I am currently reading through New Testament scholar Wesley Hill’s powerful and vulnerable memoir called Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. In his book, Hill recounts his coming to terms with his evangelical faith in Jesus with his homosexual attractions. While there are more than a few places that are worth drawing out, I wanted to highlight one particular passage.
In one passage, Hill discovered for the first time the necessity to understand his status as the beloved child of God. Above all identities and all beliefs, he needed to hear that he is the beloved child.
For Hill, his baptism identifies him with Jesus and it gives him a measure of strength and grace to wait in the tension of this present life. He remains faithful to the calling of Jesus while living in the tension of unfulfilled sexual desire. That is very tough.
His memoir, though, got me thinking about my own identity. As I go through a season of unemployment, I have found the need to transform my identity from what I do for a living, to who I am apart from a business card. Every time I log into LinkedIn, I am confronted with my lack of employment, and it is pretty painful to be reminded of it.
Have you ever had a similar feeling?
That’s why Hill’s reminder of identity is so crucial in difficult stations of life. He brings in N.T. Wright’s grace filled admonition to look to the cross of Jesus, for there we see the extravagant and inexorable self-giving love of the triune God. There we see our identity.
Did you catch that?
When we look away from ourselves and place our vision on the crucified Christ, we are able to see that we are radically loved. We are loved not because of our job, or deeds, or talents, or charm, but simply because. Simply because of Jesus and in our union with him (which deserves a ten part blog series).
Is there more to it? Of course there is! I’ve heard it said that the Christian faith is a pool that has ample room for toddlers to wade in the shallows and has enough depth for those who want to dive. But for now, we are simply loved by Jesus. And I simply hope you grasp this incredible news.