The Bible can be a hard book to believe sometimes. Amid all the good stuff, all the grace and mercy and glory, there's a lot of stuff I wish was different. There's a lot that I may be able to wrap my head around, but not my heart. I can wrap my head around God's right and moral authority to wipe out cities of men, women, and children in the Old Testament...but I struggle to wrap my heart around that.
I can wrap my head around the fact that God designed sex for monogamous, heterosexual relationships, and nothing else...I believe that. I do. I absolutely do...but friends, my heart lags behind.
My heart doesn't get it. Yes, I know, marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. That's cool. I love that. But I can't help but wonder why I'm asked to deny some of my most fundamental desires for intimacy to play along with some grand, cosmic narrative. Marriage is a beautiful and complex picture of Jesus' self-sacrificial love for his Bride...why don't I get to experience that?
I'm sorry if this makes you nervous. If it makes you feel any better...it makes me a little nervous too.
But I don't think it makes God nervous. In fact, I know it doesn't. He knows I'm his child. He's the one who rescued me in the first place! He has given me his Holy Spirit, who speaks through his Word. He knows my weakness, my lack of understanding. In his grace, he meets me in my doubt...but thankfully, he doesn't leave me there.
I'm not one of those guys who says true faith requires doubt, but I am one of those guys who says a true relationship requires honesty. It is my sincere prayer that God leads me to a deeper understanding of his design for sexuality; not just a head understanding...a heart understanding. But in the meantime, in the tension, I must trust him.
Saying I wish some things in the Bible were different doesn't mean I actually think they should be different. I believe in God's design for sex. I believe it's good, and I believe it's right. But...well...I wish it was different. All I can do here is look to Christ:
"And he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'" Mark 14:36
Jesus himself, on the Mount of Olives, wished that his Father's will for him was different. He wished there was another way, but he ultimately trusted the Father's will. Likewise, I must keep my trust in the goodness and wisdom of God, even when my heart does not understand.
As I think about what it looks like to open up and share my struggle with more people, these are the fears that run through my head. "What will they think of me?" My first gut reaction is rushing to assure them I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality. "Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything crazy."
Maybe this is more insecurity on my part, and less expectation from other people. Maybe it's a mixture of both.
As your brother in Christ, your brother who has to trust Christ with my brokenness just as you trust him with yours, I humbly ask you for space. I ask you for the freedom to struggle, to wrestle. I ask you for the freedom to remove my ever-smiling mask. I ask you to let me mourn...and for you to mourn with me.
I ask you to trust that God has me in his grip, and that he's not letting go. These storms of doubt may toss the ship around, but it's never coming loose from its moorings. I ask you to listen to me when I say I wish I could pursue a God-honoring same-sex relationship...and I ask you to trust me that I know that's not his plan for me.
I don't need someone to continually convince me of the truth I already believe. I need someone to walk with me, to listen to me, to cry with me, to laugh with me. I don't need another Bible verse. I need someone to be the hands and feet of Christ in my life. I need a friend.
Now, of course, I'm not saying I shouldn't be challenged or questioned. Friends don't have to walk on eggshells. If my behavior is out of line with God's Word, I need to be confronted. If I say something that's not true, I need to be lovingly corrected. If I have a blog post that misses the mark of the gospel, I should get emails. Accountability is a part of community.
I'm just asking for space. I firmly believe that it's not God's will for me to pursue a same-sex relationship. However, when I struggle to accept the implications of that belief, when I struggle to understand why God let me be this way, when I'm faced with another night of seemingly hopeless loneliness, when my head collides with my heart...these are the times when I need a friend who trusts Jesus enough to give me the space to struggle. Not space as in distance, but space as in freedom: the freedom that only comes from faith in our sovereign, omnipotent Savior.
This post sounds so needy. I hate being needy. I desperately want to do all this myself, to fight my own battles. I want to say that I got this, that I'm fine flying solo...but I'm not. I need Jesus, and I need friends who point me to Jesus.
It's telling that I feel like I have to assure you I'm fine, that I'm not on the verge of some kind of
meltdown (I'm not) nor even walking through any particularly dark spiritual valley (again, by God's grace, at this point in time, I'm not). I've had a moment of honesty, and now I want to clean up the mess, to get back to normal, to make sure you know I'm okay.
I am okay, but I'm okay because of Jesus, our true Friend. He's our friend who meets us in our moments of messy, needy honesty, sits with us, listens to us, weeps with us, laughs with us. He embraces us, and he tells us he loves us even when we struggle to find words of response. He doesn't meet our doubt with anxiety and insecurity...he meets our doubt with Love. Love so amazing that it starts to chip away at our fears and struggles to believe.
Because of his Love, his never-ending, never-giving-up Love, my heart can finally start to wrap itself around his Word.
Because of his Friendship, I can start showing this same friendship, compassion, and freedom to those around me who are just as needy as me.
Friends, this is the good news. This is the gospel. Jesus meets us where we are, but thank goodness he doesn't leave us where we are.
"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."
"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."
The grace of Christ, and the peace that passes all understanding,
Your Brother Behind the Mask