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End of the Rainbow
by Benjamin Anderson ©1998
Benjamin Anderson, a former pastor, published a newsletter for gays and lesbians, God's Rainbow of Promise, for several years. He shared his story on the GLOWfriends list in 1998. He is currently director of a language school in Russia, and we are publishing his compiled story here on the basis of his original permission to use his contributions any way we considered helpful.
I knew I was different for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories were same-sex feelings. I won't bore you with all the common childhood and teen experiences at this time, but, suffice it to say, back in the fifties, the only option open for my future, was to get married.
We had no sex education classes in school and the church, and the family never talked about it. So I just assumed that if I got married and had enough sex with my wife, these feelings would go away.
As you know, "that ain't the case." After 25 years of what I call a fairly good marriage with three kids in college, I still couldn't figure out why I was still drawn to men. When I started going through the mid-life crisis -- at least that's what they said I was going through -- I became very discouraged and started experimenting rather than just thinking about it. As is usually true, first came lust, then came the act.
One thing led to another, and I finally just gave up trying. In a nutshell, I was found out. Almost overnight, I was fired from my pastoral position, lost my house, wife, and everything else that I had been used to or cared about.
My wife, whom I had told about my same-sex attraction before we got married, decided to get remarried in about a year after our divorce. Then while singing with the Seattle Gay Men's chorus on tour in Washington, D.C., and NYC, I met a man who was to become my lover, partner, significant other, or what ever you want to call it for the next thirteen years.
I lived with Bill1 from 1984-1996. I had everything the world had to offer. Cars, houses, money, clothes, European holidays, you name it. All this came along with popularity, parties, and the social life of fun and excitement. I came out with a vengeance! There wasn't a gay bar, back room, cruising area (inside or out, U.S or Europe) that I didn't want to experience. Everything that the gay world had to offer, I was game to try, and that included some things I don't care to mention.
I'm not telling you this to pique your curiosity, but to let you know that I've "been there and done that." I had everything the world had to offer, but one thing, and that was peace. I had never taken a drink before attending my first gay bar. But drinking soon became enjoyable. I never considered myself an alcoholic, but I could drink till my friends fell asleep and still drive home. It was one way to avoid listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit that kept whispering to me.
As I would see things happening on the TV
that reminded me that Jesus was coming back soon, my thoughts would turn to
God, and I would silently cry out for help, not knowing how or what to ask
for, as I didn't see any answers for my life. There were so many things I
would have to give up, so many things I had become entangled in, that I
couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But as family and friends
continued to pray for me, the voice of God's Spirit was becoming stronger
and stronger, and I knew I had to do something to regain the peace I had
lost. However, totally surrendering my life to Jesus was hard to do!
The first Friday night of 1996, after a big dinner, drinking, and hot tub party, I went to sleep, only to get up and go into the living room and pray. I was under conviction that I needed to make a decision. I couldn't go on the way I was. I had to have peace. Whatever it took, I had to have it. So after much praying, crying, and turmoil, I surrendered my life over to the Lord -- hook, line and sinker. Yep, you got it, everything! I didn't know how God was going to work things out, but it was now His problem. And the peace that I had been missing all those years, came flooding back into my soul! Oh, how I had missed that feeling of knowing that things were right with God! It is the peace that passes all understanding!
I knew I had a long journey ahead of me, but with God's help I would keep on the path. He didn't let me down, and I've had joy in my heart I've ever since. Oh, yes, I did have fun in the world. Anyone who says that the ways of the world are all sadness and gloom doesn't know what they're talking about. However, without God and His peace, it's a very temporary "high."
After I decided to surrender my life back to the Lord, it was as if I was in a different world. Sometimes I'd be sooo happy with the decision I'd made because of the peace it brought me. At other times, I'd almost be in a panic, thinking what had I done?!! Sometimes the devil would come at me with an almost overwhelming temptation to doubt that I was not going to be able to go through with my commitment. It was at times like these that I would have to fall on my knees and say, "Lord, uphold me, help me to be strong, give me courage even though I can't see how You're going to work out all my problems." And as I'd stay there on my knees, slowly His peace would come in and calm my fears. This was while I was still living at home with Bill, my lover of thirteen years. I had to claim the promise in Philippians 1:6 many times.
I knew Bill was seeing someone on the side, and I couldn't blame him, as we were no longer having sexual relations, but it still hurt. Of course he denied it at first. To make things worse, the guy he was seeing was another former SDA. Here I was trying to witness to him about what God was doing for me, while this was taking place.
Finally, Bill said that there was no use for us to continue to live in the same house as we were going in such different directions. I had to agree, but I hated the thought of living apart. When the house sold, he bought another and continued to work at the job he always had and continued to make good money. I moved into a rental.
I was in a much different position than Bill, however. When I moved in with him I was considered the "house-band" and stayed home to do the cooking, cleaning and gardening, etc., etc., etc. Therefore, I had no job to turn to. I had been a pastor, and the church was not ready to hire me, so what was I to do? Talk about having to trust!!
The Lord has not let me down, and I'm still surviving. I'm still good friends with Bill, as I want to see him saved. Otherwise it would be easier not to have to know about all his dates, parties, etc., and all that it involves.
When I first moved into my rental place and slept alone, it was the first time I had ever lived by myself. I got married before I finished college. That lasted 25 years. Then I had a room mate for a while until I met Bill.
I cried myself to sleep many a night. But I found out a long time ago that crying has a way of helping to keep your emotions balanced. So I've learned not to worry about the macho image that men are supposed to uphold, and let the tears fall. I usually feel better after a good cry, except for the runny stuffy nose!!! (Ha)
But on a cheerier note, life does get better. In May, I'll have lived here a whole year. I've learned a lot about myself. I sometimes think that it's not so bad living alone. (I can't believe I said that) But I've gotten so involved with my church and others, that my pain doesn't seem quite so bad.
Plus, I KNOW that I want to be ready for Jesus to return. I believe it's very soon. What we have to go through is nothing compared to what Jesus has already gone through for us! This life of heartache and sorrows will soon be over. Jesus has promised to wipe away all our tears.
I continue to pray for Bill every day, but know that I can't force him to change. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, and if he refuses, I have to leave him in God's hands. I know that God loves him and will save him if at all possible. It makes it a lot easier to live when you turn your loved one over to the Lord. (Notice I just said easier, not easy!)
I haven't even begun to touch on all the things that have happened. Eternity won't be long enough to tell what Jesus has done for me! I praise Him for bringing me back -- the lost sheep, the prodigal son and the lost coin all wrapped up in one. The Bible has come alive for me. Its promises are true! We may receive strength to become the children of God. He has opened His heart of love to all of us. All we have to do is fall on the "Rock" and be broken.
Whatever the Holy Spirit tells us to give up, we must be willing to surrender. Like the pearl of great price in the parable, salvation requires everything, but it is freely offered to all as the "water of life."
May everyone of us be found ready for the most stupendous event of the ages. It's just around the corner. And Jesus wants everyone of us to be there with Him in the New Earth, where there will be no pain, sorrow, or disappointments. There all our trials will seem very small indeed compared to the wonderful things He has prepared for us!
In His steps,
1. "Bill" is a pseudonym.
Postscript: About the year 2000, Benjamin remarried and went on a mission trip to Russia. We haven't heard from him since, and if you know how to contact him, please let us know.