Why God Doesn’t Answer Prayers

This is a question that has been on my heart a lot recently for a few different reasons. I have prayed for many things in my life that have not been answered—some of which are theologically important to me:

Why am I me and given the inherent right that comes with being a straight, white male; opposed to all others in socially constructed minority groups by race, sex, disability or health?

And some of those prayers which are more earthly:

That my book will sell 500,000 copies because the Lord’s bridge building work within the GLBT community would be out there so much that no one could ignore it anymore,

and

Lord, you have trusted me in running The Marin Foundation with very few financial resources for so long, in all of which that I feel I have been a great steward of those sparse finances, that it is totally ok to start trusting me with more!

And when it comes to sexuality and same-sex attractions, why does God answer some people’s prayers and not others? I have met very few people who, when first realizing their same-sex attraction, did not pray to God to take those attractions away so as to have an easier life in a way that aligns with a traditional interpretation of Scripture. Because let’s be honest, who would choose a same-sex attraction and the potential life (celibacy or being ‘out’) that comes with it? If you think about it, when someone has a same-sex attraction, whether they act on it or not, are automatically cast as deviant to mainline Christianity. What a heavy responsibility to steward. What haunts me though is how I can just be me, do nothing to counteract my God-given characteristics and get married, have a family, and without a second thought be looked at within mainstream as acceptable before God in my inherent qualities that I did nothing to attain? It’s a question that pains me because I’ll never know the answer.

In going a step further; why does God answer some people’s prayers who seek to “overcome” their same-sex attraction and not others?

In my book I detail a story of a friend of mine who was student body president of a major evangelical university who hid his same-sex attractions for 17 years as he prayed and worked everyday for God to take those attractions away. Yet why does God answer other’s prayers for the same thing but not his, causing him to believe one of two things must be true:

1. Either there is no God because He won’t answer the one prayer he prays

Or

2. There is a God and he’s just condemned to hell anyway because of the attractions he knows not where they came from

The problem is that evangelicals find it easy to come up with excusal answers:

“Because he didn’t pray enough…”
“Because he doesn’t have enough faith…” (this one was actually told to me by a radio host on air last week)
“Because he’s not really Christian and not praying to the God of transformation…”

You name it: I, and they, have heard it.

But I just don’t believe in those faultily constructed “releasing-of-responsibility-blood-off-my-head” excuses that do nothing other than put an even wider unemotional arm’s length gap between our conservative believe system and the gay community. Uttering and crying out to the name of El Shaddai, the Almighty and Yeshua are the same for everyone—God hears them all, all the time.

The most over utilized Christian-eze response is to the bigger question is:

“You can’t see it now but God will somehow use this unanswered prayer for good.”

Theologically correct, yes. But that doesn’t bring help or comfort one ounce when someone is in the midst of whatever they’re going through, feeling like their cries for help just slowly drift off into eternal space. In 2006 when I was receiving death threats in the mail after being attacked and lied about in the national media, my brothers and sisters in the faith kept repeating that phrase to me, almost as if it was told to me enough I’d just start to believe it despite my negatively encompassing situation; pleading with God why He would allow this to happen. There is a difference between reason and application. Just because something is rationally correct doesn’t mean its application can be implemented, easy or not, no matter how “right” it might be. Just the same, straight Christians rattle off that common phrase to GLBT folks. There is nothing worse then when your most earnest prayer is not answered, especially when it comes to life experiences that can’t ever be taken back. So how are we supposed to handle these difficult prayers that go unanswered?

I was reading Christian Theology by Millard Erickson and I came across this great explanation on p. 301-302:

“God’s transcendence over time has been likened to a person who sits on a steeple while he watches a parade. He sees all parts of the parade at the different points on the route rather than only what is going past him at the moment. He is aware of what is passing each point of the route. So God also is aware of what is happening, has happened, and will happen at each point in time, yet at any given point within time he is also conscious of the distinction between what is now occurring, what has been, and what will be…God has access to all information. So his judgments are made wisely. He sees all things in their proper perspective; thus he does not give anything a higher or lower value than it out to have. One can therefore pray confidently, knowing that God will not grant something that is not good. Even though we are not wise enough to see all of the facts, or the results to which our ideas or planned actions may lead, we can trust God to know what is best.”

Here is the Andrew Marin synthesis to that paragraph:

God is inherently good because He is a supreme being that knows all and is in all. So our unanswered prayers are not due to a lack of faith.

Not due to a wrongly formatted prayer.

Not due to God not hearing our deepest cries.

They are because God is a good steward of our faith and life as a whole, such that unanswered prayers are not a negative, but rather an opportunity to experientially continue to live out an active faith amidst and through the missing answers because God’s love for us is always best—and the best in most cases goes unanswered in the areas that we long for answers the most! Why? Because what we long for the most is usually the one thing that has taken over priority in our lives and become our identity.

This realization is what an honest, non-Western-non-consumer-non-seeker-friendly faith is all about. God never promised to answer our prayers, He promised to wholistically always give us what is best for the faith journey of our existence from day one to death bed according to what He sees best. And it brings me peace to cognitively realize that unanswered prayers cannot just be succinctly put into pop-cultured theology, but they are actually as great as those prayers that are answered because God’s best is an opportunity to live out His eternal answer in real time—in either an answered or unanswered fashion.

Much love.
www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Anonymous

    Grammatical error at the end – wrong word. It should have said:… help HIM get through the hurt.

  • Andrew Marin

    Unfortunetly Di5, I feel that you're missing the point again. If "sin is obviously" the qualification to God answering prayers or not, then no prayers ever by any person would ever be answered in the history or futrue of the world because we are all sinners (Romans 3:23, James 2:10). Unless that is, you qualify homosexuality as greater than other sins? If that is the case then there are larger theological issues at play between my, and your interpretation of Scripture.And I noticed on a comment you made on my other post about the Culture War – did you have a chance to read my book yet. I think it would clear up a lot of misgivings you have about what it is to build bridges.

  • Peacetime Warrior

    Hi,First let me say that I like the courage of this article- many Christians avoid this topic. I love your conclusion at the end that sometimes our "deepest desires" become idols… God will not cater to nor support an idol, no matter how many times we ask! This is a powerful word and I'm glad to have read it.However you may want to watch out for strongholds (ways of thinking). I consider myself a prayer person, and I've spent much time in prayer over the years, and I've seen answers I liked, and others I didn't, and times God felt silent. However, I've also seen how God responds to different requests and questions. When you listed some of your earlier prayers, I could see immediately why they were "unanswered." Excuse me if this sounds extreme, it's not meant to condemn at all, but I need to say this: some of the prayers read as manipulative and presumptuous. For example – where did the figure of 500,000 copies come from for your book sales? When you give God numbers it is like you're expecting to be in charge of what God does with your work. God decides what happens with and how he uses His own word, even if it comes through people. The real results may or may not be visible to you. You cannot dictate to him a number, and use that to measure "success" (even spiritual/ ministry success, not necessarily money) That is a worldly way of thinking. When Paul wrote letters from prison, I'm sure he intended to speak to his congregations, correct and instruct them. He probably thought he was blessing a few hundred people, if they would receive the Word he was given by the Holy Spirit. God, in fact, used his letters to bless BILLIONS of people in the last two thousand years, but Paul didn't see that in his lifetime. Don't get discouraged! And don't seek fame or prestige, even if that is tempting.About the question of your ministry budget…. maybe you should ask God to continue to guide the direction and work. The statement "it's time to trust me with more," comes off as controlling, as if you have to "remind" God to provide for you because He is dragging his feet. It also sounds as if you feel God owes you, which is a dangerous mindset. I would ask more questions, like what direction God wants to take the ministry, where are some possible sources of funding, and is anything or anyone holding up the growth of the ministry? etc…..Telling God what to do, and what you want is usually far less effective than being open to God's will and insight, and asking questions about what's actually best, as opposed to what seems best to you. Lastly, about God taking away or not taking away same-sex attraction. When it comes to desires, I've learned that many times Christians don't use their authority. Almost all of sexual attraction is in the MIND (even if it's not in the conscious thoughts), and God will NOT come in and forcibly control your mind. HOWEVER you have the authority over your own thoughts, and the ability as a believer to reject unhealthy desires in Jesus name. If you are having desires that are inappropriate, ANY desire (homosexual, attracted to a married person, attracted to an abusive person, or lusting after many people, etc.), you have the authority to REJECT those desires. You can say "No- I reject this desire in Jesus name, it is NOT of God. I command it to cease." THEN seek God about the subconscious root of the desire, you may need to work to recover and talk it out in prayer and therapy. Wrong desires can be due to basic sin, coping mechanism to deal with trauma or sadness, oppression from demonic spirits, fears, ANYTHING. Pray and ask God for the root. When we do that, and humble ourselves, TRUST ME, that prayer will not go "unanswered." God Bless,

  • Andrew Marin

    Peacetime Warrior – Wow! Thank you so much for all of your constructive insights. Here are my thoughts in response:1. 500,000 copies is a total arbitrary number. I have no idea about book sales or the publishing world in general – I don’t know what is considered a best seller, I have no idea how books get on any lists, I’m just trying to get the message out there on as broad of a scale as I can. I’ve seen the hurt and damage across the country and I know the Lord’s work can do significant things to level the disconnect and help shift our culture in a more peaceful and productive direction—theologically speaking within the culture war between conservatives and GLBT people. The Lord laid this book opportunity in my lap (I never sought out a publisher to write a book, they approached me), and thus, I am just trying to be as good a steward as I can with what was given to me. And at the end of the day whether it is 5,000 copies or 500,000 copies, it is just as many as it needs to be. In me praying that prayer there is in my mind the underlying broader issue in play about the Lord’s work through the book first and foremost. I don’t concentrate on the arbitrary number as it seems I projected, from yours and Di5’s comments. 2. I never said “it’s time to trust me with more” as you “quoted”. My exact words were, “it is totally ok to start trusting me with more!”. There is a BIG difference in those two sentences! The former presumes God HAS to trust me with more financial resources, the latter leaves the option to Him doing so if He deems worthy.3. I completely understand where you’re coming from in regards to the ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ power of getting rid of unwanted thoughts. The one thing I cannot shake however, is the multitudes of people who I know that sincerely love the Lord with all of their hearts who genuinely keep ‘claiming-it’ and so forth for years and years and the unwanted thoughts and attractions are still there. The part of your explanation that makes me squirm a little bit is with the expectations that it WILL happen as you say. I’m not saying God doesn’t answer prayer, or that the model you presented doesn’t work. But from what I read, what happens when someone prays exactly how you outlined and yet nothing happens for years? Are they not praying correct? Do they not have enough faith? Does God not trust them enough to reveal to them “the subconscious root of the desire”? I’ve seen too many people be tortured by unanswered prayers as they shift the blame upon themselves first, and then God next—which most of the time results in no faith in God at all! For these lives that I see over and over is the reason why my theology of unanswered prayers is about God in us, that unanswered prayers can be His best just the same as answered prayers. This theology gives room for all to spiritually thrive amidst the uncertainty of faith in unanswered prayers. This is not to say that your words don’t work or aren’t theologically correct. I am just working off of what I have seen in my experiences over the last decade.I appreciate your thoughts.Much love.

  • Anonymous

    Much of my life I have had unanswered desires & they were usually small, simple desires. Yet God did not give them to me. As I've gotten older, things seem better. I think that when something isn't answered, the person who has the desire needs lots of comfort & encouragement. There have been times that when I haven't gotten encouragement, it was worse than the situation. So even tho your friends may be aching from pain & loneliness, your friendship & encouragement can help you get through the hurt!

  • Di5

    Your prayers have the flavor of narcissism.

  • Andrew Marin

    Di5 – you're going to read that and your conclusion is that my prayers are nacasistic? There's a difference between narcasism and flat out being honest. Here are a few thoughts:

    1. Those are a few prayers I have prayed over the years, especially recently – prayers that I thought illustrated the point well. I could have given you all the "other, nicer, more Christian" prayers to make you happy – but that is flat out what I'm going through right now so I wrote it down for you to critique.

    2. No matter what you comment or formulate out of those prayer examples in my life, it doesn't change the fact that I will always be real, raw and honest with myself – imperfections and all – no matter what you or anyone else thinks. This is where I am in my journey at the moment:

    1) I'm fighting to get out there what I felt the Lord has lead me to, and 2) The Marin Foundation is working off of a $65,000/year budget. I've had numbers of folks shocked when I tell them that because everyone thinks we're financially way better off than we are for the impact around the country we've had. That is God alone willing this thing forward.

    At the end of the day you will say what you will say. And through all of it I'll still keep it real for those who want a glimpse into my life at its different stages.

  • Di5

    Glad you responded. You say you have heard all the explanations before, but I have to ask, what about the obvious reason sin?

  • Di5

    I believe He always gives an answer.

  • EronC

    Thank you. This came at the moment I needed it the most. Thank you for being real when so few are. Keep pursuing this fight for the kingdom.

  • Evan

    I love reading your blogs. I wish you weren't so busy and could write them more often. No I am glad you are busy because you are doing the Lord's work. Keep it up!The only comment that I have on your recent blog is that I think that the difficulty that GLBT individuals face in not understanding why God won't take away their same-sex attractions can be applied to any Christian.We are all sinners. When we acknowledge the fact that we sin and accept Christ as our Savior, we experience a change in attitude about sin (repentance). Paul talks about this in Romans when we says he does the things he hates. When we become Christians, we begin to hate sin even though our sinful natures and the world tells us to sin all the time.I think that this hatred of sin gives us a glimpse into our relationship with God. We can know that God is working in us through the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. I think the only problem would arise when we still love sin. If we love what we do when we sin, we have no relationship with God. Nahum 1:3 says that the Lord's way is in the whirlwind and the storm. While storms are scary and you just want them to end. They always bring about growth. Plants grow after it rains. Likewise we grow after rain in our lives.

  • Melanie Johnson

    Andrew, Thank you for your humbleness and raw honesty. We need more people like you in this world and I am saddened by some of the responses to this post. I see nothing wrong with asking God for 500,000 copies of your book to be sold. In fact, I pray in Jesus' name that twice that many books will be sold, so that even more people can hear the message that you are trying to spread. At the non-profit I work for, we pray for specific numbers all the time and God almost always meets or exceeds those numbers. The numbers we ask for (whether it's for our budget or for the number of clients we want to see) almost always take a miracle to pull off. We intentionally ask for high numbers because we want people to be able to look at our organization and say "There is no way that man could accomplish that. Only God".I know that you are not praying for the "success" of your book so that you will make more money or gain more fame. I know that for you, it's all about spreading this bridge building message that is revolutionary, risky, and life-changing. Thanks for the work you're doing.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe God IS answering the prayers of those who have not "overcome" a same-sex attraction. Maybe the answer is that God is leaving you to be as you were made by Him. God does answer prayer, but sometimes it's not what you expect to hear.

  • Jon Trouten

    Prayers are interesting things. At least God's responses are. I usually pray for comfort or support. However, God's responses occur when I least expect them. Some sudden mental connection related to a statement or occurance around me. Or some random coincidence like an unexpected (but well-timed) phone call or check.

  • Peacetime Warrior

    Andrew,

    Sorry for the misquote! I may have misunderstood what you meant in one of your prayers. Didn't mean to sound overly critical either.

    About what you said with naming and claiming- most people use the phrase "name it and claim it" about things like wanting a specific job, house, car, spouse (lol), and they see one they want, and "name and claim it," fully expecting God to secure it. I do NOT believe in this type of theology- you can ask, but if something is not yours, you cannot presume to claim it as yours.

    I DO however believe in standing on God's actual, scriptural promises. I don't believe this is presumption because if God has already promised certain things to us as believers, it can be an exercise in faith to walk forward KNOWING we have them. Nowhere in scripture does it say that you can just point to a job, car, etc., and God will just fetch it for you. But it does say that God HAS promised all believers hope and a future, a sound mind, peace, freedom from bondage of sin (including lust). You can claim that freedom / peace. Active rejection of desires or mindsets that are not of God can work very well in those short term moments when the issue comes up. This can be when "seeds" are being planted in the mind (passing thoughts, crushes on people you can't be with!). Those seeds need to be "pulled up" or they will grow and become serious problems.

    However I don't believe either that the long-term relief and deliverance is some quick, instant process, and all same-sex (or any other) desire will just evaporate overnight and will never have to be dealt with again. That can happen if the attraction is rooted in demonic oppression (the demon leaves, the desire goes with it); but often times it's rooted in our minds. Our minds take time and work to heal.

    To those suffering for years as you mentioned, I would say not to give up, that any healing, growth etc, takes time and energy. God IS answering prayers, but it may not look the way you expect. I know first hand from my own healing, pain, frustration from struggling with my own issues, that a long process is a good thing. I've never been attracted to other women (same sex), but I have been attracted to the wrong men, and struggled with lust and fantasy. Much of it is rooted in past sexual abuse, some in worldly conditioning and mindsets taught to me by our society that are contrary to God, and also my own sin. When I was younger, I prayed a lot for a relationship, but God kept me out of relationships for years, even though I was saved and growing, loved Him. I love God, have been saved since age 12, been actively praying for a healthy relationship. But God kept me out of them until I was about 26 – that was hard. I mean no boyfriends, no dates, nada. It made me angry at God at times. Mine was a long process of asking God for root issues, repenting from each of my own strongholds, and letting him heal me and teach me. It was active on my part and on God's, and God did what needed to be done, not what I wanted immediately. I was a broken person and would have ruined a relationship if he had given it to me on MY schedule. The prayer was answered, but it took time.

    Now I'm very happily married, and have a lot of freedom and joy. Getting rid of wrong desires started in me actively rejecting them.

    Anyway I would just say don't give up! Ask questions, and take an active part in your growth and healing. God is good, and loves us all equally.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Here you are sharing normal feelings, & you get attacked! There's a woman in our church who does that. She is interested in what you do, but if you answer the wrong way, she can attack you.
    So, Andrew, your blog was a normal way of responding to unanswered prayer. I agree that you should sell a million copies or more! Why not? The message needs to be spread around, not only in this country, but all over the world!

  • Di5

    I was tired when I replied and when you replied back that was ok, I understood you better. Sorry for the post, but contrary to anyone's thinking I was not attacking you. John(your friend in the post and on page 25,26 was to whom I was referring to in my second unclear reply post, sorry. People other than John and not pointing to him, that I personally knew prayed that prayer and also other types of prayers like not wanting to ever drink to God but never wanted to make Him the Lord of their life. They only wanted Him to be a gimme god. That is where I was coming from. Again I support you and am sorry but I didn't care for you trying to bait me. And that is not a whine.

  • Peacetime Warrior

    To the responders – I hope what I said was not perceived as an "attack." What I said was not mean spirited. Actually, it can severely hinder growth to immediately dismiss any criticism or "negative-seeming" commentary as an attack.

    Anonymous and Melanie: I'm wondering why there was a defensive reaction to what I said about numbers? I didn't mean that it's not a reason to rejoice if you sell millions of copies. All I meant was that numbers, by themselves, are not a test of success or of being in God's favor. If Andrew sells only 5,000 copies, that does not mean that the book was unsuccessful or that God hadn't given it favor. 5,000 changed lives is massive! Nor does selling 5 million copies mean success for a minister. There are many best-sellers that are fad books which don't make any lasting impact on people who read them.

    Many ministries get caught up in numbers, which can be a deceptive type of tunnel vision. Looking at numbers is okay, but it can be better to focus on the change you see in actual lives, and ask to Holy Spirit that the RIGHT people buy the book, and let you see what God does through it.

  • Jon Trouten

    God has placed many blessings into my life. A good husband. Two funny, healthy boys. A supportive church family. A challenging, financially-rewarding career. A nice home. A grumbling peke… (well, maybe I was going through a bad spell when she was introduced into my life)

    My life — my spiritual life and my familial life — is what we all strive for. And yet those blessings are held suspect — indeed God's role in my life is held suspect — by my fellow Christians because I have a husband instead of a wife.

    When do we accept that maybe — just maybe — God allows for some diversity with his answered prayers?

  • Jimmy

    Thanks, as always, for your honesty. As a gay youth, I prayed for God to remove my inclinations. 10 years later, as a young gay adult, they're still around. But rather than be discouraged, I often think of Paul who had a similar prayer struggle.,,7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.(II Corinthians 12:7-10)

  • k1965

    Just wanted to throw something out there… I think that we often think in only two dimensions regarding life… we tend to filter everything through a lens that only accounts for us and God and we forget that there is an enemy involved: a very real enemy with influence and power. Satan's ultimate destiny is determined but he is currently the prince of this world (Jesus' own words). I have come to believe that it is important to factor in this enemy and to give thought to the ramifications of his presence in this world. We are living in a war zone and need to pray and fight! Daniel's prayers were heard and answered immediately and yet evil forces were fighting with heavenly ones preventing that answer from getting to him. I am reading a book called God at War and I think it should be "required reading" for every believer along with Andrew's book of course! :) It's not for the faint of heart… it's very academic and very LARGE but it is making me think and consider things I have never thought through before. Anyway, I want to thank you Andrew for writing Love is an Orientation… I already know it will change lives…

  • Caleb

    Andrew – thank you so much for this wonderful post. The topic is one very near and dear to my heart after fighting for over six years to change my orientation, and never receiving an answer. My mother used to tell me over and over that if I whole-heartedly cried out to God, he would miraculously take away my feelings. Our home church told me that if I had enough faith, I would be healed. But after crying out night after night, mustering up as much faith as I could find amidst the tears and deep visceral pangs of anguish, my feelings persisted.After all of this fighting, I was beginning to feel that God was just a sadist who demanded that I change, but yet would contribute no aid or reprieve from the thoughts in my head and the longings of my heart. I was on the verge of giving up, and sought solace in random sexual encounters and in a brief relationship, but found myself still languishing in the murky depths of angry, bitter confusion, and I wanted out of it.Through many elongated difficulties and transitions, I've found unspeakable joy and peace with the burden I've been asked to carry, and the prayers that were never answered. I find that I love being a celibate gay man, and the goodness of God is something that is no longer up for question. I find myself absolutely in love with God's sovereignty, and the resulting hope it gives us, a hope that both sustains and strengthens as it flows from the same wellspring of life in which we have found our salvation. I sometimes comfort myself by considering the limitations of my perspective, and how often my perspective is directed by momentary passions which will soon slip away. Then I consider that God, the ruler and author of both the smallest sub-atomic particle to the most massive of galaxies, who exists both outside and inside of time, and who died that I might live, I consider that this God is the one to whom I am praying, and that I can trust him and his judgment far and above my own.God knows me. He loves me. He died for me. This is true – it is real. Therefore I can trust him, even if it means I must hold on through bitter trials and endure the darkest hours of suffering. There is always purpose, there is always redemption, and there is always hope, even when our limited perceptions cannot perceive it. And when we find ourselves in lack of a point of hope, we are continuously exhorted to look to the resurrection as our final and ultimate hope. That death is not the end – there is still a life for us to live!One thing I have found about accepting unanswered prayers is that it will undoubtedly strengthen one's faith in the goodness of God and resolve to follow Christ despite the costs. Faith is both trust and loyalty – it trusts in God's plan and goodness even when those things are not apparent, and remains loyal to the bitter end.It's rather interesting sometimes, because my straight brother is struggling with the fact that God has not answered his prayer for a wife, and he feels many of the same things I felt when I was wrestling with the goodness of God. But while on many levels we relate and have had some wonderful conversations, he's so set on his own scenario for how his life should look that he is really struggling to find the faith to relax in the knowledge of God's benevolent sovereignty. While the situation pains me greatly, it has been good for me to see the pain of a straight man wrestling with his own sexuality, and it has been helpful for me to see the way we are both similar and different. He's been doing a great job of enduring, but it has been a bitter endurance, and I pray that one of these days he will be able to find the joy that exists in the midst of trials, and that he will be strengthened and encouraged.

  • Caleb

    Oh and a few verses I wanted to share with everyone. First, Habakkuk 3:17-19
    ______________
    17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,

    18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

    19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to go on the heights.
    ______________________
    Secondly, Daniel 3:16-18

    16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
    _________________________

    I hope some of you find those as encouraging as I have.

    Well, sorry for my lengthy ramble! I have a bad habit of carrying on without end!

    Thanks again Andrew for all of your marvelous work! There is such a deep need for examples of true selfless love and humility in our society, and thank you for being willing to rise to the challenge and be such an example. Last year I began work at my Christian college to have a series of honest and open campus conversations concerning homosexuality, and have faced accusations from alumni who fearfully decry it as a "homosexual club," when it was nothing of the sort (it's not even a club!). Talking about this subject is not easy, but it is needed, and I am so thankful you are talking about it and getting others to talk about it. Though I just graduated this past month, I've been encouraging the current leaders of the campus discussions to get in touch with you, since the school is near Chicago.

    Thanks again for everything!

    Peace,
    Caleb

  • Andrew Marin

    Evan – thank you for the clarity in raising the broader point of relationship with God!

    Jon – as always, your comments are peaceful and insightful, of which I really appriciate hearing your voice because it adds a great dimension.

    Melane – I think that non-profit life is a unique place to be, something that is totally non-understandable unless faced with those unending revenue pressures all the time. I hear you…

    Di5 – I was not trying to bait you but rather felt attacked myself. Guess that is what happens over words on a screen. Sorry as well.

    k1965 – LOVED your two dimensional comment about the devil!!!!! So true, and yes, now that you bring it up, it's definitely something we overlook all the time.

    Caleb – Wow….what you wrote is very humbling and thank you soooo much for sharing your life and burdens. Your insight is fascinatingly real and raw, and I am truly blessed to have read what you wrote. My emotions are sturring within me right now as I've read, and re-read your words. There is so many important points that are right on point. Your comments needs to be read by everyone!

  • D.J. Free!

    I don't recall who specifically stated it, but I do believe there is great diversity in God's judgments and decisions.

    I think we also need to bring in the concept of "calling" as well.

    Perhaps the reason that some people have "overcome" (which I wish you would qualify, b/c some might take that to mean that some people get healed of same-sex attractions, and I've yet to run across anyone with this specific testimony . . . except for maybe Ted Haggard temporarily) . . . but anyway, perhaps the reason some people seem to "overcome" is because God calls them to a life of heterosexuality which He deems best for them. Or maybe they're just deluded, and are subjecting themselves to an unhappy life b/c they misinterpret Scriptures.

    Perhaps the reason some people are okay being celibate is b/c God calls them to it. Or perhaps they've just got enough serotonin in the brain to be pretty happy no matter what situation they find themselves in.

    Perhaps the reason some people feel strongly about entering into committed same-sex relationships is because God calls them into it. Or maybe God is just merciful enough to allow them that, just as we deem Him merciful enough to let us divorce from really crumby marriages.

    I guess my point is . . . we probably will never really know the answer to your question on this side of the grave, Andy. And ultimately, how important is the question? I mean, I think it's worth asking, but not at the expense of keeping our eyes on the real goal: following Jesus day by day, listening for His voice, being willing to question our rightness, and yielding when we've discovered we're wrong.

  • Hillary McFarland

    I just "discovered" you today and so have not had a chance to read your book–yet–but I am blown away by your message and ministry.

    I am writing a book that is controversial within the fundamentalist, conservative Christian world. My salvation has been questioned, my project bashed and words labeled unbiblical–thankfully I have not had death threats as you have–but there are days I sit back and cry and ask WHY? I did not ask to do this. You gave this to me . . . dumped it into my lap and I am trying to obey You and follow through with the mission YOU have given.

    It is a paradox of beauty and difficulty that overwhelms at times.

    I say all this to say: your obedience and faith will be blessed. For the rest of your days, you will meet those who rise up and resist your work. But if He is for you, who can be against you? Be strong and continue steadfastly on the way He has prepared for you. It is here, in the palm of His hand, where you are safest.

    You are forging into territory that western evangelicals have overtly avoided but as you know so well–Jesus (who never once talked about any GLBT behavior, fwiw)is there and needs His followers there as well. Thank you for heeding His voice and may He sustain and keep you.

    Blessings and prayers!!!
    PS…I just watched two of your videos and have been sitting here, crying, so my thoughts are not quite coherent. Please pardon any strange run-on sentences thank you!

  • Anonymous

    ironic: the above person is crying for me. i am a born again christian: i believe that homosexuality is as the Bible says not what God intended: i know from experience it ends to at best "not love" really/ at least in my experience: and i am married to the opposite sex: love this person greatly: knew intrinsically when i was quite young without even hardly understanding what "homosexuality " or bi-sexuality" or even having a gender confusion problem was: was begging Jesus to help me: and almost 30 or more years later it is still a HUGE issue. at the same time: i have been surrounded by people who have chosen this way of life for real/ or for now/ [when i made a choice:finally how i did this i do not know: i chose to just be "nothing" then i met my spouse and sed: i can live with that person for the rest of my life, even tho it goes against every grain of my being." [and so far it was THE best decision i have ever made/and yet it also has really really SUCKED] but as i was saying ironically and also painfully: i have always been surrounded by people who were attracted to the same sex in some fashion: and i would end up being the only person they could talk to about it. this of course would cause 2 problems: 1. they would usually be MY gender and some form of boundary would be crossed: and 2. they would have had the same desperation at least in some way as i. the only contribution i have ever had to offer was the following "no you are not going to hell[these would be christ believing people ALWAYS: it has been so ironic]", and "in my experience, and it is JUST my experience: along with what i have seeen in the Scriptures: or i have seen the Scriptures played out so to speak: i have seen this lifestyle not work out for my best good or for the ones i dearly loved[the relationships]: and in fact to salvage the relationships i had: meaning to even keep the FRIENDships: i [or we] had to stop the sexual/sensual part of it./ that is the best way i can explain this in my experience: but noone wants to talk about it at all noone wants to have healthy discussion with out the disdain or disgrace: or the idea that Jesus has no intention of closing the door on those of us who still struggle or have these issues EVEN if we are NOT acting out on them they are in my heart: and according to the Scripture if it is in my heart: it is as if i am acting on it[i am speaking as if i am HARDCORE BIBLE PERSON-when really this would never be my approach-tho i can be very black and white.]. so our minds are extremely finite on ALL issues : God is so just and fair and looks at the heart: we cannot comprehend this. this is the mystery of His grace and mercy which even as the Scriptures say: even the angels do not understand they are so amazed:
    at what He has done. however i myself: do not feel okay about "promoting" a lifestyle" that i have seen first-hand end in tears.
    this is my huge paragraph/ only "my rambling story": but this is the only forum where i could ever speak out loud about this: and that is a relief, so thank you. somewhere in all this pain: i do still believe that God works all things together for good, and yes i know i am not completing the rest of this verse because i have forgotten it.
    thank you/ i do ask that the Lord bless you and keep you and make His path known to you and i do not say that in a reprommanding way.my God who am i to do that. of all things: judging is the thing i think that gets us all the most in trouble. i feeel guiltier about that/ most days.


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