Isaiah, part two

I am incredibly, incredibly sheltered. I’ve been working on this. I’m so happy and thankful that I’m able to teach and encourage and grow alongside my fellow believers, but the main purpose I want to serve in life is to be able to reach beyond the walls of my church and to introduce those who aren’t walking with God to His life-wrecking love. It’s not life-changing, that phrase doesn’t even come near close enough. God’s love will wreck you in the best and most absolute way possible. It will derail so much about what you thought you knew, it will break down so many strongholds of pain and struggle inside you, and it will give you strength where once existed only weakness, love where existed only hate, and peace where existed only chaos. It’s my heart to play a role in helping those who don’t know this love to experience it, because I know the miracle work the love of God has done in my life and I want everyone to be able to experience the same thing.

But there’s no doubt about it, I am incredibly sheltered. I know much of God’s call on my life right now pertains to the building up of believers and to being a worship leader, but I also know that every time I’ve stepped out in faith to speak to people outside the church about Jesus that something magical has happened. It’s something I want to grow into more and more.

I say all of this because today is a day known as National Coming Out Day. This is the 28th anniversary of the day that encourages those in the LGBTQ community to come out and publicly embrace their lifestyle. In my experience, I don’t know that there’s a more divisive issue between the modern church and the younger generations than that of homosexuality. It is the fork in the road where we part ways. I know that for a fact. I have friends who aren’t believers who respect me, who probably even admire my life of faith, but when we get to this issue they just shake their heads and walk away. It’s the line in the sand between us.

Here’s the funny thing. I didn’t know today was National Coming Out Day, and here’s the verse from Isaiah I was going to write about today. Let’s just read it together.

Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?

I want to talk about identity tonight. There’s an immense amount of rest when you believe, as I do, that we are created by God. I’m serious, there’s a freedom in that knowledge that flows through every molecule of my being. It’s not an easy place to get to. We want so badly to rage against the idea of having a creator because I think we feel as if it robs us of our uniqueness. I want to be the sum of my choices, not the sum of the design of God.

Well, there’s good and bad news. I can be the sum of my choices. I can reject God’s design and substitute my own. That’ll work to a certain degree, but it’ll never fully succeed because I’m trying to be something I wasn’t created to be.

Take me, for example. I’m not a tough guy. But, I could get myself worked up, go and get in someone’s face, could probably even bring myself to punch them if I really was in a bad place in my mind. I could be a tough guy, if only for a moment. Know what I would do after that? Like, guaranteed, know what I would do? I would go somewhere quiet and cry. Because I’m not a tough guy. It’s not how I’m made. The thought of hurting someone else horrifies me. But God gives us free will, just like the verse says, if we want to look out at our creator and tell Him that He’s wrong about us and we’re right, He’ll let us do it. It’s a goofy scenario, especially when you really picture this work of art, like a painting, start telling the painter that the painter’s wrong and the painting is actually something else entirely.

As I really dig deep into who I am, I take comfort in the fact that God is a super weird dude. He’s so creative, so incredibly varied, we really are his master works of art. I am unique, because God lovingly crafted me to be unique. He doesn’t want robots and He doesn’t want zombies, He wants a unique people who all bring their own special traits and characteristics to the table. I’m so thankful for that, because I deeply value my individuality and my uniqueness.

Of course, none of what I’m saying is going to matter to someone who believes a person is born gay. Honestly, what I don’t expect to do here tonight is to change someone’s mind about homosexuality. What I do want to do, in the off chance that someone who either is LGBTQ or supports them is reading, is just say something really quick. I think you’d be surprised at just how close together our hearts are on the matter of your identity and who you are. First of all, I love you with all of my heart, and there’s not even an ounce of hatred in me towards you. I know there are supposed Christians out there who proclaim to hate homosexuals or who proclaim that God hates homosexuals and I’m telling you right now, those people don’t represent the same God that I do.

I read something a friend of mine wrote earlier today voicing their support of the LGBTQ community. Truly, it was beautifully written, and a portrait of a loving heart that I’m proud to know. It was a call for empathy over judgment. I’m not sure if they’d believe me or not, but I echo the sentiment. My desire for LGBTQ people is for them to come to know who God made them to be. I understand that this desire likely offends them, as it suggests to them that I don’t believe they were made to be LGBTQ. The fact is, I don’t believe that, because I don’t believe that God creates people with an identity contrary to His word. And while certainly it is not a popular belief to hold or voice outside the Christian faith (and sometimes not even inside the faith!), I want to see those who identify as LGBTQ come to a place where they learn what God’s vision for their lives is. Why do I want this? Why should we as Christians care? Because we should want every person, be they L G B T Q or anything in between, to experience what we’ve experienced with God. I’m sorry that feels like judgment to those people, I really am, because what it actually is, is love. I love them enough to want them to know the crazy deep embrace of God, the rush of power and might that comes along with living within His will for your life. I just want them to feel His love, because once you experience that love nothing else really matters anymore.

I think we’re addressing this issue wrong as Christians. I think we’re addressing a lot of issues wrong these days as Christians, if I’m just being completely honest. Our heart on this matter should be one of overwhelming love. Overwhelming. A love so deep that we can’t stop praying for these people, a love so persistent that we can’t stop inviting them to church, that we can’t stop reminding them that God loves them dearly and deeply and that He intricately designed every aspect of them when they were still in their mother’s womb. A love so deep that we should not care one bit that they believe us to be haters, because we’ll endure the label if it means getting a chance to let them know that God loves them so much, and He desires to know them on a personal level, and that if they’d only give Him a chance He’d be so excited to come in and just wreck their lives with love. I’m okay being misunderstood, because I stand on faith that the love of God shines through when I talk to people about stuff like this. I stand on faith that even if today these words were met with disdain or anger, that a seed has been planted, and that God is doing a work in that person. And I stand on faith that the love of God has never once met an obstacle it can not overcome.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I’m asking that you show people who they are.  I’m not limiting this to just the LGBTQ community, I’m asking that you do this for all of us.  Identity is a word that’s just been heavy on my heart lately, Lord, and I ask that tonight as we sleep you show us our truest and most absolute identities.  We know what we say about ourselves, and now I’m asking that you would show us what you say about us.  God, I ask that you bless and keep the LGBTQ community, I know for a fact that you love them deeply.  I ask that you show them your love in a special way, that you draw them into a closer relationship with you.  For those who see my words today about homosexuality as hate, God, I just ask that you bless them.  Just bless them.  Even if they curse at your people, I would ask that you would bless them in return.  Confound them with your overwhelming love.  Thank you for truth, Jesus, and thank you that truth never changes.  In your precious name I pray, amen.

I love you guys!  I hope the week is treating you well so far and that God’s love is just ever present in your lives right now.

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