Why me Lord, Why me?
"For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together
in my mother’s womb..."
-Psalm 139:13-18, NIV
I love these verses from the Psalms of David. What a wonderful confirmation. It is a passage I return to time and time again. GOD MADE ME THE WAY I AM. God knew I was gay even before I was born. I praise God for my Life.
I was brought up in a God-fearing Brethren home. My early life was centered on the church. I had a strict upbringing. Our family was a large one. I was the eldest with 5 younger sisters and 1 brother. There were 5 years between myself and my next sister. So I always seemed on the outer.
As I didn’t know my father until I was 5 (due to the war), I was starved of male love. When he arrived it was I that put up a barrier. Who was this male that was coming between me and my Mother whom I adored. I don’t know if this had anything to do with being Gay but now I look back on my life I always seem to have Gay traits as far as I can remember.
Sex was never spoken of within the family. I grew up completely innocent. My father I never saw naked. The only remembrance of my puberty years was the shock of finding hair growing in unusual places of which I was very self conscious about and when changing in swimming sheds at school I would hide myself from others seeing me. I also found it very pleasurable playing with oneself. One day my father caught me at this.
He straightaway bundled me into his car and drove me to our doctors home (it was around 9 pm) and quoting scripture, told me he was going to get the doctor to cut off my hand. The scripture came from Matthew 5:30: “if your hand offend you, cut it off”.
You can understand the effect this would have on a young lad. I became very messed up as far as sex was concerned.
My father died when I was 18. He was only 49. Shortly after he died I left home and like the prodigal son in the Bible (Luke 15), went up from the country to the lights of the city. I tasted the high life and found it pleasing. I did the usual things that a young lad did but nothing sexual.
Quickly the things of God disappeared. I started drinking, smoking and mixing with the wrong crowd. I was 23 when I first tasted the delights of sex. I still did not know that much about it. I found myself on one of the “Gay Beats” in Auckland. I was approached by this older guy who took me for coffee.
That was the beginning I enjoyed his company. I was still innocent. I did not know of homosexuality as such, since coming from a much guarded life and not being taught the facts of life (this was quite the norm in the 1950s).
My next step was a 2 year relationship, which was wonderful. Here was a man that loved me, something I never felt from my father. He was interested in me as a person. It is sad that it did not last. Being young in my sex life I wanted more. So next stop, Australia and Kings Cross.
Wow my eyes were opened. Did I enjoy myself? Sex was on tap and we were now into the swinging sixties. Yet something was missing. I wasn’t fully content.
I returned to New Zealand. Back in Auckland I met him. It was a love that lasted for 35 years. Yes, gays can have long-lasting relationships. He was 9 years my junior. We traveled the world together and returned to settle in Auckland. It was the late 1970s and my mother was in very ill health.
When she died I found myself looking at my faith again but this time I became very involved with the charismatic movement and the Metropolitan Community Church in Auckland, a gay-oriented group of Christians. The problem I had there was that the word was out, that no other church groups would accept gays. It felt like a gay ghetto church.
I wanted to be able to worship my God with other Christians, with no sexual connotations involved. It was so sad that sexual orientation should divide the church. In my Bible Jesus dwelt among all types of people. He never said anything about sexual orientation.
I also worshiped with the AOG church in Queen Street for 2 years. Still the church made us feel dirty because of sexual orientation. They loved us as sinners but did not love our "sin."
About this time my partner and I went into business together. I had learned to decorate cakes and started a company in Auckland. My company was a little different in that the cakes were sculptured. One day a customer came in and asked for an unusual design. They wanted the cake in the shape of the male appendage.
This changed the business altogether. People saw the cake and the idea pyramided. We changed our address and the name of the company. The Rude Food Cake Company arrived and the address was right in the middle of the red light district of Auckland.
The flesh set in again and the things of God disappeared. We became quite famous. TV film crews from all over the world converged on us. The business ran for 10 years. During this time I had a nephew who had trained for the ministry.
He would pop in from time to time and his first words to me were: ”I’m praying for you Unca Muzza”. We would both laugh but really he was praying that I would find Jesus in a real way.
Then it happened. God intervened. I was found to have an aneurysm of the aorta. I had to walk out of my business as I was the only one able to decorate the cakes. I had open heart surgery, a graft on my aorta and an artificial aortic valve replacement.
Shortly after surgery I suffered two minor strokes down the left side. I was unable to continue my business. Also due to my health problems I had to look at my relationship. I could not expect my partner who was 9 years my junior and still quite active to sit around and watch me deteriorate. My partner found a wonderful new friend. I was happy in that he had found a new loving partner and I still had many friends.
It was now 2005. God was about to make big changes in my life. My partner and his friend decided to sell in New Zealand and settle on the Sunshine coast in Queensland. In doing so He wanted to sell his half of the property we had together.
He and his friend asked me would I like to accompany them to Australia as they had found a property in the hinterland with a small cottage, completely separate from their house. I had always thought of retiring in Australia. I immediately said yes.
Shortly after arriving I was rushed down to Brisbane by helicopter to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. I had a sub-dural hematoma (a bleed in the brain). I needed urgent surgery. My doctor told me at the time I was between a rock and a hard place.
All he could advise me was that I could have a massive stroke while on the table or I could die from the bleed. I felt at complete peace. I now know that it was God that gave me this. The operation was a success but I would have to return in three months.
I returned in three months to find that I had had a further bleed so another operation. Peace again. I now know that it was faithful Christian family praying for me. Remember I was still far from my Lord.
Then it happened. I was driving one day and I heard a voice say audibly: “Murray I want you here on Sunday”. I turned my head and there was a church. You wouldn’t have noticed it if you were just driving by because it was well set back from the road. It was a Brethren church, the same denomination of my childhood and of my family.
I attended on Sunday and the love of the congregation made me feel very much at home. Now this is where the miracle happened. I was introduced to the Pastor who came from New Zealand. It turned out that he took his training in Dallas, Texas. I knew that my nephew also did his training in Texas.
I rang my sister who lives in New South Wales and asked her where my nephew trained. She said Dallas Seminary in Texas. I asked her did she know of my Pastor. She advised me that one of my nephew's best friends in Dallas was of the same name. Was God working? My nephew was the nephew that used to visit me in my cake shop in Auckland and tell me he was praying for me.
After attending for a few months my friends who came over from New Zealand started to worry about me. They asked me if the church knew I was gay. Plymouth Brethren are real fundamentalists. Gay is a no no for them. They did not want me to get hurt as a lot of gays had in the past with fundamental churches. I thought about this and rang my sister and told her what they had said.
I have been out for thirty years with my family and my nephew knew. She advised me not to worry. Next day my Pastor was at my door. He walked in and threw his arms around me and gave me a hug and told me that he loved me with unconditional love. I don’t blatantly throw my sexual orientation about. The people that I feel need to know within the church all know.
Brothers and sisters, the Bible is a book about the love of God. It is not a book on sexual orientation. God has promised his love for all those that believe on His Son
Whom He sacrificed for our sins, that we might live.
Why me? Because God loves me (and God loves you too)! God bless you all. Murray Downie. Jump to Part 2 of Murray's testimonyWould you like
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