Lessons We Learn From the Homosexual: Urgency and Death to Self
This Sunday in church, we sang such no-holds-barred lines as "I'm hungry for You," "I'm thirsty for more of You," and "I'm desperate for You." We have become accustomed, in this age of Darlene Zschech, to singing such things -- too accustomed. How many of us today know what we are saying when we boldly proclaim "You're the breath that I breathe, I'm desperate for You, I'm lost without You"?
There was a time, not that distant, when sermons weekly replayed the themes of judgment, guilt, and sin. Total depravity was more than a fill-in-the-blank answer. These days, a much-needed counter tradition has tipped the balance to the other extreme. Our services are often spent in an effort to make the parishioner feel good about him or her self. Victory, power, and grace are proclaimed beneath bold banners.
How many of these banner-children feel desperate for God? How many know what it means to be lost without Him? It is a mercifully avoided potentiality, not a keen life rhythm.
The Christian struggling to reconcile their homosexuality with God's law cannot live for long in this muffled three-chord desperation. He is quickly driven to the real thing. He is all too aware of the urgency of his case. If something isn't done now, if some light doesn't dawn, if some strength is not imparted, he truly will be utterly lost.
The homosexual Christian does not have the luxury of putting off a decision about her stance (settling what some authors call 'the sin question'). She cannot go through her days worship service to worship service, offering abstract praise and returning to her life. Her life is her struggle. It is the working out -- the life or death -- of her faith. She is always in the balance, always on the verge, always in need of salvation in the truest and most unexpected sense.
This is our universal state. None of us can honestly leave a service dry-eyed. None of us can end a prayer time satisfied with ourselves. In the words of John Irving, "we are all critical cases." We are all in deep trouble and urgent need. We all need healing -- now. We cannot afford to waste another praise song on our dutiful listlessness. We are missing out on being whole, being blessed, being challenged, being changed, living abundantly ... every second ... now.
The sermon this Sunday addressed another important lesson we can learn from those among us who do or have fought with their sexuality.
"How many of you," the pastor asked "have prayed 'God, if it will bring You more glory, don't heal me'? How many of you have prayed 'God, if it will glorify You more, kill me now'?" Peals of laughter greeted this apparently over-the-top example. I did not laugh. I recognize these prayers.
After years of demanding healing and receive a pat on the back, I had to come, kicking and screaming, to the place where I could rejoice in my lack. This truly happened. I remember clearly the day and place that God finally broke through and I died to my right for healing. Walking up Coburn Hill (yes, hills play a large part in my life, from Klipnocky to Casterline), I unfolded the long truth that I could be more use to God in my unhealed state. The landscape turned up a notch, let out a little more of its light. In that moment, I surrendered. I praised God for His plan, His timeline, His means. I praised Him for not healing me. A month later, I entered Living Waters under miraculously sudden circumstances and began my healing. Until that point I was not ready.
But the point is not that I reached that point in order to reach healing. The very point is that at that point, I was happy to live unhealed if it turned out that way. God's glory is what mattered, not my comfort. Anyone who has reached this point of desperation and has voiced those prayers will not laugh at their mention.
If we do not share in Christ's death, we cannot share in His resurrection. One death to which He calls us is the death to self, the death to our rights, plans, and chronologies of healing. We must realize that for us to live is Christ, and for us to die is gain! God's glory far surpasses our happiness, comfort, or ability not only in amount but in importance. These are the things we must sacrifice to make our selves living sacrifices.