This is another in a series of posts that take a lesson from the LDS Church’s (Adult) Gospel Doctrine class and present it from a gay perspective. Today’s lesson is based on Lesson #19 in the Gospel Doctrine Manual and was prepared by Trey Adams.
Mark Twain is credited with an anecdote about a woman who did not smoke, drink, nor swear but who was ill. He said in effect that she was like a sinking ship with nothing to throw overboard and therefore no way to save her from sinking.
Based on my own experience and that of many others with whom I am personally or otherwise acquainted, we end up having to cast a lot of cultural, social, and personal freight overboard in order to keep from sinking into that Hamlet-like “sea of troubles”.
“For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office ...”
I have personally had to divest myself of a lot of stuff I had accumulated over the years in order to survive unnoticed in a hostile world. I had to throw it overboard to keep from drowning in the stuff itself. Sometimes in the unloading we lose precious cargo: social and cultural stability, the love of family and friends; sometimes it’s a temporary loss, sometimes we don’t know.
More than just another discussion of Faith, today’s lesson topic should challenge us a bit to think about how we apply the very real power of Faith to fill the empty places in our social, physical, spiritual, and emotional experience . . . and in our hearts.
“As Jesus was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to Him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way.”
Like the beggar, our vision of life and our place in it can be obscured by the painful personal, social, and cultural conditions around us. We can lose focus and forget that our greatest resource lies within – our Faith in God. For some of us, it takes the sting of emotional or spiritual impoverishment to open our hearts, try our faith, and to cry out.
A few months ago, emotional (and physical) survival meant a serious unburdening of much of what I had accumulated over many years, stuff I had used to create the appearance of a fit-in life. During the process, I made the mistake of throwing my Faith in God overboard with the stuff.
Luckily, and before not too much time had elapsed, I came to realize that the God I had thrown overboard was not the true God of love – the one who is no respecter of persons, or religions, or race, or nationality . . . or sexual orientation. I had mistakenly associated God with the church that had been an integral part of my life for many years; the two, I thought, were inseparable and if one went overboard, so went the other. The real God was still in His place.
I realized that I had been a recipient of God’s grace throughout my life, including during the past several months after casting away my stuff. In fact, one such blessing came as a direct answer to my cry as I sat impoverished at the gate dividing my past from my future; he sits beside me now as I finish writing this lesson.
With faith in God we can rebuild our lives, have a better outlook and view of the future, find courage, strength, self-assurance and hope. Are we all not beggars at the gate after all? “What do you want [Him] to do for you?”
Withered leaves and barren boughs;
Love cut away the failing part,
Clave living grafts of Faith and Hope,
Brought healing to a blighted heart.
Winter chill and Spring rebirth;
Love’s husbandry – atoning pain.
Buds opening on fruitful boughs
Have blossomed into Hope again.
Don’t forget to pray.
Sweet Hour of Prayer
by The Sabre Rattlers
by The Sabre Rattlers