Gay Doesn't Mean Happy

by John Jackson* as told to Muriel Larson

When I was eleven, my Little League coach spotted me as a lonely kid and took me home for a weekend. On the first night he seduced me with hugging and sweet talk. That began an "affair" that lasted for well over a year, when he had found some other boys to prey on. But he had already ruined my sexual orientation during my formative years.

In junior high I noticed my friends were interested in girls. But I wasn't. What was wrong? Why was I different? In high school I wasn't interested in girls either, although they chased me because I was a good dancer and a rock musician.

Then my best friend told me, "John, I have received Jesus Christ as my Savior. I'm switching from drugs, sex, and rock to Jesus, church, and Bible studies." So we parted ways, because by this time I figured I was a homosexual and that wasn't compatible with religion.

From what I heard, homosexuals were born that way, so what else could I do? At a disco where men also danced together, I got in with the "gay" crowd. Before long I let everybody I knew at school know that I was gay.

One day I told a girl in English class that I was gay.

"Why?" she asked. "Guess I was born that way," I said. "If God hadn't meant for me to be like that, I wouldn't be."

At college I sought "love" by visiting "gay" bars and engaging in casual liaisons. After a while, however, I began to think there was no such thing as love. I found out that "gay" didn't mean "happy."

It wasn't healthy either. I contracted gonorrhea twice, and also had to have a colon operation. I was sick in bed for several months.

One night I discussed religion with a black homosexual friend of mine.

"Bill, what do you think God thinks about us and what we do?" I said. "Well, John, I think He understands when you're born with affections for other men you can't change them."

"Yeah, I guess if He wants us different, He'll have to change us." Little did I realize I was uttering a prophetic truth.

At the university I attended, my friends and I skipped classes on sunny days and lounged on the lawn by the Student Union. Something was always going on-bands playing, drama teams acting, and ministers from local churches preaching.

My gay friends and I made fun of the preachers. "Amen, amen, brother," we'd chant. They'd tell us that dopers, homos, and other immoral people were going to hell if they didn't repent. They preached about Jesus and the need to receive Him as Savior; but I can't remember their saying He could change our lives.

One spring day I cut psychology class. The dogwoods were in bloom; it was a great day for lounging outside. A musical group was playing and singing religious songs. Between songs they shared personal stories about how Jesus Christ had changed their lives.Then a man began preaching about the power of God. "Jesus is alive!" he declared. "He arose from the dead, and the same power that raised Him from the dead can give you a new life. You might be into drugs or immorality, and some of you may be homosexuals. But Jesus can change you from inside out. When you thought you had no hope, God gave His Son to bear the penalty for your sins, to break the power of sin in your life and give you a brand new life!"

Often I had prayed, "God, if You can change me, I'll serve You." But I had never really believed He could or would. Yet that day I heard Him clearly speak to my mind. "John, if you are serious, then today I will change you and give you a new life."

Afterwards I went up to the group and a big professional basketball player spoke to me. "John, if you're serious about wanting God to change you," he said, "come to the chapel this afternoon at three." I did, and when I arrived they told me they had praying for me for hours!

As they showed me scriptures, I realized that God had never intended for me or anybody to be gay-that it had been a big lie perpetuated by God's enemy, the devil. And when I surrendered and prayed to receive Christ, I felt a heavy weight had been removed from my shoulders and heart. What peace I had! They baptized me that very afternoon.

Within weeks the gay crowd at the university had heard of the miraculous change in my life through God's power. But I won't say it was easy for me to get over a habit of thinking I had had for years! I was still attracted to men. However, my pastor assured me that God would rebuild my thinking and encouraged me to draw near to God and resist the devil in His power. So I did. As a new Christian, I had so much to learn! I drank in God's Word.

Eventually I became a member of a musical trio, practicing often with two young women. One was Jennifer, friendly, smart, and full of the Lord. About that time the Lord impressed me that I ought to get married. Then I'd be talking to the Lord about it-and Jennifer's face would come to my mind. Before long, I realized I was actually falling in love with a girl for the first time in my life! I even found that I felt jealous of another guy that Jennifer was friendly with!

Jennifer loved me, too, and when the Lord spoke to her heart, our pastor gave us his blessing. On our wedding night I was a little afraid, for I had never been with a woman before. But that was the most wonderful night in my life, when I discovered what true God-given love was all about. Jennifer and I not only became one in the Lord physically, but emotionally and spiritually too.

Since then the Lord has given us five beautiful children; and Jennifer and I are in the full-time service of the Lord.

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