Come on now, be rational. How can God use my shameful secrets and wicked sin for his glory? His glory can surely only come when I get rid of what’s wrong with me. I’m cleaned and the stains are washed away. The log is taken out of my eye. The sinful hand or foot is cut off and left behind.
And then I remember that God created me. He designed me specifically to be me. He had a purpose in mind for every part of me. How I use myself may be bad or sinful, but what I am is his design, and I must either confess that his design is very good, or reject him as God.
Moses is remembered for bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. In his youth, he had a passionate anger and a love for his people that led him to kill an Egyptian man who was beating an Israelite slave. So his adoptive father, the Pharaoh, sought to kill him, and Moses had to flee. He made a new life with shepherds in another country, Midian, instead of among his people or in the palace in which he was raised. Murder is bad. It’s even one of the Ten Commandments! Moses surely was mad with himself. He had killed a man, he was apart from his people, and his people did not love him. One Israelite had condemned him before he left:
“Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” (Exodus 2:14)
If I were Moses, I would want to distance myself from the anger that had ruined my life and hopes and dreams. But God wasn’t finished with Moses. And God didn’t plan to make Moses better by removing his anger. What caused Moses much grief early on was shaped by God over Moses’ 40 years of hiding into an essential tool for Moses to lead. As he grew in relationship with God, his maturing spirit developed patience and self-control, turning Moses into the great person we remember him to be (and who God made him to be), driven by his deep passion for his people and his relationship with God, to save God’s people.
Now, the Israelites were a sad bunch. They couldn’t remember freedom, and they were weak. They had little trust in God, and even after they were set free they noisily whined and complained about everything. Having to wander the desert for 40 years didn’t help. Moses needed that consuming love and emotion for Israel, that once drove him to murder for their sake, to be able to lead them tirelessly. What Moses used on his own caused disaster for him, but when God joined his life, it became an essential tool for building God’s kingdom.
This gives me hope.
One of my shameful secrets is that I enjoy rape-themed sexual fantasies. This is something I have struggled to rid myself of, and hidden – it’s never something I would want to admit. I hate it! I hate what it turns me into, like an animal, filthy and repulsive. It has always scared me that I would somehow want to have someone rape me, even in my imagination. Something about that loss of power appeals to a part of me that cannot be denied. I am confused when I hear everyone decrying rape, and then I look inside myself and scold, “How could you want that? What are you? Surely not normal, not human.”
So, three or four times in the last two years, I have started shaking when I was worshipping God for an extended time – either through song (3x) or through listening to someone speak the gospel again in truth (1x). Last night was the third time with song. So I did a Google search to try to find explanations. I have to bring this experience to God in prayer before I can actually read the sites I’ve pulled up, and let him teach me first. Still, I happened to read the line that someone “shakes when the spirit falls on them” and a shiver went through me. This gives me a very small shift in perspective – a partial explanation, and as yet incompletely satisfying. But it’s something.
Maybe, just maybe, this much-hated desire of mine can be transformed. Where it is directed into the world, to have my person overcome is to have a person, a man, rape me. But to direct it into the spiritual realm is to desire for God to overtake me, for his Holy Spirit to fall on me. That makes me a little bit uncomfortable, nervous, because I know God can actually overtake me like that, and if I ask him, he will. It is so strange to think that what I had always wanted, and could only hate that I wanted, I can now have, and have it fully, deeper than it could have been if my greatest fantasies were fulfilled by men. A glass of water has been traded for the sea. Is this part of the meaning of God as my “lover”? I am so excited that what I want (to be consumed) and what God wants (to consume me) can be the same.
I can let this part of myself emerge now. It’s not a weed, but a flower that was growing upside-down. I wonder what it will be like as God continues to transform me into what he has made me to finally become. But the journey is going to be incredible.
I stand in wonder of how God made me. He planned it out this way. He is not replacing me with himself, like I thought for so long. I thought he would go through me and take out what is sinful, and replace it with what he is. I was so mad with him that I needed to be changed so much, that I would lose who I am and become a stereotypical Christian, a Jesus-copy. But instead of switching out my parts that don’t work with his parts, he is just moving pieces around and giving parts new direction. I am still all me, but in a better way. Can I say I’m more me than I was before? And I’m closer to God (more satisfied in him), bless his name.
What can be used for the most good can also be used for the most evil. So the parts of me that I most hate may be one and the same with God’s favorite parts of me, because when they are used wrongly, they cause me the most pain and shame, but when I use them the right way they bring us both the most joy.
I pray that you would be encouraged to seek God’s will for what you feel you have to hide about yourself. I pray that he will guide you on the wild, weird, incredible journey of salvation. And I pray that you will be able to find satisfaction in knowing that every last bit of you was created by God and will be wonderful when used in line with his will. Amen.