Hello friends! Welcome back to another episode of “Walking with Same-sex Attracted Friends”. Today, we will be embarking on a journey of a personal story from Karen Ho and her experience with her greatest love. Before we begin, here’s a question to ponder upon: who is your greatest love? Someone who you don’t think you’d be able to live without. Many times, we rely on the love of our family, friends, people that we can physically see and confide in, however, were they ever truly enough? Let these questions sink in as we listen to the story of our friend, Karen.
It was just another ordinary day where I was with my friend Cecilia in the library. As I watched her tackle her homework, out of the blue, Cecilia said, “Karen, I got a boyfriend.”
“Oh, okay,” I replied, not knowing how to respond. As the silence lengthened, there was a strong urge burdening me to tell her about my first relationship. Yet, excuses and doubts crept up in my mind, afraid that she would think I was just lonely and in need of attention, or that she may become wary of me, thinking I was trying to say that I was interested in her. Was it worth putting our friendship at stake because of a silly impulse? But if this was from God and I decided not to do it, I would miss out on the opportunity to be a blessing.
Oh, what strange ways God works through. What did God want from me, and did it require me to put my heart out there like a fool? Nonetheless, unable to hold it in any longer, I blurted out, “I was in a lesbian relationship in secondary school, but that was a long time ago.” At that moment, Cecilia met my gaze, and I noticed a flash of curious realisation in her eyes, still shrouded in caution, like a puppy realising that it just might be safe after all. In a timid voice, she revealed that the boyfriend she was talking about wasn’t a boy, but a girl.
A peep of Christ’s wisdom unveiled itself to me. Cecilia went on to reveal that she had been feeling terribly guilty about it and that she felt unworthy to be in the presence of God. The previous two Sundays, she would go to church but sit outside the hall until the service was over, too guilty to enter the presence of the Lord. In that moment, I knew why the Lord has grown this particular revelation in me, the purpose of the fruit of my own travail, why the Lord had brought me to her. These are the lengths Jesus would go to to tell somebody He loves her.
“You know, I do a lot of things that make my father angry,” I told her. “I keep coming back late. I don’t spend much time at home. I’m not a great daughter. But what would be worse than these things is if I were to stop talking to Him altogether. Nothing beats the relationship. No matter what you do, it isn’t as heartbreaking to God as cutting off your relationship with Him.”
Yes, friends, because ultimately, Christianity is not just a religion, it’s not about coming to church and undergoing the rituals, but it is a relationship – a personal relationship with the Lord. And nothing would hurt Him more than if you stopped confiding and relying on Him.
Tears welled up in her eyes and I could feel Jesus’ love for her. He brought me into her life by a stroke of chance, all so that I could tell her that He loved her when she couldn’t hear it herself.
I was in a lesbian relationship when I came to Christ. As I watched everyone lift their hands high in worship, I realised that they actually knew God. I realised that I had been living a lie, calling myself “Christian” when I didn’t actually know God at all. I never prayed earnestly, neither have I read the Bible nor scarcely even thought of Him as a real being. That night, I gave myself to Christ in tears, wanting nothing more than to know Him. The season that followed was peppered with joyful fasting, where I spent my recess breaks reading the Word. No one at church spoke to me about my relationship. They must have known, since my girlfriend and I attended church and hung out with the cell group together. Years later, however, I found out that my cell group leader had told the other youths that “If you’re wondering about Karen, just give her time.” Because of that, I was given the space to experience the love of God unhindered. I pursued Him with joy and as I pursued God, the desire of sin began to fall away. As I read His word, revelation poured into me. Love’s edifying Word wrapped around my sins with a weighted beauty. It wasn’t the wrongful nature of sin that convicted me but rather, it was the fact that I am a temple of the Holy Spirit that lives in me. That slowly shaped my perception of life. I was undergoing a transformation, that is not about debating what I can or cannot do but experiencing what He can do. Transformation is “not I, but He”. Under the weight of His love and beauty, though, the problem spots naturally surfaced like red blisters screaming for the soothing balm of repentance.
One day, in the midst of yet another heated argument with my girlfriend, I called my cell group leader in tears. He finally said, “I think you know what you need to do.” By then, there was barely any positive feeling in the relationship to hold on to. I blamed God for a while after we broke up because it’s always more convenient to put your blame on someone who can’t fight back. But neither God nor my church had done anything more than to present me with a love that was so much greater.
A non-Christian friend told me some time back that he couldn’t comprehend why a Christian girl would refuse to date him when she had made it clear that she had feelings for him. “Amor vincit omnia,” he declared, which meant “Love conquers all”. Yes, it is true. Love conquers all. Under the light and hope of our God who is Love Himself, our First and Greatest Love, all other loves are incomparable. As for me, my life and my body are Christ’s; He has given Himself to me, and I give myself to Him.
It has been 10 years since I first encountered and truly experienced Christ’s love for me. One December, God told me not to think about boys but rather, focus on loving Him as a husband. As a husband? I was perplexed. If I loved God that much, where would I have the space for my earthly husband? And then it hit me. That was the devotion God demanded: the single-mindedness of a spouse. I was to love Him with the exclusive devotion that I would give to my future husband. Like a doe, I was to be focused completely on Him, looking neither to the left nor to the right.
But oh God, how is that possible?
There in my room, I had a vision of a wedding. In the vision, I am wearing a white dress, a white veil, with flowers in my hair and along the aisle. Jesus, the Bridegroom, stands before the altar, His eyes fixed on me, smiling. Slowly, I take one step down the aisle, and then another. And every step I take down the aisle is a step of sanctification, until at last, my life is done, and I am right in front with Jesus. He lifts my veil and I see Him face to face.
Strange. Isn’t it? To think of Jesus as our bridegroom. But Ephesians 5: 25-27, it is written that Christ has chosen the church to be His bride as He “gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This metaphorical representation of us as the church and Jesus as the Bridegroom describes the relationship Christ insists to have with us because of His great and unconditional love for us. Christ died on the cross in order to cleanse us of our sins, so that we may be holy and blameless before Him. Because He is our Greatest Love, no other love from anything or anyone can possibly measure up to his never-ending, indispensable love for us. Don’t you want to experience this sort of love? A love that will not only fill up any void in your heart but one that overflows. A love that never fails but always prevails.
Next week, we will be listening to another personal story of a brother-in-Christ, Jotham Tobiah Lim, and his journey of discovering the importance of choosing how we should live our lives. Until then, this has been Global Reachout and it has been a blessing to journey with you. Stay tuned, stay kind and have a great week!