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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Hope and Grief

‘Brothers, we do not want you to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again…’ (1 Thess. 4: 13, 14b)

Hope and Grief Photo by Daniel CJ LeeThose committed to the transformation of persons with same-gender attraction suffered a double blow this month: the advance of ‘gay marriage’ via the Supreme Court ruling and Exodus’ dissolution. Mike Huckabee said it best by quoting John 11:35: ‘Jesus wept.’  Our first honest response is to weep with Him. Our beloved lead intercessor Ann Armstrong greeted me with tears upon hearing of the Court ruling. Words failed us: knowing how hard it is today to be true to Jesus in one’s struggle, plus knowing how disorienting ‘gay marriage’ is on kids reduced us to grief.

Concerning the Court ruling, we grieve over the miscarriage of real justice. In the words of the prophet: ‘Justice is driven back and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets and honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.’ (Is. 59: 14, 15)

Obama trumpeted the victory of ‘democracy’ in the Court ruling. The opposite is true: the Court struck down the will of the people who voted for real marriage in CA. The Court advocated instead for state leaders who refused to defend Prop. 8 then voided the good efforts of those who (in the absence of CA’s DA) defended Prop. 8 against the notoriously liberal District Court. (The District Judge who struck down Prop. 8 is a gay activist. No bias there.) Justice is driven back.

We weep for CA and her good efforts to uphold marriage in the face of such powerful, irrational opposition. She has lost her right to define marriage according to the will of her citizens. Gay-defined adults celebrate in the streets while children are stripped of another layer of moral protection. Why is the Court inclined to advocate for the sexual liberties of adults (abortion and ‘gay marriage’) and blind to the violence it visits on kids, the most vulnerable? Weep over the wickedness that disguises itself as ‘justice.’

Weep more for those wounded by Exodus’ demise. A paradox: in his desire to reach self-defined gays, Alan Chambers has betrayed the very ones God called him to serve as head of Exodus. As a former Exodus president who still stands with many faithful former Exodus leaders, I grieve for all strugglers who have been stumbled by her demise. Now, in the face of ‘gay marriage’ advances and an irrational, demonic favor upon all things ‘queer’, the saints have lost one clear expression of hope. I have heard reports from therapists and pastors alike of strugglers wondering why they should even try to be true to Jesus: ‘If Exodus cannot endure the heat, how can I?’ Weep and pray for scattered sheep.

We weep over these losses and their real impact of vulnerable people. But we do not grieve in vain. Our grief is shared by the Sovereign Lord Jesus who holds the future in His wounded hands and who asks us only to enfold our grief into His.

We mourn unto Mercy Himself, and become stronger in love! Let Him break our hearts in order to create more room to contain what is in His. Could He be using the rise of wickedness to refine a people who look to Him and Him alone? We do not grieve as those who have no hope. We look to Hope alone, ‘sorrowful yet always rejoicing’ (2 Cor. 6:10).

‘You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others who are asleep but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.’ (1 Thess. 5: 5-8)

Radiant Hope

Let the afflicted hear and rejoice…Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.’ (PS 34: 2, 5)

Sunrise Photo by Elvert BarnesExodus International (North America), the once humble and fruitful expression of hope for persons with same-sex attraction, is no more. President Alan Chambers announced its closing last week. Why? Over the last several years, the very organization that coined the term ‘change is possible’ conceded the hope of change. Its salt became savorless. Exodus deteriorated and God in His mercy put her out of her misery.

Strangely, I received that morbid news amid the joyful hope of transformation. Gathering with the dozen or so ministries that make up the newly formed Restored Hope Network, I marveled at the living miracles surrounding me. These are time-tested miracles, men and women, single and married, who have emerged out of the domination of same-sex attraction. Surrendered to Christ Crucified, these wounded healers live through Him to make known His transforming power.

Many of these ministers have endured much affliction to gather and create a new network. The deceiver has worked hard to discourage and distract. And yet, here in Oklahoma City for our second annual conference, the fragrance of the Cross-centered life was evident.

No affliction, be it persecution or loss of colleagues, family members and income, has deterred us. Each stumbling block has become yet another opportunity to fall on the Rock and to break more fully. How else can He become our hope unless we are brought to the end of our own aspirations and securities?

Consider Denise who grew up under the chaotic auspice of a transgender father and who now lives to extend hope to those crying out for Jesus in their gender chaos. Or young fathers Jason and Nate (both SSA overcomers) who now lead scores of young men and women out of homosexuality. Or Jim who alongside his wife offers hope to married couples dealing honestly with one spouse’s same-sex attraction. Or Jan and Ted who lost a child to the gay lifestyle and who have now become surrogate parents to destitute ones seeking Jesus’ way in their SSA.

Consider Minister Stephen Black who was among the first to recognize the deception going on in Exodus. He lost his daughter to an unexpected death on the eve of his exit from Exodus. Like a plough crushing seed in the earth, these duo tragedies broke and reduced him to Hope alone. All year he has sown in tears yet this season, as host of our RHN conference, he is beginning to reap songs of joy.

Consider RHN’s director Anne Paulk who for years alongside her husband John embodied the hope of change (both came out of the gay lifestyle). John has since re-identified as a gay man, a decision that tore up a family. In the hope that has always sustained her, Anne is more committed than ever to make a way in the wilderness for sexually broken ones who seek Hope.

Hope has a name: Jesus Christ. Exodus faded out due to a desecration of this Hope. But Hope endures and insists on finding a people for Himself. I am grateful to stand with the Restored Hope Network as we together seek to embody and extend that Hope. Please check us out at restoredhopenetwork.org.

See darkness covers the earth, but the Lord rises upon you and the glory of the Lord appears over you…Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy.’ (IS. 60: 2, 5)


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