|Returning to Solitude with Jesus Christ|
Ps 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Ps 91:14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
When I was a teenager, during the school holidays, I spent days and nights reading the bible, praying in the Holy Spirit and just enjoying the presence of God. I rented a room at the church office, and they put me in the upper room which became my room of prayer and solitude.
During prayer, I once entered into a deep spiritual presence of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit begin quoting a series of verses which I later found was from Psalm 91. Ps 91:1-2, and 14-15. These were the verses that had remained with me and became my strenght for the next two decades.
I was then on fire for God, and I loved Jesus. I would study the bible day and night, and once I fell asleep whilst reading the Word of God and behold I found myself together with the disciples listening to the preaching of Jesus.
I had really loved Jesus, and wanted to understand the bible as a revelation of the Saviour. I wanted to know Jesus more, His ways, His glory, His wisdom.
I thought that knowing Jesus was through prayer and reading the Word of God, but the Spirit of God led through the dry desert for the last 20 years where there was barren land and my faith in Christ tested in the raging winds of life.
I have had to leave my upper room of peace and solitude, to be taken away from the very presence of the Holy Spirit in order to face and accept myself as a gay christian.
God had sent me out from my solitude into the desert where He seemed so far away. For it was inside the desert that all our presumptions fade away and we are faced with our real self.
I like the quote from Henri Nouwen from "Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry" when he said that Solitude is being with God and God alone. Is there any space for that in your life?
Religion and God could be approached from an abstract sense for the ancients were groping in the dark to search for God and had a monument to the unknown God. God became a manifestation of themselves for ancient greeks.
How could we find God even in solitude for God is said to be a mystery and His thoughts higher than ours. For Moses could only see the back of God in the burning bush.
God had hitherto spoken to the prophets of old, as the Holy Spirit fell upon them and in a trance, they became the voice of God to proclaim judgement and prophecy lest the nation of Israel repent from their worship of the demonic deities and return to the One God of Israel and not to the many other gods.
We seek to find God in solitude, but we can only see God through His Son Jesus Christ as the incarnate of God. When we see Jesus, we see God.
Solitude is therefore with Christ and Christ alone. Jesus was resurrected from the dead, yet He had He had never left us for His Holy Spirit is with us.
Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
I would not have survived, if I had not built up my spiritual faith by praying in the Holy Spirit transending beyond my mind.
There are my challenges to faith where many have taken the grace of God for granted or have denied Christ as their common salvation (Jude 1:4). Could we still trust God and have faith even if we were gay?
Could we have given glory and honour to Jesus as God and Saviour (Jude 1:25) for creating us a gay person. Would we have remained in the faith when it was the people of faith who had violently condemned the gay community as vile sinners.
Our faith is only complete when it is tested and have gone through the trials of fire.
In Christ alone is the dominion and power over the forces of darkness that has put us into bondage and into our closets where we have to live in hiding. There is power in the name of Jesus to rebuke the forces of darkness (Jude 1:9) and to come out of the closet.
In the times of storms and trials, it is our faith that will be challenged, our belief that God is for us and not against us, and that He cares for us. It is the faith to believe that Jesus is the Hope of our salvation and He will come to save us and that He is still the same yesterday, today and tommorow.
Could we still hold firm to our faith in Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer in the raging storms? If we had not built up our spiritual faith, we will be ship wrecked if not for the grace of God.
Our time in solitude, is a time of building up our our spiritual faith by praying in the spirit. I would not have survived long walking through the desert of life with my Christian faith challenged and turned upside down for being gay without first building up my spiritual faith.
Yet, often it wasn't enough, for when I had come to the end of myself, then the grace of God would take over from the end of the road. It is Jesus' love for me through the Cross of Calvary, totally undeserved and unmerited that had kept me going.
I am coming back home. My time in the desert is almost over. The world has also changed from the early 90s to now a place where young Christians can come out easily with much less fanfare, condemnation and self conflict.
I am coming out from the desert to a time of solitude in the upper room where once I had loved God with all my spirit, soul and body, and was so full of faith in the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
But will it ever be the same again?
My upper room is now empty. I have only one bible left. All my other bibles, and the hundreds of Christian books are all gone. My guitar where I had worshipped God has been given away to a City Harvest Cell group. Yet, strangely the Word of God and the testimonies of faith is now written into my heart.
My upper room has become bare. I have been hardened outwardly by my experiences, but inwardly softened and humbled. There is much more simplicity of faith, and a centeredness on Jesus Christ, in His mercy and redeeming grace.
Henri Nouwen never did come out from his solitude to accept himself as a gay person and be willing to admit it to friends and have that sense of intimacy with same sex partners. He lived more than four decades prior when being a gay christian was even much harder.
Henri Nouwan went into solitude to escape from reality but God sent me out from my upper room of solitude to the outside world to face a harsh reality and to come to an acceptance of being gay.
It has been so long since I entered my upper room. I had "lost" twenty years in pain, suffering and spiritual humility. But I am not bitter nor angry but forgiving for the grace of God has somehow been planted within me through hardship and pain.
I had been an angry young man, robbed of a life, and freedom to love and to be loved in relationship. The harsh and cruel desert winds have a way of breaking down our hearts until all that is left is a simple faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
As I sat down on the floor of the upper room in solitude, bowing to God in worship and praise, and giving glory and honour to Jesus Christ, I begin to see the Cross of Calvary and the suffering of Christ through the winding road up Via Dolorosa. The way of suffering, the way of grief, was strangely the road to understanding the bible and the revelation of Christ completed works at the Cross of Calvary.
As I bowed down to worship God again, I see the Host of angels in heaven welcoming me back. It has been a long time.
Solitude is first being alone with yourself, to know and accept who you are as a Gay Christian dearly beloved in Christ Jesus. For only then you will find youself alone with God, and God alone, beautifully created by God for His goodwill and purpose and to be in solitude with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.