White Chocolate, Pecan Eggs, Yellow Peeps, Jelly Beans, & Doubt

Easter.

Mom always made sure the Easter bunny brought white chocolate bunnies for my sister Julie, pecan eggs for me, and regular chocolate for Billy and Amy. And then there were the jelly beans and yellow peeps.

You may be a peep fan, but as far as I can determine they are proof we live in a flawed universe.

No peeps for me, yellow, pink, or any other color.

But then my mom scarred me for life–not by feeding me liver or brussel sprouts (which she did and it could have definitely done major damage, but so far, I am resisting therapy for that). No, by far the worst damage done by my mother was the new Easter clothes, particularly the emasculating burnt orange leisure suit.

It really existed.
I really had to wear it.
Can you feel my Easter pain?

(Laugh, Mom… You made Dad wear one too!)

A new friend asked me today what it was I desperately wanted to believe again?

This Easter weekend, please know I believe.
I believe in God the Father.
I believe in the Holy Spirt.
I believe in Jesus and his sacrificial death on behalf of sinners everywhere.

I believe in the goodness of God.

Somebody once suggested to me I needed to realize that God did not stop the Crucifixion of Jesus.

And the point seemed to be, that if God did not stop the death of His Son, there was no reason to stop the death of mine.

There is a huge difference here. The death of Jesus and His resurrection was a foregone conclusion. That was the plan. To redeem broken sinful man by the greatest of all sacrifices.

I am thankful for that.

I believe in the resurrection of the dead–I believe even now my son knows perfection first hand, up close, and personal.

And yet, I doubt. But my doubt is not about Cole or anybody else besides me.
Myself.
I.

Call me selfish or self-absorbed. I don’t care.

What I want to believe and know again with all of my heart is God’s love toward and protection of me. That God has my bests interests at heart.

That is my struggle.
Every fiber of who I am says God failed.
Or turned His back.

And I am not alone.
Those thoughts are felt and those words are expressed every day by countless others who cannot help but wonder why their lives are full of such pain and sorrow.

Like me, they want to believe and are searching even now for the faith, hope, and trust they want to put in the hands of God.

Happy Easter.
We still believe; we just have a few more doubts to wrestle with…

Les Ferguson, Jr.

15 thoughts on “White Chocolate, Pecan Eggs, Yellow Peeps, Jelly Beans, & Doubt

  1. No ! you are not alone most anyone that has been through the loss of loved one especially to a violent crime has surely had doubts and questions. I know i have had my share, but like you i still believe.. Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family Les.

  2. You’re not alone, Les. People all over this earth have struggled with wondering how God loves them more than anything when a spouse or child is taken from them, be it from a violent crime or disease or accidents.

    For that matter, people wonder after a rape, after divorce, after financial hardships, etc.

    Some do it for things that make others wonder how they can’t see blessings… but when it’s such a tragedy, well… even some of us are left sitting back scratching our heads and wondering “why them, Lord?”

    Easter peace and blessings, my friend.

  3. My friends, “doubting Christians” are a huge, yet secret society in the Church. Yes we believe, I too believe (insert Nicene Creed here), and yet…I still doubt. While others celebrate their “life verses” that are usually chock-o-full of victory, my favorite verse has always been, even from childhood, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” We are the Thomases (if that is a word) of the church. We pray with one eye open. We believe that God loves everyone, and that Jesus died for and accepts everyone who comes to Hiim, no matter how feebly, and yet there is a painful tweak in our hearts when we think of all that love applying to us. Yes, to us. We serve, we preach, we pray, we journey, and though we have been to the mountain top a time or two (or at least close), we spend a majority of our time in the valleys, looking up. This is not a journey of our own choosing. We often hate being this way as we look at the huge faith of others, yet we just can’t give up. We can’t turn our backs on this Jesus of Nazareth. In the depths of our soul we know that we love Him, even though at times, if we are honest, we doubt the application of His love for us. This is not His fault, and it may not even be ours, but it is what it is. It is in the honesty of being able to admit that we are “doubting Christians” that we truly have the freedom to grow. The M.W. Smith song lyrics “a troubled mind, and a doubter’s heart, you wonder how you got this far” speaks right to us. We are a crippled bunch, and we limp about, but we must remember something. St. Augustine was asked by a hurting person who was troubled by their doubts about whether they were saved. Whether they held the fullness of faith, for they felt guilty for their doubts and questions. St. Augustine said, “Think of faith as a cup of wine. One may hold it firmly where there is not one ripple to be seen, as if the contents were a red sheet of glass. Another may hold that same cup of wine with a shaky hand, with the contents so shaky that no reflection can be seen, even to the point of spilling some over the edge. Both hold the same contents (faith), one just holds it more steadily than the other, but both hold it in it’s fullness, for the contents are what matter, and not the human hand holding them.” ~ And so I believe it is with us. We may doubt, but we no less are held by the One who doesn’t shake or fail. One who knows what it is to walk in a dark garden with no light in sight…

  4. Thanks Les for such a transparent and genuine post.

    When I read:

    “What I want to believe and know again with all of my heart is God’s love toward and protection of me. That God has my bests interests at heart.”

    I hear you say:

    “If God really really really loved me then bad things would not happen to me.”

    Is that pretty accurate?

    I do think that most people struggle with God being a loving God because they embrace a theology that sees God as the inflictor or permitter of their pain.

    Personal story: I remember times in 1994 shortly after my first wife died when I hurt so much. I did not understand why she died at age 43. Yet each time I prayed my heart returned to the cross and I began to understand (in a very small way) that God loved me more than I could understand.

    Since that time the cross has made such a difference in my life. Each time I want to see Jesus as the inflictor or permitter of my pain I remember the cross where He suffered. And if we accept the idea that Jesus is God incarnate then we understand that God also suffered in this life.

    I still struggle with deep pain and heartache but not with God. How can I struggle with One who really really really loves me and comforts me in times of my deepest pain and despair?

    That said, I do understand how difficult it is to believe that God really really really loves us when we see Him as the inflictor or permitter of our pain.

    Thanks for this opportunity to share.

    Blessings, Bob

  5. Once again, Les, you’ve said exactly what I’ve been thinking.
    I appreciate, for once, feeling as though there is a venue for being able to doubt without feeling as though I’ve somehow failed someone or something, or that what I’m feeling is wrong.
    And just re: this line:
    “What I want to believe and know again with all of my heart is God’s love toward and protection of me. That God has my bests interests at heart.”
    I interpreted it a bit differently than the above commenter (I love a good discussion, hence the reply). I feel as though we all understand that bad things can and do happen to good people. The problem lies in feeling abandoned when those bad things happen. Shouldn’t God offer me comfort? When my heart is crying out, wouldn’t a loving God be there? If that’s true, why don’t I feel His presence? These are my big questions.

    • “Shouldn’t God offer me comfort? When my heart is crying out, wouldn’t a loving God be there? If that’s true, why don’t I feel His presence? ”

      Love your take on that Heather! My question is more in the human realm. In essence I wonder why people who profess to have God’s spirit in them not be there to comfort us when we hurt. I have been struggling with that since my sister passed away in January.

      I guess mostly I am not wanting a mystical Jesus experience as much as a “Jesus with skin on” one. Again, I do not see God as the problem but the people that claim to be His. In other words, why do we blame God and cut people slack?

      • That’s a good question, Bob. I guess from my perspective, people get cut slack because they are fallible people. God, on the other hand, is perfect. So when the unthinkable happens, some of us just can’t grasp a perfect God allowing it.

        • I understand Les. But, as I have said several times before, God does not need to have slack given because he was not involved at all. God did not cause or permit the pain. The pain comes from within creation not from without.

          Interesting how we rush to blame the creator when a person does something horrendous but we do not blame the creation. As humans I guess we want to cut slack to the parents and grandparents of people who do horrendous things when in truth these had more influence over the person who did horrible things to us than God.

          Why not blame these people or society in general? Why blame the Creator instead of the creation? Of course it is nonsense to blame parents and grandparents as these do not have control over people who murder innocents in schools or movie theaters. In my view, it is also nonsense to blame God for allowing people to have free will.

          And in a very real sense we refuse and inhibit the comfort of the Holy Spirit when we continue to blame Him for causing or allowing bad things to happen to us. On a psychological level, how can one accept comfort or love from One who they see as an abusive Heavenly Father?

          Just some food for thought I guess. If it helps, okay. If not, okay.

          Blessings to you for a great week!

          Your friend Bob

          • I think I understand what you are saying, Bob–and I value greatly the dialogue and new found friendship. I just don’t quite grasp completely the idea that God does not permit… More on a future post about that. Please feel free to keep teaching us through your comments!

          • Not sure how to take the comment about continuing to teach in the comments. LOL, thought I left teaching when I retired from pastoral ministry in 2008. Either way, I appreciate the feedback Les.

            I have tried on several occasions on your blog to explain why I do not see God as a micro-managing deity who permits bad things to happen. Apparently I have not done a good enough job. 🙁

            Perhaps in your next post you can explain why you see God as a micro-managing deity (much like the Greek and Roman gods) who is complicit in the pain of humanity?

            Have a great one!

            Blessings, Bob

          • I see your point here. I think my instinctive reaction is to ‘blame’ (for lack of a better word) a God who allows a thing to happen by not intervening. Love your take on blame vs. accepting love from God/the Holy Spirit. If I continue to rail and vent and yell, how will I ever find comfort?

            Even if we don’t end up with the same conclusions, I love the discussion here in the comments – I personally learn so much!

          • “Love your take on blame vs. accepting love from God/the Holy Spirit.”

            Thanks Heather. It is a very practical issue for me. Not blaming God has helped me to keep my heart free from bitterness and open to His love and comfort.

  6. Les, totally agree about peeps (aren’t they an attempt to pass off styrofoam as food) and pecan eggs being the best. But I actually enjoyed my leasure suits as they were a lot more comfortable than a regular suit and tie :{)}

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