Written by Adventist Radio London on December 3, 2019
In Christ alone
Christopher Yuan was a dental student by day and drug dealer by night. But he was not afraid, in fact, he felt invincible. Soon after moving away for dental school, Christopher shared with his parents that he was gay, and he was making the most out of the party scene, without a care in the world.
His double life caught up with him, though. The university found out and Christopher was expelled from dental school, just four months before graduation. Undeterred, he moved to Chicago and continued to use and sell drugs. Christopher abandoned himself to a lifestyle of partying and uncontrolled promiscuity.
But his mother, “Lord, do whatever it takes to bring this prodigal son to You,” she would say in her prayer closet.1 She fasted once a week for her son, and in one occasion, Angela fasted for 39 days in a row. The answer to her prayers came years later, with a knock on Christopher’s door. Twelve federal drug enforcement agents walked into Christopher’s flat and confiscated his drugs. He was charged with possessing the street value equivalent of 9.1 tons of marijuana.
Christopher was sentenced to six years in federal prison. On his third day, he walked by a pile of rubbish and saw a book on top. It was a Gideon’s New Testament. Having nothing better to do, Christopher picked it up and started reading it. He started to see he had rebelled not only against man, but against God.
But things were going to get worse, before they got any better. One day, Christopher was sent to the nurse’s office. Looking worried, and without being able to keep eye-contact, the nurse passed him a piece of paper. Christopher looked down and saw three letters and a symbol – “HIV+”.
Feeling he had received a life sentence; he went back to his cell. Christopher lay down and looked up at the graffiti-covered bunk, “If you are bored, read Jeremiah 29:11.” He did. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” For the first time in his life, Christopher believed that God could use even him. Maybe he had something to look forward to!
As Christopher read every page of his New Testament, he felt convicted. God was inviting him to find his identity and purpose only in Him, not in his past or his sexual orientation. Christopher resolved to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.2
While in prison, Christopher felt called to ministry. His sentence was shortened to 3 years, and Christopher applied to the Moody Bible Institute, using a prison guard as one of his references. He was accepted and graduated in the year 2005. Today, Dr Christopher Yuan teaches Theology of Sexuality at Moody Bible Institute. He has penned a number of books, including, “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God” and “Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story.”
It is wonderful to consider that the words that turned Christopher’s life around are still true today. God has a plan for you. We serve a God that can bring hope out of a wasted life, and a future out of a prison sentence. It is not too late. You have not ruined God’s plans for you beyond repair. God is the great recycler of our past, He will “restore the years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). Come to the Father, it is never too late.
1 The popular Christian novel “War Room” was dedicated to Angela Yuan for her bold prayers.
2 Recently, I had the privilege to interview Dr Christopher Yuan to explore his concept of holy sexuality. If you’d like to hear that conversation, visit http://adventistradio.london/podcast/on-the-go/ .