Written by H.Y, Singapore
Yes, you read that right. It sounded ridiculous—even sadistic—to me as well, when my friend said a similar prayer years ago. But today, these seven precious words have taken on a new meaning for me.
Experiencing and resisting same-sex attraction (SSA) is probably the hardest battle I have ever fought. While I’ve had crushes on guys as well, my attraction towards females have always been much stronger. Throughout the past seven years of resisting the temptation to act on my emotions, I’ve never understood why I had to go through this.
These were the thoughts that used to run through my mind: Doesn’t God know how disgusted I am with myself whenever I come to Him? Doesn’t He know how difficult it is for me to repeatedly turn away from my most natural attractions? If God really loved me, why didn’t He just make me normal? Why did He allow me to go through so much pain?
Even as I grappled with these questions, God used a recent infatuation I had to show Himself to me.
Succumbing to Temptation
I met her on a week-long overseas work assignment and we clicked instantly. She was kind and took special care of me. Soon, we grew closer and started to confide in each other. We often deviated from the group to spend time together and even hung out in each other’s hotel room alone. I didn’t fully recognize my emotions then and hence, set myself up for trouble.
Perhaps it was the extended amount of time that we spent exclusively or the emotional connection we had that led me to develop feelings for her. As much as I knew my feelings were contrary to what constitutes holiness and Christ-like behavior, I couldn’t help myself. I told myself every day that I couldn’t continue indulging in my feelings, but I just kept falling helplessly into sin.
One day, God intervened and graciously used the situation for my good. At that time, I had yet to share my struggle with my mentor and friends, hence I did not have anybody to turn to. As a result, God became the only Person I could hold on to. But at the same time, I felt far too dirty and sinful for God to handle.
We Can Always Draw Near to God
However, even in the midst of my struggle, I was repeatedly reminded of what the apostle James wrote about choosing God over worldly passions. He instructs us to “resist the devil” and “come near to God” (James 4:7-8). It’s a two-pronged approach that we have to take—not an either-or approach—for it is impossible for us to turn away from sin without drawing near to God.
The apostle James also encouraged us in this: when we violently reject the devil, he flees from us. But on the other hand, when we run to God, He Himself draws near to us. That beautiful and magnificent image of God Himself being with me kept replaying in my mind.
When that realization hit me, I knew what I had to do. I had to come to God in brutal honesty, regardless of the state I was in. Humbling myself to realize that I could not do it on my own and raising the white flag in surrender was difficult, but I knew that there was no other option for me. I had done all I could with my human strength but it still did not amount to anything. I saw my helplessness and my desperate need for God.
I remember crying out to God in frustration. I whined endlessly to God in agony. I begged Him to remove my feelings of attraction. It was in these moments of vulnerability that I realized that it is absolutely okay for me to come to our Holy God in filthy rags. In fact, just like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, He welcomes and embraces us when we come to Him in repentance—regardless of the state we are in. When we become His children, we can never be too dirty, too unholy or too distant to come back to him.
Slowly, I started to feel less alone in my struggle and I knew for certain that God was fighting alongside me. Every time I turned to him, comfort and peace, which were usually elusive to me, suddenly began to fill my heart, and I felt reassured that turning to God was the right thing to do.
I also noticed how my prayers shifted from asking God to remove the temptation to asking God for strength to make the right decisions. He became very real to me in those precious seven days when I struggled with that temptation.
God Never Abandons Us
For the first time, I was truly convinced that our Father never abandons us. Even in our times of rebellion against Him, He is never too far away for us to reach out to.
God proved to me that He provides us with the strength to obey Him, so that we can resist even the toughest temptations that we face. In Philippians 1:6, He reassures us that He is not done with us yet, and that He will complete the good work that He started in us.
Since I began this journey, I have found it easier to obey God. By actively distancing myself whenever I find myself developing feelings for other girls and being honest with God about what I’m feeling, I now struggle less to turn away from temptations and turn my heart towards God.
I still do not have an answer for why God allowed me to be attracted to both genders and am far from being immune to temptations, but God has opened my eyes to see how these encounters have become a way for Him to draw me back to Himself.
I’ve seen how weak and helpless I am in the face of sin, and how the Almighty God works even through that.
Now, I am able to truly thank God that I struggle with same-sex attraction, for if I didn’t, I wouldn’t see how God graciously provides us with His own presence and supernatural strength to fight these battles and to ultimately win the war in eternity.