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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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It was late evening, or early morning, I can’t remember now. I was lying in bed, fighting off the urge to step outside for a smoke, while my thoughts circled in what felt like a pool of darkness. It always happened this way. First the questioning of myself, then the need to push the questions away, the need to fight my way out of the hell I’d been masking.
Are you real? If you’re there, why did you make me this way?
I’d ask, through tears.
How could you? Why would you place this desire within me, to turn around and scold me for satisfying it? I hate you. But I don’t want to. If you’re truly there . . . please, please, take this away from me.
All those nights wondering, where is the light, oh, where is the light.
Struggling with the weight of homosexuality, of loving someone of the same gender, of being criticized and questioned and doubted, and believing that, if God were real, He must truly hate me to intentionally create me with a heart that would never fully know or love itself. It had become too much. This was my darkest moment. But when I reflect, I don’t see the crippling blackness of night. Instead, I see the holes that my prayers were poking into the sky, letting the light come in.
The proof of God, of His immaculate love, can be found within the nicotine I’d desperately inhale at 3am on my parent’s front lawn. The proof of God’s longing for me can be found within old tousled sheets, while I hung my legs over the edge of the bed with my head in my hands. The evidence of His mercy can be found amidst my relentless desire to fill, fill, fill my broken, hurting soul. The evidence of His unmatchable brightness can be found within the depths of my darkest thoughts—because it’s there that He found me, it’s there that He loved me. He did not come for me because I turned to Him. He did not come for me because I liked or loved Him—but because He saw me, He loved me. When I could barely see, or love myself, He turned to me with desire.
Oftentimes, we must know the darkest of nights to understand the true brightness of day. And it’s the same for knowing God. It’s the same for knowing that we are known by God. If it were not for the depth of my sin, I would not know the depth of His love. If it were not for the weight of my desperation, I would not know the weightlessness of freedom. If it were not for the measure I took to satisfy every desire, I would not have come to realize that nothing fills, nothing satisfies, aside from the love of Christ.
When I look back, I recognize the desolation, and if I ponder, I can even feel the same weight. But I no longer identify with my hopelessness, my lack of understanding, knowing, or loving the woman He intentionally created, dusted off, and made whole. The Lord, in all His goodness, saved me then, and continues to save me time and time again when doubt attempts to creep in.
This is the God I know:
The God of continual saving. The God of continual, unearned mercy. The God of peace. The God of love so overwhelming that I am drawn to tears. The God that saw me, knew me, and came for me. The God that never asked me to change, but showed me who I was meant to be, and poured love back into my heart for myself and for Him.
He didn’t just save me, pull me out of the sea, and leave me to wipe myself off and learn how to walk—He sent me a new dawn. Not just one dawn, but many, saving me daily. He’s saved my thoughts from going where it’s dangerous to go. He’s saved my future from letting my past dictate it. But most importantly, He’s saved my heart by giving me a love that has never left me unsatisfied. Morning after morning, the dawn fills my sky.
In addition to this written piece, we wanted to release a RealTalk video that would speak directly to those who identify as gay or are struggling with the idea that they might be gay. However, we realized that this topic could not be addressed properly in a one-to-two-minute video on social media.
Here’s what we really want you to know: If you identify as gay, the Lord deeply loves you, and if you know someone who identifies as gay, the Lord deeply loves them, too. Also, if you identify as gay, or have struggled with the idea that you might be gay, and you want to know Jesus, we want you to know that you CAN know Him. He isn’t pushing you away because of how you identify, and neither are we. We love you, and we pray that you feel welcome in our church and welcomed into the family of God. If you’d like to speak to someone further about this, send us an e-mail to RealTalk@CalvaryFTL.org.