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Do Not Be Frightened!

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:13-16

I’m scared. Terrified, really. My book is on the path to publication and it won’t be long until my private life and thoughts will be splashed before everyone I know and many I don’t. Searching for Love: One Woman’s Spiritual Journey through Same-Sex Attraction. Why have I agreed to publish it if I’m so afraid? I want others to know what God can do, that he is just as real and powerful today as he was two thousand years ago and that he is still in the people-changing business. What he has done for me, he can do for you. There is nothing in our lives that grips us so powerfully that God cannot loosen the grip and set us free—free to say no to those things which have held us in bondage for far too long.

So why am I afraid? There are many who have nothing but aversion to anyone and everyone connected to homosexuality. When those in this group who know me learn about my past, will they turn away from me with distaste and abhorrence? Rejection hurts and I don’t particularly like pain. There are others who see any suggestion that homosexuality is other than the best for those with such inclinations as homophobic and hateful. And so I am scared.

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’” It is right for me to share what God has done for me. In truth, I cannot be silent. I must share his goodness with others. What if I’m faced with rejection and hatred? Peter says that if I suffer for what is right, I am blessed. Do not fear. Do not be frightened. That’s a hard command to obey. Fear rises, unbidden.

"In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." Is that the answer to my fear? Can I be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo who said, "Our God can and will save us from the fiery furnace but even if he doesn't, we willingly go to our death, rather than disobey him"? (Daniel 3) Can I have that kind of confidence in my Lord or does fear have a greater hold on my heart than Jesus?

Keep "a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." My fear, in essence, is of malicious slander, of those who will turn or speak against me. Do I allow that to stop me or am I so convinced that God's story in my life needs to be told that I will tell it despite fearful possibilities?

Father, fear overwhelms me at times but you tell me not to fear. Please enable me to obey you despite how I feel. Give me the courage to do what is right, even when it will result in pain.

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About the Author

DEBBIE HAUGHLAND CHAN
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

Memories of Mikael Vincent Tien Doe Chan

Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at debbiehaughland@gmail.com or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …