Gen 28: 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Staying at the hospital for the terminally ill to accompany my father is a challenge of faith. His Christian faith has returned after 40 years, and he now reads the bible and prays earnestly. Do you pray for Father they asked me? For my family knew I was once the most zealous Christian whilst they were more vary of the mega churches. Yet, during this period I had kept quiet about faith seeing a hopeless situation.
The irony of my Christian faith for the last 25 years is that it started with a big bang with revelation of Jesus Christ and tangible experiences of the Holy Spirit. My faith was made stronger like a hardened rock through the valleys of trials and tribulation of being gay and christian. But I had stopped walking in order to stand ground facing the head winds. A hopeless situation brings about a mellowing of the Christian faith to pray and to hope again, to walk again. God is doing a new work in me and my family in the midst of pain, suffering, and despair.
My motto for the last 10 years was to be a survivor, a practical focus just to remain alive physically, and spiritually in the Christian Faith. But the promise of victory is to pursue heaven agressively in prayer and warfare for such is the spiritual environment I have perceived through my walk in the Holy Spirit.
Now sitting down at a quiet corner at Calvary Hospital, It is in Communion, that we partake daily bread and wine, remembering and applying the power and work of the Cross to our lives. It is at Calvary we stand and be at rest. At the end, we too like Jesus make our abode here.
I told a colleague on my father’s situation and he said that there could be a miracle. It was as if God was speaking to me. The night before, I woke up with the words in my heart – “fast and pray”. I remembered the all night prayers at City Harvest and at cell group. After so many unanswered prayers and disappointments, how does one start to fast and pray for the hours that I once had done. That’s when you enter the river Jordan by faith and be baptised again by the blood of the lamb through God’s grace and see the gushing streams of living waters.
It was different some 25 years ago. I was the only one in the family going actively to church, to prayer meetings, and cell groups. Everything was revolved around the church. The harsh realities of life dawned, one by one, challenges of being gay, opposition from family members of my Christian faith, sickness and the lack of finances.
My Christian faith remained through the valley of the shadow of death, and now 25 years later, for the first time in my life, my dad asked me to pray and for him to visit the evangelical charismatic church. It was the same type of churches he was vary of, not least because of the negative experiences with churches such as True Jesus in the 50s.
As I sit in the hospital in a daze surrounded by terminal ill patients, many bed ridden, we do not question as much the reason for suffering, but doing what we can, bringing them to Calvary’s Cross to lay down at Jesus’ feet before their last breath – to lay down comfortably and with dignity.
It is easy to pray when one is young and full of optimism for the future and a hope for the blessings of God. It takes a step and many steps of faith to pray when one has gone through life’s harsh journey. Optimism has been replaced by a present need for survival, as a Gay Christian.
It was said that went I was born, i was quite premature, and didn’t even cry. I was so quiet that they thought I would not survive. They put me in an incubator and I survived by God’s grace. I see life as beautiful and precious, a gift by the grace of God. I was born not to talk much but to listen and perceived quietly at Jesus’ feet.
I am reminded by a song, when Jacob rested in the Lord and saw a portal to heaven. Lord, we need that portal of direct access to your power and glory, to be nearer to thee.
We spent our lives so much thinking of how to survive, but fail to rest in Jesus Christ, the alpha and omega, the start and finisher of our faith. As we start to walk again, we rest at the same time for the Holy Spirit’ presence fills us. It doesn’t matter when we die, for we are already in heaven spiritually at least, resting in the presence of the Holy Spirit. There is no strife, no fighting for survival anymore, for all is at rest at Jacob’s portal.
As I sat silently staring out of a window at Calvary Hospital, all is at peace and deep silence.
Nearer to thee
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.
There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.
Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.
Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.