I do not know where people have gotten the idea that life is supposed to be easy. Perhaps it is from fairy tale endings that we begin to believe that there is an answer out there that will take all the pain away, that life should make sense, and that things will all work out in the end. Christ himself fully embraced the painful death that he would face and spoke of it often. The Gospel of John records one such instance with these concluding words:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 ESV)
Jesus meant that we are not only to find our identity in him and the work that he would do, but that we are co-heirs with him as his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:5-19).
In his book, Wesley Hill, a celibate gay Christian, shares his struggle with sin and how the Bible gives hope, not condemnation for people who share his struggle. With scholarly dexterity he fleshes out the biblical teaching , which is offensive to conservatives and liberals alike: that homosexual activity is sinful, but that the homosexual is like any other sinner at the mercy of the grace of God and in no way out of His reach.
Before you count yourself out because you are not gay, each of us are in this with him. While there is very identifiably unique pain that comes from having to resist what seems to come so naturally, Hill rightly connects his struggle with that of every Christian in working to stay faithful to the call of Christ. He challenges the idea that we are guaranteed sexual fulfillment and acknowledges that most people, gay and straight, struggle with temptation to be unfaithful to their spouse and to look beyond their vows for comfort. None of us are immune to sexual sin.
The glory of God and the strength of his redeeming work is not put down at the threshold of sexual orientation or indesgression, but recognizes every sin as being worthy of death and in need of cleansing. In intelligent and heartfelt prose, Wesley shares about the loneliness, frustration, and despair that he feels in his sin and the hope that he shares with every Christian which is grounded in the atoning work of Christ.
Nearly two thousand years ago, Good Friday gave way to Easter Sunday, and at the end of history, when Jesus appears, death will give way to resurrection on a cosmic scale and the old creation will be freed from its bondage to decay as the new is ushered in. On that day there will be no more loneliness. The wounds will be healed. I expect to stand with Henri Nouwen [a celibate gay Catholic priest] at the resurrection and marvel that neither of us is homosexual anymore, that we both–together with every other homosexual Christian [and might I include every Christian]–are whole and complete in the fellowship of the redeemed, finally at home with the Father.
This is a must-read for any Christian who knows someone who is gay, but who cannot seem to face how God could love and include them. It is a book can be challenging for any person who is gay and wanting to know how they can learn to be faithful to his design. It is a challenge for any Christian who has struggled with sexual sin of any kind, because it presents the truth of who we are in Christ.
This is a book for every Christian who struggles with sin; we all stand in judgment if it were not for Christ.