There is an article by Keith N. Hamilton in the latest LDS Living magazine. It is titled God Gifted Me My Race and discusses how he believes that his race and many things that come with his race are gifts from God. Many would assume that this active LDS member is white and would shake their head (either in the affirmative as white LDS members or in the negative as anti-LDS members). Well, they would be incorrect. Brother Keith is an African American Latter-Day Saint and in the first paragraph he says "I believe the color of my skin is ultimately a gift from God."
Brother Keith addresses some of the great talents and characteristics of his race that he feels are strong gifts from God. But, interestingly enough, he also talks about all of the struggles of race relations and equality over the past fifty-some years. These experiences outside and inside the church wouldn't readily be considered gifts by many, no matter your faith.
I have wondered and thought about this topic and my own circumstance. Is my sexual orientation (being gay) a gift from God? I have often considered it a strong gift from God. But, do others believe this, too? Many, if not most, LDS members would probably consider it a curse or at the very least a trial. Many people in the gay community wouldn't even consider God in the equation.
Of course, I can only speak about my own experiences. I am sure there are plenty of gays that are self centered, jerks, and even down evil. However, in my life, I feel blessed to have some particular characteristics that I feel are in accompany my being gay. For example, more than almost any other aspect in my life, I have been forced by my circumstances to consider others and their points of view. Since I, myself, have been forced to break out of the ordinary view of life, I have been able to step back in many instances to ask how others are going through a certain aspect of life, trial or not. I can't tell you how many times I hear people saying something very stereotypical about gays or race or gender.
Being gay has helped me consider that not everything is neatly placed on the shelves of life. There are so many differences that make each of us beautiful and unique. And, I believe, they are all gifts of God to help us understand how to survive and adapt in life. More importantly, they are all characteristics that allow us to learn acceptance and true Christ-like love (Charity).
I believe that I am more sensitive to others and have an uncanny ability to listen to their situations and be non-judgemental. Ask any of my friends, who continually turn to me for advice or just to rant / rave about a situation. It has been part of my life. At times it is a burden, at times it is a blessing.
There are other numerous gifts that I have received by being gay. I do believe God gave me the gift of being gay. What about you?