Sometimes I do a little thought experiment and imagine what my life might have been like if I hadn’t become convinced about Scripture’s ‘no’ to same-sex sexual activity after I’d become a Christian at 19. What if I’d somehow persuaded myself that loving, committed same-sex sexual relationships were ok with God? What if I thought that the Bible showed that God would be delighted if I married another woman and that having sex with her would be an honouring act that brought glory to him? That genital contact between people of the same sex makes God glad? Maybe I would have managed to convince myself that paying thousands of pounds for a baby is a God-honouring thing to do as well. Maybe. This is a massive leap from Scripture and a massive stretch of the imagination for me, but let’s stick with it and see where it leads.
This isn’t hypothetical for me as I’ve had opportunities to have all this. In my early Christian life, I was in a loving, committed same-sex relationship with a Christian woman which I walked away from because I believed God had something better for me. What if I hadn’t made that choice? Maybe I would have had a high-flying career, a committed lesbian relationship, and lovely kids, and that’s the very best that life could offer without full obedience to God. But I don’t want to settle for that. I want more. I don’t want a wife or children or career who are more important to me than my God.
He has given me so much more than I would have given myself.
Sometimes people tell me that I’m missing out on the best of life as I pursue a path of singleness and celibacy. But I think it’s my friends who’ve bought into the cultural narrative about what we need to be fulfilled – romance and sex on our terms – that are really missing out. They’re missing the depths of intimacy that only God can provide. They’re missing the wild adventure of learning to trust God with our deepest desires and wanting him more than anyone or anything else.
So, when I occasionally think about what could have been, it’s not with any sense of regret or bitterness. Rather, it’s with a deep gratitude to God that he has given me so much more than I would have given myself.
‘It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’ 1
- C. S. Lewis, ‘The Weight of Glory'. Accessed 8 March 2022.