I just finished reading "Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope" by Christopher Yuan and his mother Angela. It is a very powerful modern day prodigal son story! It would be a great book for anyone to read IMO not just those struggling with homosexuality that really shows God's love, grace, and mercy.
I don't directly relate with all of Chris' story since I was a Christian from a young age. But I still related to alot of his story and it was amazing to see this journey that he was on and how God used his struggles with drugs and homosexuality to bring both him and his mother to the point where they realized their only hope was Jesus!
I was really moved by this story and was cheering Christopher and his mother on as I read it! The writing style was very unique one chapter would be from Christopher's perspective and the next from his mother Angela's and we got to often see both perspectives of the same events. I really felt like I got to know both him and his mother as I read their stories.
Angela's unending faithfulness in prayer and love for her son was pretty amazing. It made me really question my own prayer life and inspires me to try and do a better job spending time with the Lord in prayer. Time and time again Christopher pushed her away but she just kept on praying and reaching out to him because of her love for him and her wanting him to find Jesus's love as she had.
Through the whole book what Christopher was searching for was love and acceptance. "But when I stepped into the gay community I was exposed to a world of outcasts who had come together and become family. They stood up for one another, supported one another. They laughed with me, cried with me, and accepted me for who I was-gay" Its really what we all are searching for I think, love and acceptance. If only the church would do a better job of providing this support and love for the SSA struggler. I think things are slowly improving but there is a long way to go.
This book to me was really a love story of Gods love for Christopher and showed how God is willing to chase us to the ends of the earth if he has to in order for us to realize His love for us. No matter where he ran, God kept chasing him whether to bath houses, gay clubs, drug dens, or prison. Really brought me to tears several times reading it and seeing how God would not give up. Through the whole book you could just see how God was there for Christopher even on his darkest days in a lonely prison cell. I loved the story how another prisoner in the past had written "If your bored, read Jeremiah 29:11" on the roof of the metal bunk of his prison bed.
Here is that verse:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
After reading that verse he wrote in the book that "...the world would be happy for me to be locked away for good. And yet God was saying something completely different. He wanted to be a part of my life-no matter who I was or what I had done. He didn't see me as a criminal. He didn't see me as a felon. He didn't see me as a number. But rather, he saw me-and he saw hope." Christopher had finally found the acceptance he had always been searching for! Not from man but from his creator! Gods love is so amazing!!
I also found it amazing that God uses Christopher's struggle with homosexuality to in effect save his mother too. From reading this book I think it is doubtful that she would have humbled herself and sought after God if not for this struggle in Christopher's life that shattered her "perfect" world and dreams for her son. She likely would have continued to try and keep up appearances that everything in her life was just fine rather then admit she was a sinner in need of a savior. One of my favorite lines in the book was when she wrote "I no longer had to be perfect. My Father in heaven loved me anyway. It was all I could do to keep from shouting, "I'm a sinner!, I'm a sinner!, I'm a sinner!" Love that so much!! Its pretty amazing how God uses our very struggles and weaknesses to draw us to him. We can never know His full plan and why he allows us to struggle with certain things. Really makes me think about my own struggles with SSA. Who knows where I would be without them? God has a plan for me and will continue to use my struggles to draw me to him and be a testimony of His love for even me with my sins and all and His love for all sinners.
One of my favorite chapters was the one titled "Holy Sexuality". Its a great chapter for those like me who struggle with same sex attractions. It talked about how the goal is not heterosexuality but instead holy sexuality. Like Christopher for a very long time in my life I thought God saw me as an abomination and that in order for him to be pleased with me I had to change my attractions somehow and become straight. I am finally learning over the past year that is not true at all. All God wants is for me to trust him and do my best to obey. Like Christopher said in the book "God never said, "Be heterosexual for I am heterosexual." He said, "Be Holy for I am holy." I also loved his view that marriage could one day be possible since we don't have to be attracted to ALL women which is very overwhelming for the SSA individual but just to one. I too could see that happening one day possibly for me and it gives me hope. If it never happens I am sure God will provide for me in my single life to even if at times there are struggles of loneliness. After all as this quote so perfectly says "Change is not the absence of struggles change is the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles."
Anyways this is by far one of the best books I have read on homosexuality and Gods love for the SSA struggler, you should consider reading it! It goes so far beyond just that one issue though. This book gives hope to all sinners and prodigals no matter what they struggle with that God loves them and wants nothing more then for them to surrender and admit they need him. He is ready to accept us with open arms even with all the dirt and filth and sins and everything that we struggle with just like the prodigal sons father did in the Bible when he finally came home.