to go back to reality. One reason why is because I just miss getting a haircut. I miss having my hair cut, the fresh fade. I just don't feel like myself. I don't feel as confident walking around, and just right now I'm looking kind of insecure. I'm not going to lie.
But there are so many things. I miss going out to eat with my friends. I miss working in a public place where you can look at people and make eye contact and not feel like you have leprosy. Like I'm walking around right now, and anytime I see a human, I'm like, "Hi. I'm sorry." I'm acting so weird. If I'm being honest, I'm trying to get out of this season of corona, and as I'm thinking about that, it's really relatable to what we're talking about tonight.
Tonight, we're talking about our season of singleness. Singleness. Of course, they have the single guy up here (shots fired) to come up here and talk about this, but we are talking about singleness tonight in the midst of this season of corona. Here's what I was thinking about. Here's the reality right now. This season of corona plus this season of singleness equals Super Single but Not Able to Mingle.
Super single but not able to mingle is the definition of my life right now. Normally in life, it's like, "Yeah, I'm single, but what's up? Going out with the homies. Going to meet the people. Going out on the town." Right now, we have nothing to do but sit at home and recognize how lonely we are.
To make it worse, as if singleness when life was normal wasn't already bad enough, now we're forced to sit at home, scroll on Instagram, and see all of the married couples doing couple things. Like, "With my boo in bed all day! Movie marathon, or making TikToks." I mean, I see like 40-year-olds on TikTok, and I'm like, "What are you…" It's just like I'm mad at everyone.
I'm looking out my window, eating Doritos in my PJs at 5:00 p.m., watching couples go on walks, going by, and I'm just like, "All right, it's just me here. Hey! How's it going?" They're looking at me. It's so real right now. It is the weirdest time being single in the midst of this season of corona.
Like I said, they kind of weirdly go hand in hand. Just as I'm ready for corona to be over, I'm honestly fed up with my season of singleness. I am ready for singleness at times to be over, and I think it's because I view singleness like I do corona. I see singleness low-key as a virus, a virus that I want nothing to do with. I will look away. I will do everything in my power to not have to face it.
It's so funny, because just like I approach corona, I kind of approach singleness. At the beginning of corona, it was kind of like the Millennial dream. It's like, "We get to all stay home, and all of us are being creative on Instagram, and all these hilarious memes. This is fun! Ha, ha, ha! A new thing! Here we go!" In the same way, like let's say you're in a long relationship, and you know after you break up you get with your bros or your girls, and you're like, "Yeah! Who needs relationships! It's time to be single!" We're all like, "Let's go out! Let's have fun!"
Then over time, actually not very long, you're like, "All right, I'm done with this. I am done with this." That's what I feel a lot of us are right now. Not only are we done with corona, but a lot of us sit in the tension of being done with singleness. The difference between though corona and singleness is where corona does have a lot of negative effects and it is literally a virus that has caused a lot of pain and hurt, that is in no way the case for singleness.
If I'm being real with myself, I have to know and trust that the Bible says that singleness is actually a gift. And my first instinct, if I'm being honest, is not to believe that. I think a lot of us really would address and admit that we struggle with viewing singleness as a gift. It can be really confusing when it's like, "But I thought marriage was a good thing. Proverbs says, 'He who finds a wife finds favor with the Lord.' I want some favor."
And like, "God saw that it wasn't good for man to be alone, so he gave him a helper." There are all these different questions of like, "But I don't want to be lonely. Is it wrong for me to want to be married?" I just want to stop right here actually to address something. If you are not single… And when I say single, I mean someone who is not in marriage, like you're not married. So even if you're dating, I still am classifying you as single. And if you're with your significant other, you'd better be six feet apart right now.
But if you're single, dating, engaged, married, I think there are truths we're going to learn tonight from God's Word about how a single person should live that apply to everyone. I think we all have things to learn from what God intends for singles, because no matter what, every single one of us knows we have an independent walk with the Lord.
Our walk with God is not a we thing; it's a me and God thing. It's independent, and there are things that if we would learn them, especially singles, if we would learn these truths we're going to talk about tonight, we're going to find so much more joy in the next thing. I don't know if your future is singleness, I don't know if it's in a relationship, but whatever it is, if you, every single person, are walking in these things we're learning tonight, you're going to experience so much more joy and happiness and peace and rest.
So I just want to jump in. I want to get started. Tonight, we're going to talk about succeeding in this season of singleness. What do I mean by that? Right now, we are not only in this season of singleness, but like I said, we're also in this very unique season of all that COVID-19 brings into our lives.
A lot of people have reached out to The Porch letting us know, "I am more lonely than ever before. SOS. Help." That's me. At this point, I'm like Taylor Swift putting notes on the window to the people across the apartment, like anything to get some love. I know right now, if you're a physical touch person you're absolutely dying. You're like shaking to get out of the house and just be able to touch people again.
Some of you, you might be introverts, and you're like, "Dude, this is a dream. I don't know what you're talking about." But I think all of us will come to a place eventually where we just want to get back to normalcy. This is such a unique time, but my fear is that we're going to get out of this season and miss what God was trying to teach us, because I do believe God is trying to use…
Even though COVID has brought so much stress and pain… I know people are losing jobs left and right. I know people are getting sick. Some of you might have family members and friends who actually have corona, and you're having to move back in with your family, or all these different things, and you're going, "What do I do with this?"
I'm not diminishing that this season has brought a lot of stress and hurt, but I do believe that as we read the Scriptures, we see that God is always clearly moving. He's always working. He's always trying to teach us something. He's always trying to bring us closer to his heart in what he wants for us. I think he wants something for your singleness in this unique season of corona.
So tonight, two ways to succeed in this season of singleness. The first way to succeed is to secure the right relationship. Here's what I mean by that. A lot of us think… I mean, it's almost human nature to believe that relationships with people, a relationship, a spouse, are going to bring us fulfillment, it's going to bring us satisfaction, it's going to bring us joy. So we spend our entire life unsettled and uneasy and clawing to get out of singleness because we're trying to secure what we think is the right relationship, but reality is you're trying to put all your security and all your significance in the wrong relationship.
So what does it look like to secure ourselves in the right relationship, with the relationship with Jesus Christ? If you have your Bibles, which I hope you do, open up with me to 1 Corinthians, chapter 7. As you turn there, just a little bit of what's going here. The apostle Paul is the author of 1 Corinthians. A lot of people are new to the faith.
A lot of people are learning what it means to be a Christ-follower, and Paul spends this letter to the church of Corinth telling them, "Hey, here is what it looks like to follow Jesus," because they're going, "What about this? What about this? Hey, now that I'm a Christian, what about this and what about this?" Paul is just addressing, "Here's what this means. Here's God's design for your season of life."
So this is the part of 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul just tells us, "Here is God's design in singleness." Here's what it is. Verse 32. "But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided.
The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband." This is it. This is the thesis of your singleness. "This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord."
Paul is saying… As a single person, he says in that chapter as well, "I wish some of you were single like I am single." Paul was single, and he's saying, "Because the benefit of singleness is it's a time in your life where you get to have undistracted, unbothered, complete, secure devotion in the Lord, and nothing else is there to demand your attention. It's just you and God and what he wants for you."
Paul is basically saying, "If I right now had to pick an army to go change the world, I would pick an army of young adult single people. That's who I'm picking. That's my team." His A-Team are single people, you and I. Why? Because he understood that there was so much worth and there was so much to learn from our season of singleness.
But you're never going to see that, you're never going to really understand that, if you're not secure in the whole object of this principle. So what I mean by that is when I say secure the right relationship, I am saying you have to learn in this season, like Paul is saying… He's saying, "You need to build a secure, undistracted devotion to the Lord."
Girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, kids, great things, gifts from the Lord, but it just comes with it… Every one of my friends who is married tells me, "Hey, Bro, don't wish it away. It is such a unique time where you get to grow and establish such security in the right relationship with Jesus."
It's so interesting as I'm thinking about, "Okay, well, how do I find security in my singleness? How do I find security in just me and God? What does that look like?" I was reminded of this story of a time where I felt very insecure in college. I was home with all my closest friends back before social distancing, and we had a scary movie night.
We were all piled up in the living room all on a pallet and on the couches, and we watched the movie The Strangers, which (spoiler alert) if you've never seen it, I would advise you not to. It is the most terrifying movie I've ever seen in my entire life. The reason why is because there is no premise really as to why they're killing this couple.
There's this couple, newlyweds. They are in this house in the middle of the woods, which was the first mistake. But these people come with these scary masks, and they just torture them the entire movie, and at the end, she's dragging her knife, and the girl is crawling away, and her last words are like, "Why are you doing this?" And the girl was like, "Because you were home." Then just stabs her. You're like, "Oh my! What the!"
I was just so bothered that it kind of carried over into the next morning. So everyone was gone. My roommates were gone. I'm asleep on the couch, and I all of a sudden woke up to this unsettling feeling that I wasn't alone. So I raised up, me in my boxers only (sorry, bad image there) and I looked through the blinds of the window, and I see this man. He's like probably mid-40s. Too old to be in my backyard. That's the point. A picketed fence. No one should be in unless you are welcomed in, but he's in. He's looking around. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, there's a thief in my backyard."
He starts walking toward the back door, and I'm like, "Oh!" So what do I do? I grab a bat, and I start… No! I ran to the closet. I ran down the hall, and I hid in the farthest room in the farthest closet, and I tucked myself behind the clothes in my underwear, crouched down, like, "Oh my gosh. Okay, what's happening? What's happening?"
All of a sudden, the door opens. "Anyone home?" I'm like, "Nope. Do you know why I'm not home? Because in The Strangers last night the person was home, and that was enough reason for them to get killed, and I'm not trying to get killed, so I'm not home. He's going to have to figure this out on his own. If he's trying to steal, he's stealing by himself today."
So I stay in the closet, and all of a sudden, I start hearing footsteps coming down the hall right toward my direction. I am tripping! I am breathing. My head is down. I am sweating. All of a sudden, out of all the rooms in the back of the hall, the room I'm in, I hear squeaking. I'm like, "Get some WD-40 on this stuff please!" The door opens, and he walks in.
I'm like, "Why is this man in this room?" The doors are kind of partially… It's like one of those tri-fold doors. He opens them, and I'm like, "Oh!" I put my head down in between my knees, like looking like Smeagol you could kind of see. I see him, and I flinch, and I put my head back down, and he brings the clothes toward me, and I'm like, "Oh my gosh." He looks, and I'm like, "What's going on?" Then he grabs. I look up and I see his fingers, and I'm like, "This is it!" and I put my head down. If I can't see him, he can't see me.
He moves the clothes, and I hear, "Oh my Jesus!" I didn't look at him. It was the most awkward… Like you could cut the tension literally with a knife. He could hear my breathing. I'm not looking. I'm not addressing it. This man never has seen my face. He's like, "Ah." I just hear some noises, and then he leaves. He hurries out. The door closes. I fall out, and I'm like, "Oh my gosh! What just happened? Why? Why? What's going on?"
I look up, and I see that I hid in the one closet that had the electrical breakers in them. This man was the renter's electrician trying to come and fix our house. It's so funny because I think I view singleness like that man. It comes knocking at the door, just trying to help me, and I'm like, "Run away! Run away!" I don't want to be sitting in loneliness and in singleness, and I hide in the closet, and a lot of you, I think, are hiding in the closet, and it's time to come out. Okay? I just going to say it.
It's time to come out and embrace and find security in this season we're never going to get back. We're never going to get it back! God is going, "This is such a gift. It's such a gift." I think a lot of us are missing it because we're seeing it as something that wants to hurt us, not something that's going to help us. I think singleness is God's gift to help us.
So how do we secure that right relationship? Just like Paul says. Let's reread it. "…to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord." So if I'm thinking, "How do I secure my relationship with the Lord?" well, first off, like he says…it's just so practical…I need to be undistracted. Anything that's taking my attention from my intimacy and my time with God, I need to remove or balance or change priorities, and I need to make God the number-one priority in my life.
So many of you have made God like a part of this agenda. You've made him like this thing. I know for me, if I'm being real, there are so many times in my life where going to church, reading my Bible, praying, are just these things I do in my schedule. It's not something I am. It's not something I believe. It's not even something I want. I'm just like, "Well, let me check this off the list." That's not how you establish security with someone.
The more time you spend really desiring to be with someone, the more security you're going to have in that relationship. That's the same with God. The more time you spend with him, really spend with him… Especially if you're looking for an undistracted time, I cannot think of a better one than quarantine. I cannot think of a better one than corona and all that it has brought. This might be the most undistracted, nothing-else-is-asking-for-your-attention time of your life, and I don't want us to waste it.
When I was writing this talk, I had to get real with myself and go, "JD, you've been wasting it. You have been wasting it. Those times you watched those Netflix movies, you could've been memorizing Scripture. Those times you sat there and just scrolled endlessly on social media, you could've been reading God's Word or praying or listening to worship music."
I don't think God is sitting up there like, "How dare you!" but I think God is going, "I want you to want me and to be secure in me." So I just want you guys to know that if you draw near to God, the Word of God says, "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." Do you want to feel close to someone in this season? Draw near to God. Spend time with him.
Here are just some practical things I wrote down. Watermark actually has a great resource called Join the Journey. You just type in jointhejourney.com, and there is a daily devo where you get to daily spend time with God. Memorizing Scripture. Writing Scripture on your mirror, on your hand, making it your screensaver on your phone. Just anywhere you look, and it's a tendency for you to distract you. Maybe putting a stick-it note on your TV or on your Xbox controller or whatever it may be. Choose, "Before I do that, I'm going to work on memorizing this Scripture." The Bible says to hide God's Word in our heart.
Another one, prayer and worship. I think we don't understand the impact prayer has on our lives. I believe in Matthew 6, it talks about how God's design for prayer is that we would go away in our room, we would get away from everything, undistracted, and we would pray to God. It says the God who sees you in secret will reward you in secret. He has rewards. He has gifts. He has abundance of peace and joy and satisfaction when you come to him and when you spend time with him. He's ready to give it to you, but you have to want it.
Another one I wrote down is journaling. Just journaling your thoughts, journaling your prayers so you can go back and reflect and read what God is doing in this time. A tall task maybe for some of you is like, "I've never read the whole Bible. I claim to stake my life on this thing and believe this book, but I've never even read the whole book." So just try. Say, "I don't know how long this thing is going to go, so I'm just going to try to read it cover to cover." There are so many resources online you can go with parts you don't understand. Maybe investing in a study Bible so it can help you understand Scripture that's harder to understand for you.
Some of you, I know what I like to start with people who are new to this and trying to get really devoted and spending time with God is I always say, "Hey, let's just start with the book of John. Let's just open up the book of John together, and let's just read it one chapter a day. Let's just go through it, and let's just learn the story of the life of Jesus on earth.
Read it like a movie. Read it like you're reading a screenplay, and watch the life of Jesus unfold in this story in the book of John." Some of you just need to take the next few days just studying the book of John. I don't know what it looks like for you. I think you can get real with yourself and go, "What's the best way I connect with God? What are the things I enjoy?" and set aside undistracted time with him.
The next thing it says is "…secure undistracted devotion…" What does it look like to be devoted? We tend to be people who are scared of commitment, of being devoted to something, of putting our word and staking our commitment to something, but being devoted daily to Christ, saying, "I'm going to wake up every day and spend time with God. I'm devoted to him," will go so far.
I'm reminded in Luke 10, there's this story of I think that just perfectly illustrates this. Luke 10:38-42, the story of Mary and Martha. "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'"
I love this. Jesus says, "Martha, Martha…" For me, it's "JD, JD. Shh." "…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." I read that, and I'm often the Martha. I think the things I do for God are going to make me better with God. Like, "Okay, if I read my Bible and if I do these things," and I establish this do relationship… Do, do, do.
Now that all my work and my friends and the things I used to fill my time with are taken away because of this season of quarantine, there's not really much I can do. So all that I'm left is to be like Mary and to sit at the feet of Jesus. What I mean by that is like I talked about. It's being devoted and spending time with him and trusting that is what he wants and that is what is going to bring me actual peace and joy and fulfillment and satisfaction. That's how you secure a right relationship with the Lord.
There are so many things we search to find security in, like I said, but if you would just trust what Jesus says here, "Martha, you're so concerned about so many things, but Mary, she's concerned about one thing. She has it figured it out. It's coming and just being with me. Not doing and being a busybody. Your productivity doesn't produce more prosperity with me or more favor with me. I just want you, and I've always wanted you." God wants you now in your singleness, and he wants you in quarantine, and he's saying, "You don't have to be lonely. You can spend time with me." I need to be reminded of that truth.
So first, like I said, securing a right relationship. Just remember, it's not in a person, it's not in an idea or dating or marriage; it's securing in this time relationship with the Lord and with God. The second way we succeed in this season of singleness is to surrender to God's design. As I'm learning more of my Bible, I am seeing God is a master designer. He is the Creator of everything. He is the gift-giver. He is all these things I read.
If I saw a painting, and I wanted to know about the idea and what gave the inspiration behind the painting, who am I going to go to? I'm going to go to the artist of that painting. We search to find design, what we're looking for for joy and for fulfillment. We search in all these places, and God is going, "Hey, I'm the Designer. I designed this season of singleness with so much for you that I want you to experience, but you're going to have to trust that design."
This illustrated for me. I was reminded of the first several relationships actually in the Bible. Genesis 3. You can turn with me to Genesis 3:1-7. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God actually say, "You shall not eat of any tree in the garden"?'
And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."' But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths."
Here's what I want you to know. God's design for Adam and Eve looks like this. He created the world. The world was very good, and he said, "Adam, Eve, here's the garden of Eden. There is fruit for days. There is so much for you to enjoy. This is Paradise on earth. This is the pad. You have everything your soul needs right here. I've given you a helper in a wife. You guys get to have so much fun. Here's it all."
You would think they would be like, "What more do I need?" Like us. A lot of us are like, "If I just get to marriage, I'll be saying, 'What more do I need? I finally got it.' If I just get a significant other, 'Finally! Now I'm here. Now I'm satisfied.'" You would think that's what would happen, right? But all of a sudden, the Enemy comes, like he does to us, and he starts whispering these lies in their ears.
He starts telling them, "Why do you think God is keeping that one tree from you? Why do you think that is?" He starts to get you to reevaluate God's goodness and God's character. He goes, "I think God is withholding something from you. I think God is keeping you back from something. He doesn't want you to have a perfect good life in Paradise. No, he wants you to not be like he is. That's why he is keeping it from you."
I think we in the back of our minds might believe God is withholding a relationship from us, trying to teach us a lesson, or trying to take us through some hardship, and we start to twist God's design. Where God's design is, he goes, "Whether you are single, whether you're in a relationship, whether you're married, whether you're a father or a mother, I have specific designs for every single stage of life, and I ask one thing: that you would trust me in every single season no matter the cost."
We don't like that. I know for me, I'm scared to put my trust in things I can't see the end result. It's scary to be like, "God, what if you want me to be single forever? What if?" I have to wrestle with these things. So when I start to see the design God intended for singleness, it starts to open up my perspective on what God is trying to do in my life in this season. Suddenly, all the negative feelings, all the emotions, all the feelings of loneliness, they slowly start to dwindle, and what was once pain is now turning into a greater purpose.
I'm recognizing… Do you know what? I truly believe, like Paul was saying, there will never be more of a time for me as a human to connect with God and experience fullness of joy, but also to lead people to help change the world, to connect other people to God, to serve my church, to serve people. I'm so available in this season. When was that ever a bad thing to be available to open up my hands to God and say, "God, whatever you want. I want a relationship, but I don't really know where you're going, but I'm yours"?
My perspective starts to change. A lot of people ask, "So then why did God put the Tree in the garden? If he wanted everything to be perfect and very good, why did he put that tree there to begin with? Why did he put an opportunity for something bad to happen?" I would say what God was doing there…
The Tree does not disprove God's goodness. What that tree does is it shows man's lack of trust in God's goodness. That tree was an opportunity for God to give to man, for man to respond to God and say, "I'm going to trust you. Even though I'm hearing from the Enemy that's going to offer me more, that that tree has fruit for me to bite into that's going to make me wise, and it's desirable…"
Even though I look at relationships on the Instagram, and I see what looks like they're thriving… Which, by the way, highlight reel. I won't get off on that tangent. When I look at all these different things I think when I get my marriage, and the cul-de-sac, with going to church and having my Goldendoodle and successful job, like all of these things… "When the Enemy says that's the only time you're ever going to be satisfied, I'm going to trust you, God. I'm going to trust that you say this is a time…"
Why would Paul say, "I wish some of you were single like I am single"? It's because he understood God's design for singleness. He understood it, and when you understand God's design for your singleness… It doesn't mean God is suddenly like, "Okay, now that you understand, here's a marriage." It's not like that. But you will start to experience his promises. You'll start to experience peace and comfort and confidence and purpose.
We're going to start to experience what it looks like to stop striving and trying and just start trusting and resting and reading and learning and changing and doing, and we start to be more available, and, "Oh my gosh, now I can go do this. I can travel. I can tell more people about Jesus. I can read more of the Bible. I can pray more. I can do more." When you start to see it like this, suddenly singleness does not look so bad because it's like the time is now.
We just studied the whole story of Esther, where he looks at her and he's like, "Maybe for such a time as this." I'm looking at you, and I'm saying maybe for such a time as this God has you single in this season, in the unique season of corona, because he's going, "I want you to be so secure, so undistracted and devoted to me that when corona ends, you are literally going to go and change your world."
You're going to go and through this security and through what you're learning in this season, you're going to go, and it's going to impact people when we get back to normal life. Just you wait. Just you trust. I know when I start to think about these things, and I start to read about these things, a couple of verses when it's really hard for me and I'm like, "Oh my God, I just saw another couple post and all this stuff. They're starting to do couple challenges. They're getting bored," I go to some of these Scriptures.
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." First Peter 5:7 says, "…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." Ecclesiastes 3. Go read it. It just talks about how God has designed a time for everything.
There is so much truth found in God's Word to combat the lies of the Enemy, that there's something better in the next season of life. I'm telling you the time is now. God wants you to be secure in him, and he wants you to understand and trust his design. When you do that, your singleness is going to do nothing but thrive and succeed.
So I'll wrap up with this. I know for me, I can hear these things, and I can write this talk, and I can get all fired up, and I can be like, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to go! Let's change the world! Singles unite!" But the moment this livestream is over, I drive home, and I'm left with nothing but my thoughts, and I'm evaluating myself, and I'm wondering, "Did that land? Was that part confusing?"
I'm thinking about all these things, and I have no one to go home… I don't have a spouse to go home and process to. Tonight, I'm going to lie in my bed and think about all these things, and it's just going to be me and the Lord, giving it to him, But, man, would it be nice to look over and be like, "What'd you think, Sweetie?" That would be nice.
So I'm telling you, wherever you are right now, I know the livestream is going to end, and you're going to be left back into silence with nothing but your thoughts of potential depression, anxiety addiction, loneliness. A lot of guys right now, you're going to be left with nothing but the fight of like, "Dude, these passions are raging. Ah!" I know. I know all that is still waiting for you at the other end of this livestream.
So I just want to tell you I get it. Just really quick. Last summer, I took the plunge. I moved to Dallas, but I did not know that would result in me losing my two-year relationship. My girlfriend and I broke up. I went, "Okay, God, I'm going to trust you. I'm going to move to Dallas still."
I moved to Dallas. I'm starting the Watermark Institute. It's the Bible program here for 10 months. Then God is like, "JD, I want you to give undistracted, devoted attention to me in these 10 months. Can you commit to being single for 10 months?" I'm like, "Okay. Even though I'm in Dallas with a lot of new people in the Metroplex, okay, God. I'm yours for 10 months."
Now I'm nearing the end of the 10 months, and May is coming, and I think at first along the way it's we're at April, and I'm at this crossroad where I'm wanting to speed up the process and get out of this singleness. I think a lot of it is because I could not have expected quarantine and coronavirus and all of this to happen, and I am like, "Get me out. I am so tired of being alone. Whatever it takes, get me out."
Because here's what I'm left with in these lonely moments. I have to wake up and ask myself, "I am super alone." All my best friends from college have a group text I'm in everyday, where they're all married, and they're all on their first round of children, and I'm thinking these thoughts like, "I'm behind. All their kids are going to grow up, and I don't even have a girlfriend. I'm so far behind."
Vacations, all that. I'm going to be that weird single guy playing with the kids. They're like, "That's your Uncle JD," and it's like I'm not really their uncle. My little brother is in a marriage for a couple of years now. My older sister is married with kids. My mom is about to get married again. Everyone is married.
I sit at home, and I'm like, "Do you know what that means? That means they're all committed to someone, and that person is their top priority." I sit there, and I'm like, "But whose priority am I?" I feel so alone at times, and I'm like, "I am no one's priority. Until I am married, I will have no one who is so about me, so for me, just wants me all the time." I believe deep down that when I find that person I'm finally going to be satisfied and not feel so lonely, but I'm missing the point, because in this time, God has been so kind to me to be like, "You're not alone."
As cliché as it sounds, I've actually recognized I'm in a very committed relationship with the God of the universe, the Creator, the Maker of my days, the person who calls me his friend and my Father. He says, "I am committed to you. I want all this devoted time with you. I'm crazy obsessed about you. You're a top priority in my life. JD, you're such a priority that I'm willing to send my one and only Son, Jesus, to come down to where you are and to pay the penalty of your sin and death, and die on a cross.
Why did I send him to do that, JD? So you and I would never have to be separated. So we could be in a relationship that brings you fullness of joy and peace and purpose and satisfaction. We can be in that forever. You're in a relationship with the person who fully knows you and fully loves you. Why? Because I sent my Son to make it so through his death, burial, and resurrection."
When Jesus Christ died for me, when he rose from the grave and conquered sin's penalty and loneliness and depression and anxiety, when he conquered all of that, it meant I now get to wake up every day and find security in the right relationship with Jesus. I get to have undistracted, devoted time with him because my security is in him.
Then I get to trust in the design, that God has a purpose and a plan for this season of my life just like he had a plan to send his Son to die for me, and I wake up every day, and I remind myself, "No matter how lonely you feel, God loves you, and God is with you, JD. He's with you."
To my friends listening right now, I know you're lonely, and I know it just seems like, "If I can just get out of this, all of this will go away," but I'm here to tell you that's just not true. God has this season. I specifically think God wants this season of corona for us to open up the Word, spend time with him, and recognize and believe and trust that, "Everything you're searching for is with me. Nothing else. Nothing else. You can come and just be with me, and I will satisfy the deepest longings of your soul."
God, I am so thankful that although I am so prone to doubt, so prone to fear and reject this season, that I am so quick to not believe you're trying to work out something for my good, I'm so quick to doubt you designed singleness, that you designed this season of my life, just like you designed every other season of life, and you want amazing things for me. You want me to be devoted to you. I'm so sorry for when I am so prone to doubt that and run from that.
For my friends who are battling loneliness, are battling trying to rush out of this season because they don't believe like I that you're enough, I pray tonight that this season would change our lives, that when life goes back to normal, when we are back to whatever the new normal is going to look like, that we go sprinting in, not trying to sprint out of our singleness, but trying to sprint into your design, into your purpose, into your plan, trusting, "I don't know when this season is going to end, but I trust it's going to be good because my Creator, my Father, said so, and it's him I want to be with more than anyone else or anything else."
So that is why we come in this moment. We open up our hands and surrender our lives to your design, our Father and our Friend. In your name, I pray, amen.
Let's respond in worship.