In recent weeks my thoughts have frequently pondered the question: What does healing look like? More specifically: What does healing look like for the homosexual struggler? Even closer to home: What does healing look like for me? I mean, after all, how will I know if I’ve arrived if I don’t know what healing looks like?
Difficult Realization 1: I will never arrive. By its nature, Christianity should be an evolving relationship with Christ. There will never be a time when I no longer need Him. In fact, I’ve observed that the most mature Christians are those who grasp just how desperately they must cling to Him in order to survive.
Difficult Realization 2: Heterosexuality does not equal healed. I know many fellow strugglers who are much more intact than their straight counterparts.
Difficult Realization 3: Although a very small number of people are instantly and miraculously delivered from same-sex desires and a greater number of people find relief over a period of time, some have journeyed for years with little or no change in their orientation. Outsiders callously point fingers and accuse them of secret sin and the need to pray harder. Others mock with “See? We told you you couldn’t change. Stop torturing yourself.”
Through the controversy, I’ve seen these lifetime strugglers press on obediently, following Christ with a courage and stamina beyond my comprehension. And I ask myself, could this be what healing looks like? Could healing simply be having one’s own identity so intertwined with Christ’s that others can’t tell where you end and He begins? Could it just be a state of being intact and whole?
There is probably not a one of us that would not give nearly anything for a normal life – some sort of heterosexual fantasy involving a nice house complete with a spouse and children. But what if healing is not about heterosexuality? What if we frustrate ourselves out of true healing because we have the wrong goal?
Daniel 3 tells the familiar story of three Hebrew men who refused to bow down and worship an idol, even when the consequence of their choice was certain death. In verse 17, the men acknowledge that God is able to deliver them from their fate. However, it is verse 18 that catches my attention. They concede that their decision to be obedient will stand even if God does not deliver them. What a commitment! They had absolutely no assurance of deliverance! They placed their faith in God Himself rather than an outcome they hoped for.
This challenges me to a similar commitment. I know that God is able to completely deliver me from homosexual desires… but if He does not, let it be known, that I will not serve other gods (my own lust, fantasies, sinful desires, etc.).
These men made the highest form of sacrifice possible. The latter part of verse 28 says they “yielded their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.” We consider them great heroes, and truly they are. The happy ending is that they did not die, but they would have been just as heroic if they did.
I think that is what healing looks like. I believe it is having integrity when I have no idea what the outcome will be. I believe it is the ability to yield up my body so as not to serve or worship any god except my own God. I believe it is maturity born out of a burning desire to live for Someone greater than myself. And, I believe it is the ability to humble myself before that One and rely on Him so heavily that others can not tell where I end and He begins.
I would like to believe I will be completely free of homosexual desires some day. Short of sounding sacrilegious in ex-gay circles… heterosexuality is not my goal. And I am coming to realize this: I am closer to healed than I have ever been with the simple freedom I have found in pursuing Christ rather than a change in sexual orientation.