We learned to see purpose in our suffering,
that our failed lives were under God's control,
who is able to bring good out of trouble.
In Step 1 we faced our powerlessness. In Step 2 we saw "that power belongeth unto God" (Psalm 62:11) who "giveth power to...them that have no might..." (Isaiah 40:29); and, as we came to believe in His love and grace, we found "joy and peace in believing" (Romans 15:13).
With Step 3, our new found or newly revived faith in the love of God enables us to begin to attack the roots of our homosexual struggle. Many of us felt we were victims--victims of life, victims of parents. And it may have been true! But if we stop there and see no thread of grace running through our sufferings, we end up being victims who have no hope.
Whatever may have happened when we were young, we are children no longer and must accept responsibility for our current actions. With God's help, we can change. As long as we blame others or circumstances over which we have no control for our situation, we will feel trapped, unable to do anything to change our lives. Bitterness and suspicion will lead us to develop an ever more distrustful attitude toward others and we will put up walls to keep them far away emotionally so that they cannot hurt us. Loneliness will drive us to seek sexual encounters which are a futile substitute for the love we need but from which we have cut ourselves off. Resentment may even poison our relationship with God as we angrily ask, "Why me?"
Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg, a Dutch psychologist with over twenty years experience in treat- ing homosexuality, identifies "self-pity as perhaps one of the prime causes of homosexuality..." [On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality, p. xv] If we would find freedom from homo- sexuality, we must undermine our feelings of being a victim and of self-pity. To do so we must see God not only as our loving Father (Step 2), but also as our Sovereign Lord (Step 3) whose almighty grace can bring blessing out of all that we have suffered.
1. Since sin has come into the world, is life difficult for everyone?
Sin always brings sorrow. It has been so from the first. "The whole earth partakes of the punishment, which the sin of man, its head and destined ruler, has called down.... Death reigns. Instead of the blessed soil of Paradise, Adam and his offspring have to till the ground now condemned to bear thorns and thistles, and this is not to end, until man returns to the earth from which he was taken." [E. Harold Browne, "Genesis," The Bible Commentary I, p. 46]
"Everybody out there is hurting. And if you don't know that, you're either very naive and believe in people's facades, or so thick-skinned that you don't hurt yourself and don't feel other people's hurts either." [Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering, p. 10]
"My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn." [Louis Adamic in Laurence Peter, Peter's Quotations, p. 304]
When Ernie Pyle, famed World War II correspondent, learned of the death of his mother, he wrote these poignant words: "It seems to me that life is futile and death the final indignity. People live and suffer and grow bent with yearning, bowed with disappointment, and then they die. And what is it all for? I do not know." [in Robert A. Williams, Journey Through Grief, p. 85]
"There will be no major solution to the suffering of mankind until we reach some understanding of who we are, what the purpose of creation was, what happens after death. Until these ques- tions are resolved we are caught." [Woody Allen in R. Scott Richards, Myths the World Taught Me, p. 23]
"Is not disease the rule of existence? There is not a lily pad floating on the river that has not been riddled by insects. Almost every shrub and tree has its gall, oftentimes esteemed its chief ornament and scarcely to be distinguished from the fruit. If misery loves company, misery has company enough. Now, at midsummer, find me a perfect leaf or fruit." [Thoreau, Journal, 1851, The Oxford Book of Aphorisms, p. 326]
"Life is not just a struggle for you; it's a struggle for everyone, and no one meets all of life's challenges flawlessly." [Ralph Earle and Gregory Crow, Lonely All the Time, p. 255]
2. Is God in control of whatever happens?
There is some comfort in the realization that we are not alone in our suffering, but this is not enough to break the bands that bind us unless we also know that we are not subject to the power of impersonal fate or blind chance, but are in the hands of our loving Father in heaven.
I Chronicles 29:11,12
"One adequate support
For the calamities of mortal life
Exists, one only;--an assured belief
That the procession of our fate, howe'er
Sad or distrub'd, is order'd by a Being
Of infinite benevolence and power,
Whose everlasting purposes embrace
All accidents, converting them to good." [William Wordsworth]
"'What is history,' cried Cromwell, 'but God's unfolding of Himself?'" [James S. Stewart, Heralds of God, p. 12]
"The great ones of this world--from Nebuchadnezzar to Mao Tse-tung--who lull themselves with the illusion that men create history...cannot spoil God's plans, but instead they form an unwitting part of his plans and must serve his purposes unconsciously and unwillingly.... The tender mercy of God rings out like a bell over our dark world. And this theme sets itself against the riddles of our fate and against all human powers who rebel against it and pretend to be the lords of this world." [Helmut Thielicke in Stephen Brown, If God Is in Charge, p. vii]
There are really only two ways of looking at the painful side of life. "Some say that...to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God." [Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, p. 23]
"God is never in a panic, nothing can be done that He is not absolute Master of, and no one in earth or heaven can shut a door He has opened, nor open a door He has shut. God alters the inevitable when we get in touch with Him." [Oswald Chambers, If Thou Wilt Be Perfect, p. 127]
3. Where does sin come from?
"Chesterton says...that the great problem of philosophy is why little Tommy loves to torture the cat.... Malcolm Muggeridge says that...original sin, the most unpopular of all Christian dogmas, is the only one you can prove by the daily newspaper." [Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering, p. 42-43]
"Sin....has the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages." [Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, p. 209]
"If God lived on earth, people would break his windows." [Yiddish Proverb in The Crown Treasury of Relevant Quotations, p. 325]
"Bendetti, a Franciscan monk, author of 'Stabat Mater,' one day was found weeping, and when asked the reason of his tears, replied, 'I weep because Love goes about unloved.'" [D. L. Moody, Notes From My Bible, p. 79]
"All three evils, sin and death and suffering, are from us, not from God; from our misuse of our free will, from our disobedience. We started it!" [Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering, p. 107] "We are sinners. Our world is a battlefield strewn with broken treaties, broken families, broken promises, broken lives, and broken hearts. We are good stuff gone bad, a defaced masterpiece, a rebellious child." [ibid., p. 116]
4. Can God overrule sin?
Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, hated him, plotted to murder him, sold him into slavery, told his father he was dead, and abandoned him to his fate. God however made him second to Pharaoh over Egypt and used him to save his family from starvation. His brothers feared that he would take vengeance on them. He gave one reason why he would not do so in these words:
"What his brothers did was genuinely significant--and hurt Joseph deeply. But Joseph had eyes to see that God was also at work, and that His purposes had been fulfilled not just in spite of his brothers, but even through their actions!" [Sinclair B. Ferguson, A Heart for God, p. 135]
The fact that Peter says Christ was "delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" shows that "it has now become the habit of the Apostle's mind to trace the working of a divine purpose, which men, even when they are most bent on thwarting it, are unconsciously fulfilling. In chap. i.16, he had seen that purpose in the treachery of Judas; he sees it now in the malignant injustice of priests and people." [E. H. Plumptre, "The Acts of the Apostles," Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible VII p. 11]
"The wicked's intense rage carries on God's decree against their wills; for while they sit back- ward to his command, they row forward to his decree." [John Trapp, A Commentary or Expos- ition Upon All the Books of the New Testament, p. 425]
"Neither God's designing it from eternity, nor his bringing good out of it to eternity, would in the least excuse their sin; for it was their voluntary act and deed, from a principle morally evil, and therefore 'they were wicked hands with which you have crucified and slain him.'" [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible VI, p. 22]
"The sentence which Jesus' human judges passed upon Him and His human executioners carried out has been reversed, Peter asserts, by a higher court. They put Him to death, but God raised Him up..." [F. F. Bruce, "Commentary on the Book of the Acts," The New International Commentary on the New Testament, p. 70-71]
The greatest tragedy in the world, the death of Christ, is also the greatest blessing in the world! It is the way sinners are saved! God can turn the worst into the best!
"Let us be content that God should rule the world; learn to acquiesce in His will, and submit to His providence." [Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, p. 125]
5. Does God love me?
A woman who had lived her life totally without reference to God was told by a doctor that her daughter, who had been injured in an automobile accident, would probably never come out of the coma and could quite possibly remain a "vegetable" the rest of her life. The woman said, "I walked out of the hospital and across the street to a bar and got totally zonkered. Then I got into my car and drove home, weeping the whole way. When I got in my driveway, I turned off the engine and began to curse God. I used every bit of vile language I knew, and I knew a lot. After about a half hour I was totally drained. And in the silence I heard a voice...and the voice said, 'That is the first time you have ever spoken to Me, and I love you.'" [Stephen Brown, If God Is in Charge, p. 15]
"The reason the mass of men fear God, and at bottom dislike Him, is because they rather dis- trust His heart, and fancy Him all brain like a watch." [Herman Melville quoted in Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God, p. 54]
"Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man." [Oswald Chambers, Disciples Indeed, p. 12]
I John 3:16
"It is quite natural (but wrong) to think that we have to become worthy in order for God to accept us. This harmful perception keeps people from coming to Christ, for it leads them to believe that He died for some sinners but not others. Homosexuals and adulterers, along with all of us, must bask in the love of God; we all must be willing to open our lives to His grace... God does not turn His back on those who believe in His Son." [Erwin W. Lutzer, Coming to Grips with Homosexuality, p. 32]
I John 4:16
"How you view God determines the quality and style of your Christian experience. Many Christians spend much of their lives paralyzed because, although they have trusted Christ as Savior, they have never really seen what His sacrifice teaches us about the character of God. He gave His Son...because He loves us. He thereby proves His grace. Do you know...God, in this way?" [Sinclair Ferguson, A Heart for God, p. 102]
I John 4:19
"Let not any hard dealing make you mistake your Father's affection.... It is a bitter cup, but He is still my Father." [The Complete Works of Thomas Manton IV, p. 32]
"The people of God have ground for cheerfulness. They are justified and adopted, and this creates...music within, whatever storms are without." [Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, p. 14]
6. Does suffering have a purpose?
"God has many angels who do His errands and summon men to Him, says Archer Butler; but the angel that has gathered most to the Savior's feet is the angel of sorrow." [J. D. Jones, The Gospel According to St. Mark II, p. 102]
"Perhaps we suffer so inordinately because God loves us so inordinately and is taming us. Perhaps the reason why we are sharing in a suffering we do not understand is because we are the objects of a love we do not understand." [Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering, p. 78]
"Blessed is that hour of holy desperation when a man...moves out of the wreck of himself into Christ." [Vance Havner, Day By Day, p. 120]
II Corinthians 1:3,4
"I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depression. I know the borders of despair and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone. But hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their deep despondency. So I believe that the darkest and most dreadful experience of a child of God will help him...if he will but follow Christ." [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XXXII, 1886, p. 344]
"Adversity introduces a man to himself." [Anonymous in Carl Hermann Voss, Quotations of Courage and Vision, p. 14]
"Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure." [William Saroyan in Laurence Peter, Peter's Quotations, p. 188]
"...I remembered one of my friends at Yale: a Christian who struggled heroically with his homo- sexual nature. He could never remember a time when he had been attracted to girls. He had found himself falling in love with males since childhood. He had never acted out his desires. He had done nothing to encourage them. He did not want to be homosexual. He would have given anything to change his pattern of sexual attraction, but he knew little of the Holy Spirit's power to do this. I was an atheist at the time. He made all of his agony into material for Christian witness, telling us why he could not deny his Savior by following his desires. I found his account of his struggles deeply moving. He is part of the reason I am a Christian today." [Richard Lovelace, "An Uncomfortable Issue," Charisma, (March 1985), p. 9]
Whenever I grow discouraged, I have evidence that I am doubting that God is in charge of my life, that He loves me, that He intends to do me good, and that He intends to bless others through me.
7. Can God bring good out of trouble?
"Hurt often must come before healing." [Vance Havner, Day By Day, p. 145]
"...Trial is not only to approve, but to improve..." [The Complete Works of Thomas Manton IV, p. 31]
"The tears of the godly are sweeter than the triumph of the wicked." [Thomas Watson, Sermons, p. 21]
"A devout Christian young man lamented that he just couldn't let go of bitterness he felt about certain mental wounds he had suffered years earlier. He could quote Scriptures about how he should forgive, but he still didn't feel forgiving. He had prayed repeatedly, 'Thank you God, for letting such-and-such happen in my life.' Still, he didn't feel thankful. Then he used the idea that one picture is worth a thousand words. He pictured the wrongs done to him as gashes cutting deeply into his body. Then he imagined himself to be a giant key, and those gashes took on new meaning. They became notches precisely machined along the edge of the key to make it uniquely useful. God could use him as a tool to fit locks that no other key could budge. The locks represented bitterness, fear, and discouragement in the minds of other people. Now he, the notched key, could understand them. The hurts in his life had made him useful to other people's lives. He wept and laughed as he visualized God's huge hands turning him, the key, in those locks and freeing others from their emotional prisons." [Dennis Gibson, The Strong-Willed Adult, p. 82-83]
II Corinthians 4:17
"Remember St. Teresa's bold saying that from heaven the most miserable earthly life will look like one bad night in an inconvenient hotel!" [Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering, p. 139]
"God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him." [Jurgen Moltmann quoted in Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God, p. 100]
"...The Creator has so fashioned this universe that the best can emerge from the worst. Where forest fires once raged, jack pines and birches now thrive. The stubborn cones of jack pine often remain tightly closed, withholding their seeds from the soil until fire forces them open. As a consequence, fire has given some jack pines their only chance to get started on the earth. White birch crave open places where they can get light and air for growth. Fire burns such openings into the forest and gives white birches their opportunity. During World War II ninety-five types of flowers and shrubs unknown for decades were found in London, in holes where nitrates from bursting and burning bombs had enriched the soil. Seeds of grain are freed to multiply in the soil when the wind has whipped them or the threshing machine has threshed them. The pearl in an oyster is formed when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, causes the oyster to secrete a soothing substance around the aggravation. The secretion becomes a jewel. A moth's wings are strengthened for flight when the creature struggles to get free of its imprisoning cocoon; no struggle, no strength. Nature is rife with trouble that ends in blessing. One of the big assurances that this created world offers us is that trouble can be made to serve high purposes." [Harold Kohn, Pathways to Understanding, p. 76]
8. Should God's children shun self-pity?
"Self-pity is a fertile seed-bed, where homosexual temptation flourishes with deep roots which are not easy to pull up." [Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love, p. 55] "...The regrets and longing for something you don't or can't have may...flood suddenly in and swamp your emotions. Then with the longing comes the imagining, and then the accepting and relishing what you imagine, and then the sly search for fuel to feed these thoughts, and then maybe some attempt at realizing them in action..." [ibid., p. 53-54]
"Why do we shrink from great waters--without them we cannot see great wonders. Shallow water Christians see but few wonders." [Gems From Bishop Taylor Smith's Bible, p. 31]
"If...we can recognize the pain that we must endure as wind in our sails, we will use the agony rather than curse it." [Robert A. Williams, Journey Through Grief, p. 54]
"The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well." [H. T. Leslie in Laurence Peter, Peter's Quotations, p. 306]
"We may think that...severity is inconsistent with...God's...compassion. ...That is because we do not appreciate how seriously God loves us, and how determined He is that we should have His best, even if it means pain." [Sinclair B. Ferguson, A Heart for God, p. 141]
"Because sin deserves death and we are all sinners,...all our mercies are undeserved mercies. Any apparent unfairness in God's treatment of us arises not because some have too much punish- ment, but because some of us appear to have too little. None of us will ever receive harsher judgment than we deserve.... The marvel is, in the biblical view, not that men die for their sins, but that we remain alive in spite of them." [John W. Wenham, The Goodness of God, p. 70]
9. What should I then do?
Why is it so easy to complain, so hard to rejoice? "Most of us can remember how...the scraped knee may have gotten us...attention from a...parent. The way our brain...operates may result in such close association of self-pity with the gratification of being cared for, that we may actually enjoy...self-pity. Some people...actually incur pain in order to have something about which to feel sorry for themselves.... Mature adults...try to rectify things that have gone wrong instead of...pitying themselves..." [Abraham Twerski, When Do the Good Things Start?, p. 20]
"God has given us the dignity of choice, a free choice, to accept or reject a relationship with Him. Our choice will have real consequences. We can spend our lives walking with God or running from Him. We can invest our short time here blaming God or being healed by Him.... What will you choose?" [R. Scott Richards, Myths the World Taught Me, p. 44]
"I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped." [Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky in The Portable Curmudgeon, p. 189]
"I feel a very unusual sensation--if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude." [Benjamin Disraeli in ibid., p. 125]
"When God is at the center of things, worship inevitably follows. Where there is no spirit of worship, there God has been dethroned and displaced." [Sinclair B. Ferguson, A Heart for God, p. 150]
"Cultivation of a thankful spirit, even in the face of personal disappointment, is one of the most important goals a man can have. A person can be submissive in his behavior without being sub- missive in his heart.... Learning to be thankful in all...situations will really help to develop the kind of submission that is pleasing to the Lord. It doesn't come easily, but the Lord will help you if you ask Him." [Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making and the Will of God, p. 397]
I Thessalonians 5:18
The praise to which God's Word calls us is not a superficial barrage of words, but a deep sense of gratitude based on what God is like and what He has already done for us. As faith thinks on these things, true thanksgiving wells up within the soul. This is not always immediate, and faith may often be required to fight its way through a jungle of crippling doubts, negative feelings, and external problems until it has that clear vision of God and His grace which prompts true praise (see, for example, Psalm 13:1-6). When this true praise finally bursts forth, it creates altered states of mind. Guilt, fear, anger, self-pity, suspicion, resentment, and bitterness are all overthrown; and the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control which are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) begin to grow in their place.
10. How can I live this life of praise?
Dr. John Claypool lost his young daughter to leukemia. As he watched his little girl suffer, he could see no reason for what was happening to her. He understood how a man could turn against God and at times was not far from doing so himself. But he did not succumb. Instead he found, "...If we are willing, the experience of grief can deepen and widen our ability to participate in life. We can become more grateful for the gifts we have been given, more open-handed in our handling of the events of life, more sensitive to the whole mysterious process of life, and more trusting in our adventure with God." [John Claypool, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, p. 103]
"In hours of pain and grief
We learn in Him unfaltering faith and trust,
Only because we will and not because we must."
[W. O. Carver, The Self-Interpretation of Jesus, p. 94]
"Grace's worst is better than the world's best..." [The Complete Works of Thomas Manton IV, p. 23]
"Two children were playing on a hillside, when they noticed the hour was nearing sunset, and one said wonderingly: 'See how far the sun has gone! A little while ago it was right over that tree, and now it is low down in the sky.' 'Only it isn't the sun that moves; it's the earth. You know, Father told us,' said the other. The first one shook his head. The sun did move, for he had seen it, and the earth did not move for he had been standing on it all the time. 'I know what I see,' he said triumphantly. 'And I believe Father,' said his brother. So mankind divides today--some accepting only what their senses reveal to them, the others believing the Word of God." [Walter B. Knight, Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations, p. 184]
"A grief accepted loses most of its power to sadden, and all its power to perturb. It is not outward calamities, but a rebellious will that troubles us." [Alexander Maclaren in Robert Williams, Journey Through Grief, p. 27]
"It is not miserable to be blind; it is miserable to be incapable of enduring blindness." [John Milton in Carl Hermann Voss, Quotations of Courage and Vision, p. 16]
W. R. Maltby wrote, "In the sermon on the mount, Jesus promised His disciples three things --that they would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and that they would get into trouble. They did get into trouble, and found, to their surprise, that they were not afraid. They were absurdly happy, for they laughed over their own troubles, and only cried over other peoples'." [in Leslie Weatherhead, Jesus and Ourselves, p. 253]
"Was His head crowned with thorns, and do we think to be crowned with roses?" [Thomas Watson, A Divine Cordial, p. 21]
"God is the Creator of the universe, and the comforter of the sorrowing." [Thomas Binney in Theodore L. Cuyler, Recollections of a Long Life: An Autobiography, p. 171]
MY EXPERIENCE WORKING STEP 3
It is important to remember in times of temptation that homosexuality does bring suffering. I am still not fully immune to the siren songs of sin. There are times of intense loneliness when I hear the whisper, "I am your only chance for love. Yield or you will be forever alone." There are times when I hear the promise, "I can ease your pain and banish the hurt." Then it is vital to remember the pain homosexuality has caused me in the past that I may discern the lie it tells me now.
I need to remember how homosexuality took my self-respect and gave me guilt, took my honor and gave me shame, took my honesty and gave me a double life, took my gentleness and made me an angry man. I need to remember that it led me to betray my God, my wife, my children, my friends, all those who trusted me. I need to remember how it promised relief but gave only pain; promised love but gave only lust and loneliness. I need to remember how it robbed me of my reputation, my family, my friends, and almost destroyed my sanity and my life.
But it is also important to remember that God does bring good out of trouble. Otherwise sorrow will swallow me up and give fresh power to temptation. I need to remember that, just as physi- cal pain warns the body to get out of harm's way, so emotional pain is God's "early warning system" crying, "This is not the way. Walk ye not in it." By it He positions me for grace. Only those who labor and are heavy laden will come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28-30). He does not delight in the pain or the sin which is its source. He does overrule so as to bring good out of all our troubles as we walk with Him.
This good, for me, has meant a new appreciation of God's love and grace, a new tenderness toward all who struggle with any sin, and the realization that the highway of holiness cannot be traveled alone. We must walk it in fellowship with, and by the help of, God's people. It has meant a new ministry with those who struggle with that which brought my pain and the joy of seeing them find hope and gain freedom. Out of my pain has come a closer walk with God, ever-increasing freedom, new strength and vulnerability, the ability to help others, and perhaps the beginnings of wisdom! These make it all worthwhile.
HOW YOU CAN WORK STEP 3
1) Write out all the ways you know homosexuality has caused you pain in your journal. Then write all the ways God has or can bring good out of these troubles. Share what you have written with your step coach and begin, by faith, to praise God for the blessings which are or will be yours.
2) Read aloud Psalm 103 every morning when you awake and every evening before you go to sleep, and praise God for His loving, gracious sovereignty over all that comes to you.
3) Listen to the tape Good? Out of this Mess? and read the brochure Turning Loss Into Profit listed under "STEP 3" on the "HA Book Ministry" list. Read Experience, Strength and Hope up to Step 4 while continuing to work in your workbook. Ask your step coach to recommend a good book from the "HA Book Ministry" list which he believes will help you with Steps 1-7 and begin reading it. Journal what you learn from all this and share your findings with your step coach.
4) Memorize one of the verses you found helpful in this chapter.
What did I do to deserve this?
Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation!
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.
"Yuck" says her daughter.
"How about a couple raw eggs?"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"
"Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies, "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
I have lost track of the times I have tried to change. Of the times I repented, only to fall again. I'm sure is more than one reason for that. Here are a few:
1) I give up too easily. Not just on this issue, but across the board.
2) I have never had the right view of God, nor believed enough in His love
3) I got too focused on the gay issue, and it isn't the main issue - the main issue is getting the right relationship with God.
There may be others, but those are forefront in my mind when I look at how terribly I have done in this area. Another one has come to mind after something my friend said recently. I don't realize what deliverance looks like.
I wish God would just remove the desires and temptations, but He doesn't, but that pretty much is the case with any sin. The thing is, the devil fights unfairly, and he knows what areas are weak for us, and just because we want to give up a sin, doesn't mean he will stop tempting us to do it with all he has got. I know there is a wide range of opinion on Christians drinking alcoholic beverages. I still believe it is something Christians should not do, but unless they are getting drunk and hanging out in bars, I'm not going to condemn them for it, but for me, it is wrong. Oddly enough though, its not a temptation to drink, or to smoke. Why? Because I'm not even interested in doing so. But porn, lusting after other guys, sex with other guys....... I am all too interested in doing so, so even when I am trying to serve God, the devil is going to tempt me in that area, because I am weak there and have fallen many times before. Alcohol, smoking, even drugs? No contest, no weakness, no temptation.
I have been guilty of giving in to temptation too easily. Oh, there were times I fought it harder than others, but overall, I gave in too easily, didn't try for the "way of escape." A large part of that, I believe, is because in my eyes, I wasn't delivered. If I was, it wouldn't be so hard to fight it, yet that is why it is temptation..... guess I don't always think about these things enough.
The tough reality is that I will most likely be attracted to other guys for the rest of my life. I will most likely be tempted to lust, use porn, and have sex with other guys for the rest of my life. It sounds daunting and discouraging, but if it wasn't that, it would be something else. The devil fights us all with something, and though mine seems bigger and more difficult than a lot of things, I'm sure there are worse things.
I am becoming more and more convinced that the answer lies in having a real relationship with God, something I didn‘t have for most of my life. The closer relationship I have with God, the more delivered I will be.