Thursday, 11 October 2007

Guest Post: How Far Will We Go?

*Editor's note: Today's post is the story of my fellow blogger, Karen K, whose knowledge of God has cost her more than most of us could imagine paying - yet she testifies (with more depth and reality than most of us can) that He is worth any price. Check out her blog, aptly named Pursue God.

How Far Will We Go?

The defining moments of life lie in our response to God when the unexpected comes. Sooner than later we face a rude awakening: Christians are not exempt from pain. Life will treat us unfairly—and God will allow it. How we grapple with our faith at these pivotal turns sets the direction of our lives. Do we persist in pursuing God? Or, in our disillusionment, do we abandon him? These questions pressed hard on my own mind for many years. It began in 1992. That’s when I looked into life’s mirror and was startled to see the unexpected. That’s the year I knew I was gay.

My same-sex attractions barreled into consciousness during Bible college, stripping away years of denial and wrenching my presuppositions of God from their secure sockets. The Church never told me a good Christian girl who sang in church choir, went on mission trips, and served in youth leadership could be gay. Weren’t homosexuals outside the Church—a subgroup of activists with an “evil agenda”? Didn’t Romans 1 teach homosexuality is caused by hatred toward God? How could I be gay?

The unexpected challenged everything I believed about God and Christianity. For ten years I wrestled with, What does this mean for me? Was I born this way? Is homosexuality truly wrong, or was it my fundamentalist upbringing that convinced me it is? I studied Scripture. I got involved in lesbian relationships. I went to ex-gay support groups. I read pro-gay theology. These were difficult years marked with crying, pleading, trying, exhaustion, failure, painful losses and suicidal thoughts. My healing never came.

American Christian culture teaches us God will fix all our problems. We just have to pray hard enough, seek him earnestly, and surrender more readily. After all, Christianity is about the “abundant life.” All God wants is for us to be happy, right? The truth is God can be unnervingly patient in the midst of our storms. He let me sweat it out. Just as he may let you wrestle with your pain. Our response to such treatment is often anger—at least for me. I thought God was callous, a cruel jokester playing a cosmic game. I didn’t understand; his silence was moving me past superficial comforts to find deeper wells.

Ultimately, I came to a deep spiritual peace in choosing not to be in homosexual relationships. Not because of my fundamentalist upbringing. Not because of family or peer pressure. Not because I was afraid God would hit me over the head or send me to hell, but because the Spirit testifies in me that homosexuality is not what he wants for human relationships. This life is short; my destiny is not about finding a lover or a life partner, as good as those things are. It’s not your life purpose either. Our destiny in life as followers of Jesus is to proclaim and live out, on a daily basis, the Kingdom of God until He comes.

Scripture says the Kingdom of God is where righteousness dwells. Righteousness is a word that is often misunderstood. We tend to associate it with legalism, perfectionism and trying to measure up. But, the Bible associates righteousness with joy, life, beauty, healing and all that is good and pleasing in the eyes of God. It is especially related to shalom—which means holistic well-being. Psalm 85:10 says, “Righteousness and shalom have kissed each other.” The ways of God and well-being are intimately conjoined. To value righteousness is to value our own well-being and the well-being of others.

I still have same-sex attractions. I might have to live a life of single celibacy. All my problems haven’t gone away and all of your problems, whatever they may be, might not go away either. Jesus said in this world we will have trouble. The question is: Will we follow him anyway? How far will we go in our pursuit of God? Will we give up when pain and loss slap us across the face? Will we falter when loneliness taunts us? Will we throw aside faith when God shatters our presuppositions of him? Or, will we cling to him even when he is silent?

Let me tell you something; Jesus is the priceless pearl worth losing everything for. Don’t throw away your destiny for that which fades in a matter of days or years. Don’t hold onto bitterness and anger because life didn’t turn out the way you expected. The picture is grander than what meets the eye. God can be trusted. When the unexpected knocks you flat, get back up and keep walking. I am walking with you.


joeyanne said...

This is one of the most real and intelligent posts I've read in a long time. So often we want to have everything and Jesus too - like the cherry on top of the sundae. God leads us to where we will seek for a more meaningful relationship with Him - where we will choose Him when it seems impossible. My life cannot be summed up in a list of "creeds" or beliefs. It is a series of little moments that add up to a pretty beautiful journey...but individually, these moments are not so beautiful. They have been difficult or sad or disallusioning or scary. Only God can take such an array of moments and put them together to form something beautiful.
Thank you for the real testimony and encouragement. I am humbled to have read it.

bjk said...

you said so much here that I will be back and pondering the sincerity and wisdom here for some time.....thank you for this..I don't know what else to say it has moved me to a new place yet again...that's just like Him you know....and I am grateful.

Robert said...

that is incredibly moving. *God lets us sweat it out* and the reality of the fact life may be filled with so much of what we dont want yet God is in it all the time and He has His plan working way beyond my scope especially when im looking through a lens that is colored by a certain inner want THANK YOu!! so much as becky said to chew on and take inside

Robb said...

I like the question "will we follow him anyway?" Those with obvious physical handicaps, for instance, arent instantly healed when they come to accept the fact that they are handicapped but regardless of their situation they leave themselves available to be used by the God of the universe. the Bible says the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be His name. There is no provision in there for self pity. Just unconditional praise to God.

jennypo said...

Robb, you've pointed out something that is so hard for us to grasp. God takes away from us so that he can give what is better, but it's difficult for us to accept his accounting. We think we know what is best. The bending to his way is one of the hardest things to do - it goes against our powerful drive for self-actualization. Only we can choose it, and only God can help us do it.
Oh, for the day when we will see things as they are!

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