Desert: The Other Side

  • Desert: The Other Side

Desert: The Other Side

Read Exodus Chapter 14
 
Ex 14:12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
 
We often have compared the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt to our escape from the slavery of homosexuality. We will do it again today. I imagine that most of us have had thoughts something like these:
 
  1. Lord, this journey is too difficult for me to handle. At least I had some measure of happiness when I was living a gay life. It seems now that all I experience is unhappiness because I can’t go back there.
  2. There was a lot of comfort in that life. I was around friends who could relate to my feelings and desires. Now, my new Christian friends don’t understand my struggle. They get impatient with me when I make a misstep.
  3. Isn’t it better to have a lifetime of satisfaction rather than continually mourning the loss of my old life? How can I live another _____ years like this?
 
Yes, those are legitimate feelings. They are natural reactions to the loss of anything which has brought us comfort in our past. Similar thoughts go through the minds of men and women who have lost a spouse or child to death. Things will never be quite the same. Those who are coming out of drug and alcohol addictions go through the same process. Somehow, men and women have to learn how to cope with the loss of something which has been meaningful in their lives.
 
As we have studied the lives of the Israelites, we have seen that their distress would have been relieved if they had continued to trust God and the leadership of Moses and Joshua. There really was a Promised Land awaiting those who were faithful to continue the trek out of Egypt and across the desert. Few were willing to stay the course.
 
When we begin to have questions like the Israelites, we have to remain strong, willing to endure whatever hardships come our way. Deserts are not easy to cross. Addictions are not easy to leave behind. Same-sex desires, whether emotional or physical, don’t automatically leave us when we begin our journey out of our slavery. But we have a Leader whose promises always are fulfilled. He has never once failed to deliver on His promises.
 
His cloud of protection will remain in place. It will shield us for as long as we stay within it. It only fails when we get up and walk out of it, or if we fail to go with it wherever it leads us. There is plenty of water and food in our desert. It may not be the kind of nourishment that we are seeking or are familiar with, but it will sustain us nonetheless. Our Provider has our lives under control. All He asks is that we trust and obey.
 
Writing personally, I am extremely happy that God didn’t answer “okay” when I asked Him to “leave me alone.” I really did that once. He could have done so, and I would have returned to Egypt and died there without hope or future. I also have not died in the desert as I believed I would. At my ripe old age, I am beginning to see the Promised Land. It is beautiful. It is exactly as God said it would be. It is and always has been attainable. But my enemy desperately tried to convince me otherwise. Allow me to paraphrase this scripture passage.
 
Lk 18:29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left (homosexuality) for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
 
Prayer: Father, forgive us when we act just like those who uttered these words in Exodus. Thank You for not abandoning us when we faltered and almost went back. Forgive those who have returned to Egypt. We grieve for them. Lead them once again out into the wilderness, which leads to a beautiful, unimaginable future. Thank You for all of the grace and mercy that has been given us.

photo credit: Beatty Nev. Scottys Castle via photopin (license)

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