During the last year the resurrection has taken on a new meaning for my life. I have come out of the closet and had to face myself in a new way that I had been reluctant and so confused that it literally took an act of God for me to understand it.
It has always a desire of mine to serve the Lord in some sort of ministry. For most of my growing up experience it was a desire to work in a more conservative branch of Christianity. My failing was that I was not able to understand myself in the unique way that God has made me, and the path that I was supposed to serve him out of. I had felt uncomfortable with my sexuality for a long time and had almost always condemned myself for it. This self-condemnation and this religious condemnation left me with one of the greatest times of difficulty during my last year at Bible school. I thought that it was impossible for me to serve God fully, due to the fact that I had attractions toward the same sex. Instead of understanding the gift of God that our sexuality is, I had thought it as the greatest darkness in my life. Ultimately, I found myself angry and depressed and unable to keep up with my studies.
After I left school, I went on a three month trip to Europe that was initially supposed to be a ministry trip, but was in reality a way to escape the problems in my life. Ultimately, I did very little ministry and made what I now know were a couple mistakes. After I came back to the States, I found myself even more burned-out than ever, and I did some serious soul-searching.
In June, I finally came out to myself and then, after talking to some of my friends about it, I told my parents. This process has been for me a personal death, burial and resurrection. The words that Jesus said in John 11:25-26 had now taken on a new meaning.
Jesus calls himself the resurrection and the life. Ultimately, in order to bring about the personal resurrection in my life, he had to put to death the old order of things. Instead of seeing the old law, which the gospels are a revolt against, I have now come to see the freedom in life, the rebirth that Jesus talks about in John 3. Self-condemnation and denial only take a person to a point of depression in which he or she can go no further. The “spiritual” resurrection that Jesus talks about takes the believer beyond this point. Christ’s calling to us is that we believe in him and live. This is the abundant life. Law only brings us to death. Love is what breathes life into our old being, and brings joy about in our lives.
David, I believe was one person who lived in denial for part of his life. Suppressing his bisexual desires that he had for people, he eventually was given over to a polygamous form of promiscuity in which he had multiple wives. This I believe was to make up for the longing that he felt for the right man that he could feel “whole” with. Ultimately, the cover-up of his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah led him to the point of no return. He had to face the reality of who he was: a flawed human being who loved God. This was his resurrection, the resurrection into the love of God. Only God could breathe that resurrection into his life, and make him face his sin and his own identity. The fact is that God looked at him not for his sin or for his sexual identity, but for the heart that David had for God. It is true as Peter says, “That God is no respecter of persons.” God looks at our hearts and reads the intentions in our lives.
1 Corinthians 13 teaches us that what is important in a Christian’s life is to have love. Truly, I don’t believe it’s important who we give that love to, but that we have an unconditional love towards the mate that we have and that love is returned. God’s love leads one to a point of difficult simplicity, not found in law or in “sacrifice,” but in trying to seek God’s heart. This is the why it is said that we must come like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.
The resurrection brings us to the point where we admit our own personal hell and are brought up to it in life. This is the freedom of the kingdom of God. Instead of following a multitude of rules and regulations and living out of fear to a God of judgement, we now are left to embrace the God of love that casts out all fear. It is like a storm giving way into an embracing rainbow or night giving way to day. In this way we can rise again to our feet, not under the shackles of legalism, but under the pure joy of loving and serving God.
The resurrection takes us to a point of honesty, frees us from our own law and sets us forward to serve God. This service and worship of God is one in which we no longer tremble at his face, but embrace the Jesus of the Bible in a gift of love. This is a service to those around us, either feeding the hungry, praying for the sick or listening to the problems of others. This is true humility. This is life without a mask. This is serving God just as we are and without one plea. It is only there that our lives can contain the spark of true joy, and at that point that God’s spirit of love continues to move in us.
God gives his love to us and all that God desires is that we love him as we are. Isn’t this the greatest gift in the world that we don’t have to be anything else than we are to the Creator, but a child of God? God knows that we are often broken, fractured children riddled with faults and riddled with shame. Instead, God takes us as we are into his arms and tells us that we are his own.
A graduate student at Chapman University, Daniel Miess has been published in the Harbinger Asylum, The Henniker Review, Smoky Quartz, The Mud Chronicles: A New England Anthology, Anastamos: Library Edition, and Adelaide Independent Literary Magazine. He earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from New England College.