It’s 6:15 AM.
Usually I’d be fast asleep by now, but today I’m sitting in front of my computer typing this. Kinda reminds myself of Doogie Howser typing his diary entry at the end of an episode. It was the 90’s and I guess typing your diary entry in a computer was teh coolness. But I’m digressing.
Had a horrible case of heartburn, the first in my life, and I’m waiting for the last traces of it to disappear. And it was caused by my own silliness.
Earlier in the evening I met up with one of my male cousins for an after-church chat over coffee. He’s sort of my confidant. I love my cousin, he’s always been supportive of me and he’s unconditionally supportive of me in this phase as I reconcile my life with being a gay Christian. His support means so much to me.
I’ve been agonising over whether I’m ever going to get married. I’ve been agonising over the fact that I’m a minority of a minority of a minority of a minority.
Asian. Gay. Christian. Staying celibate till marriage.
I’ve been agonising that it seems practically impossible to find a gay Christian here, let alone someone who shares my core values.
I don’t do clubbing. I don’t do gay bars. I don’t do hookups.
All that agonising (dare I use the word again!) caused some pretty bad stress and culminated in that wonderfully painful heartburn, and I feel like an idiot right now.
When I accepted myself as a gay man, God actually spoke to me. He gave me Proverbs 3:5-6 which says – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
All this agony is proof that I’ve actually done anything but. Hence me feeling like a first class idiot.
I’ve been praying so hard for a husband, for a life partner. I’ve been praying that God would draw us together and that when it happens we would mutually recognise each other as “that person”. I’ve been praying for open doors, praying that God will send me to that person, that God will send that person to me.
Praying like a headless chicken.
Doing all these prayer gymnastics when what I really should be doing is waiting upon the Lord, and trusting in Him. Whether I get married or whether I remain single (though that would be a bitter pill to swallow), God is good and God is just.
Waiting isn’t necessarily something easy to do. But it does build up character, patience, and contentment in God. I’m unsure if this waiting means I’m supposed to sit on my bum and do nothing but pray. That doesn’t quite make sense, does it?
Looking back, my life path hasn’t made that much sense either. It’s an incomplete jigsaw puzzle with oddly shaped pieces, fitting together somehow. While I have neither the complete puzzle nor all the required pieces, I receive a new piece every now and then. Thus I’m more inclined to believe that holy waiting means while praying and trusting in God, I should be taking advantage of this time to make changes. Improving myself is one of those changes.
Who knows, God may be changing my heart, making me willing and able to go where I need to go, to place myself where I need to be placed to meet that man. Then I’ll receive the next piece of the puzzle. Waiting isn’t just a matter of being passive, it’s also about being expectant.
But there’s a sobering voice at the back of my head which tells me to be equally prepared and accepting if there won’t be a man in the future. Hey, that’s reality.
I just recalled something a friend wrote on a social network. This kept me up one night.
He thinks he doesn’t deserve what he has. And he’s trying to live in awareness of that.
That statement made me sit up on my bed and ponder. What he wrote was really true. We don’t deserve what we’ve got. It’s all a gift from God. All the people who have coloured my life, they too are on loan from Him.
All the blessings in my life, though I may not be a millionaire or a celebrity, they are still tremendous and tremendously undeserved. All I can do is to be grateful and live my life honouring Him and be a blessing to others.
That led to some deep prayer and the realisation that God’s filing away on my rough edges in double-time. The sharp, unpleasant edges of impatience. Anger. Lack of faith.
Bit by bit by bit.
If you’ve filed your nails too close to the nailbed you’ll know how much that hurts. I guess filing away at one’s character feels the same or worse. But I know this is necessary to make me a better man. A man worthy of my future husband, and a person just as I would like my husband to be.
Look, I really do want to get married. I want to honour God with this marriage and raise a good family. But ultimately I have to learn this lesson in patience and trusting God. Everything is a gift from God, even a husband. And I should delight myself in the Giver regardless of circumstance.
So I wait. Expectant. Trying to grow in the process. Living fully in the now. With my God.
One day at a time, sweet Jesus. Tomorrow may never be mine.
PEN T. COSTAL is a regular guy from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who has just discovered his ability to string words together. When not at his day job, or serving his church as a cell-group leader, he enjoys photography, good conversation and travel, though not necessarily in that order. He also daydreams about finding his life partner and husband. (“Pen” is obviously not his real name, but IMPACTmagazine has agreed to protect his identity.)