12 What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.  Matthew 18:12-14 (NRSV)

You may have noticed that there was a different post here earlier. For several different reason, I chose to delete it. I started these Sunday posts to better understand my relationship with God, and I have lost my way. I feel as if I am the lost sheep mentioned above, but that my Shepherd has left me to the wolves. That feeling was all to apparent as I sat in church this morning. I felt so disconnected and sad, and it horrified me. With very rare exceptions, the church I grew up in has always been a source of comfort. No matter how far away I may have roamed, I could be in that church and feel closer to God. Today, I didn’t. Today, I only felt sorrow and abandonment. The music did not ease my heart as it has in the past. The sermon offered no comfort. I even got choked when I took communion. I so wanted to feel God within me after I took communion, and I almost did for a few short moments, but it quickly faded. I couldn’t bring myself to sing along. When we sang the song “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be,” I cried and tears flowed down my face.

The friend who I lost was not perfect, none of us are. He had his problems like we all had, but he’d always believed me when I told him that God would always be there to love him and care for him. I believe that he is with God right now. It’s the only comfort I can take from all of this. I feel as if God did not protect my friend as He should have. Few people in this world are truly selfless and giving but my friend was. I know that he is blessed in the hereafter, and that I will see him again but I needed him here longer. He needed to be here longer so that he could fulfill all the wonderful things he was going to accomplish. My friend still had a lot of love to give, and I am sorry that he won’t be able to do so. I am making it a point to carry on his legacy. I want to be as giving and as loving as he always was. I don’t expect to ever be able to fill his shoes, but I will do my best.

By the way, if you think that I am exaggerating on the goodness of my friend, then you’d be wrong. If he thought someone needed it, he’d literally give them the shirt off his back. If you were upset, no matter what his problems were, he made sure that you were okay first. If there was something you needed, he’d either get it to you, often without taking credit, or he would help you get it. I’ve honestly never known a more selfless and loving person. While some may think it was just the way he was with me, I don’t know of a single soul who truly knew him that didn’t love him and feel the same way. That is one of the reasons that this has been so difficult to deal with.

Maybe one day I will be back to being more idealistic and optimistic about God, but I have a lot of issues to work through right now. I have not given up, nor will I, but there are a lot of things to work out and reality can be a bit too harsh at times. One of the hardest things has been my feeling of separation from God. I miss my friend, and I miss my relationship with God. While my therapist may help me deal with the loss of my friend, I need someone to help guide me spiritually. I am begging someone to help me.

I know that there are ministers and former ministers who read this blog, and I want to ask a favor of you. For now, until I work out my own issues with God, I cannot wrote my usual Sunday posts. I do not feel the guidance of God that I had felt before. Therefore, I beg of one of you to please help me. I would love it if one of you would write my weekly devotionals for me. I need help to be guided back to God and I cannot do it alone, so if you are willing to help, please email me at jec1918@gmail.com. I know that I cannot do this alone, which is why I am asking for help. Many of you have written such encouraging comments and emails, and I know some of you are up to taking over this task for a short while. I cannot write about overcoming grief and dealing with issues of sadness and feelings of abandonment by God any longer. After a while, it is just the same thing over and over, and for my sake and others who read this blog, I want this to be a positive place. I am unable to being that positivity and optimism at the moment. I hope someone will agree to help.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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