Have You Forgiven?

Paul Buckman.

There is a part of me that hates hearing that name, seeing that name, or remembering that name.

I don’t know if I have completely forgiven him. I don’t know if I ever will be able to do such a difficult thing.

His evil actions have lifelong implications not just for me, but for my children. And if we are completely candid, his actions will have a multigenerational effect.

So what do we do with that?

I remember saying early on in this grief journey that I hated his whole family tree. That’s a little bit harsh, but I do have some righteous indignation for whomever in his family (or friends for that matter) who might have known of previous offenses and kept quiet.

All that being said, I have had to let so much of that go. As long as I continue to harbor bitterness and rage, he is still causing pain and heartache. For the most part, I have had to make peace with some things in order to find peace in new directions.

Have I forgiven Paul Buckman? Clearly he was an evil, wicked, sin-sick man. But what he did is in God’s hands.

I intend somehow to find the place in my heart to let him go completely. I need to. Not for him, he’s beyond anything I can think, feel, or do. I need to for me and for my family.

And based on that, maybe you too will find the words of my friend, Royce Ogle, to be important in your life as well. Thank you, Royce, for allowing me to share them here…

Have you ever heard someone say, “I just can’t forgive her (him)”? Maybe you have said that yourself. I might have said it myself. It’s a purely human response when someone has cause you pain, disappointment, or broken a trust. All of us have been violated in some way by another and have known the pain that ensues. That is true!

What is untrue is that you “can’t forgive” another, no matter how, and to what extent, you have been wronged. People who hold firmly to that position probably do not understand what forgiveness is and how to do it.

Many people, even many Christians, believe they only need to forgive those who ask for forgiveness, or those who apologize for a wrong. That is false. Forgiveness rests solely with you. If you will forgive another is completely your call, no other person is involved.

I don’t know how you have been wronged but you feel that something has been taken from you, an offence has been committed against you, and you deserve something…

To forgive someone is to release the offender from his debt, whatever it may be. The idea is that a compassionate lender tells the borrower he does not have to repay the balance of the loan. He is released from the debt.

To forgive someone is to release the resentment and bitterness you have stored up inside you. You visit there often and feel an emotional rush every time. To forgive another is to gather that garbage and throw it out.

To forgive someone is to treat the offender as if you have forgiven them. It means to sincerely desire the best for them, not the worst.

Forgiveness is a choice! But, it is not an emotional choice, it is an intellectual choice. If you wait ’til you “feel like it” you will never forgive someone who has wronged you. The reason you have decided to wait for an apology is that you want to “feel” better. The problem is you can’t “feel better” until after your forgive, not before. You must make a decision. You must tell yourself “I am tired of being bitter and resentful and I’m going to do the right thing and forgive“. Is it that easy? No, it isn’t easy but that’s the way to do it.

You see, all of your hateful thoughts, all of those things that fuel your hatred and disgust, make you more and more bitter, will not leave you unless you decide they have to go! You make the declaration to yourself “This moment I am forgiving _______ from every wrong against me. I will no longer harbor and encourage bad thoughts about him/her. I have set him/her free from the debt owed and I will experience peace where bitterness and resentment have lived.”

If you can’t seem to do this, start praying for the offender. You can’t pray for someone long and resent them at the same time. If you will to forgive soon your emotions will catch up to your thinking and you will experience peace instead of turmoil.
You don’t necessarily have to even tell the other person. In many cases the other person has gone on with life and has no idea you have been bitter for years. Maybe the person is deceased that you have had ill feelings about so long. Or, it might be an ex-spouse better left alone. You see, this forgiveness thing is all about you, not the other person.

Just try forgiveness. It is like a cool drink of water on a hot day, or a deep breath of fresh morning air. It’s so good for you. Bitterness and resentment can’t live in the same space with forgiveness.

I didn’t tell you that you must forgive others, Jesus did.

Thanks for reading–I love and appreciate each of you!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

Basement

I think five times.

Just five.

I have visited five times.

I have this strange urge to go now, but three and a half hours is a long way to travel for a visit that has never quite lasted even ten minutes.

I am not a fan of cemeteries. They are not places of peace. They don’t engender moments of quiet reflection. They don’t inspire sweet memories.

They do, however, spark moments of rage and anger. They do inspire transcendental and irrational thoughts. They do bring a fresh feeling of horror and pain. Of disbelief and incomprehensibleness.

I don’t like cemeteries.
Especially this one.

Especially this one.

Maybe there will come a time in our journey where I can visit. Say hello. Or spend a quiet afternoon. But not now. And knowing me the way I do, quite possibly never.

It is hard to write of these things. There is renewed grief. And an aching in my chest and tears in my eyes that make it difficult to say anything of much sense or value. At 8:00AM on a Saturday morning as I write this, I am already exhausted.

So much has happened since the first day we traveled in the company of hundreds of others to that particular cemetery. So many changes.

Casey is growing up fast and missing his front teeth.
Conner is a Junior in High School, talking about colleges, and becoming this new man-child I hardly recognize.

So many changes. But one remains. I still don’t like cemeteries.

I don’t go there, but I do go to our basement.
Reluctantly.

Outside of October 10, 2011 and the subsequent funeral services and burials, the hardest days of my life were watching my mother and sisters pack up Karen’s clothes and things and the day I finally emptied Cole’s bedroom in preparation to move.

We boxed up some items for the boys when they are older. They will each have some jewelry, dishes, keepsakes, etc. Things they can look at, use, and remember. Or at least in Casey’s life, he can hold something tangible that once belonged to his mother.

Do you get the inherent unfairness of what I just wrote?

In my basement are stored things for their future lives to help them remember what must seem like a distant memory even now.

And I want to rage at the senselessness of it all.

In my basement are two footlockers once owned by a former neighbor. Those footlockers traveled all over the world on various US Navy Sea Bee deployments. These days they see no travel at all.

None whatsoever.

I hate going to the basement.
For anything.

We store lots of stuff there. Things that are helpful. Things that are seasonal. So sometimes we go there to bring up and out those things we might need for the occasion.

I hate going to the basement.
When I do, I am always drawn to those two green and battered footlockers.
Cole no longer has a bedroom to store his earthly treasures, so I store them there.

His Sea Wolves hockey poster.
His favorite CD’s.
Hats.
Balls.
His graduation cap.
Books.
Stuff that he surrounded himself with.
And Brett Farve memorabilia.

Going to the basement is hard.
Opening those footlockers is an agony all its own.

As it turns out, basements and cemeteries have a lot in common.
At least for me.

At least for me.

For those who are hurting and grieving, know we are fellow travelers. May our hearts be healed. May our painful places be less so.

Thank you for reading.

Les Ferguson, Jr.

It Has To Stop

You must meet Clara Hinton.

She is a wife and mother.
She is also a former preacher’s wife.

Her husband is serving hard time for child molestation.
At least 23 counts.
Over at least a 40 year time frame.

He was a preacher.
A trusted man.
A loved man.
A believable man.

At the same time, he was a purveyor of a consummate evil.
He betrayed those who entrusted him.
He used the Bride of Christ as avenue to perpetuate a horror far to great to even try and comprehend.

You simply must meet Clara Hinton. She is on the front lines… she has had an experience of evil that is all to common. She has a first hand knowledge of how those who prey on children work.

To ignore her is dangerous.

On her blog she tells the story of her experiences. Just a little bit of reading will catch you up to where she is in sharing this strange journey. Her wisdom is compelling.

As one who has had the evil of molestation invade and destroy, let me make you a most solemn promise: You want to do everything you can to avoid, evade, and stop molesters.

It is an evil that has a lasting impact.

Here are two things Clara Hinton says in her latest blog post:

Pedophiles are liars and manipulators on every level. Playing people as puppets delights them. They are masters of deception and they know how to take total control.

Pedophiles are conniving, manipulating, deceitful liars who work hard to harm our children. It’s time for us to open our eyes wide and stop this horrendous cycle of abuse!!!

Please take the time to listen to her and her son, Jimmy. He too is writing and sharing information we need.

I don’t know how much speaking and teaching I will get to do on the subject, but I plan to educate as much as possible–it is another way to honor those I have lost as a result of this pervasive horror.

And guys, if I might add one more thing or make one more suggestion, it would be this: trust the instincts of your wife. Even if you have to apologize later, you will be better off doing that than living with the results if she was right and you did not honor the threat she perceived.

Been there and doing that. In that regard, don’t be like me!

God bless and have a happy Lord’s Day tomorrow!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

I’m Bringing Sexy Back (Bet You Read This!)

Go ahead and admit it. Even if you are a first class prude (nothing wrong with that), you want to know why I would write a blog post with a title such as this.

We all know sex sells and grabs attention, but even with that, you are dying to know what the crazy ex-preacher-not-sure-if-he-is-still-a-preacher is going to say next.

I don’t often get to be smug about anything, but I’ll take smug on this one.

Just make it easier on everybody, admit it… you want to know…

But first, let me triple dog dare you (as I pull out the big guns on this one) to read and share this post…

A couple hundred shares, a few thousand views and we would go a long way to stopping the power and devastation from those who prey on our children.

Today, I am bringing sexy back!

Guess what child molesters and normal folks alike have in common?

Drum roll please…

SEX!

If you are like me (heaven help us, I hope you are), thinking about sex from the perspective of a child molester is about as repugnant as it gets.

That’s not the topic of anything I ever want to write about, so relax just a little bit. Not going there!

But don’t relax too much, because I still want you to think about SEX!

SEX!

This is about the time where my wife, mother, and both mother-in-laws start having a collective cow. Nonetheless, I will admit to my biology. I am as sexually driven as any other healthy, red-blooded male.

Shocking, I am sure. But, like other normal people, as God intended, I like and appreciate the gift of sex.

And the reality is quite simple even if we are not accustomed to talking about it. God created sex–not just as a way to procreate, but also as a component of a healthy relationship between a husband and wife.

Sex was never intended to be just a physical act, but instead, one with great emotional implications as well.

I am thankful for God’s gift. It is a blessing.

Are you done giggling and snickering?

Because here’s where it gets very hard and difficult.

The blessing of sex can quickly and easily become a curse.
And the sad reality or the simple fact is this: sex is now more of a curse in our culture than the blessing it was intended to be.

We are all out of whack.
We could talk about promiscuity and we probably should.
We can talk about pornography and we probably should.

But long before we get to those topics we need to simply recognize we are a sex-saturated culture.

Nothing sells a car, a shirt, a pair of pants, or even a tube of toothpaste like sex.

But let’s not blame the advertisers. They are simply parroting the values of a society that revels in distorting good into the macabre and horrendous.

I am no prude.
But I am thankful I don’t have daughters.

Our culture has objectified women. We have made them into objects of intense sexuality. We often can’t see their real value as people of worth because all we can see is what they are wearing (or not) and how that rocks our little world.

In this culture of hyper sexuality and unrestrained passions, is it any wonder that kids get a warped sense of what is right and good and decent?

I don’t profess any real scientific knowledge or data about why perverts become perverts. I have no idea how Paul Buckman personally became the fiend who ripped our world asunder. I feel quite certain there is some cycle of abuse and pain and little self-worth that contributes greatly to the making of a child molester.

But long before those things become issues, it is time for parents, for the home, and for our society and culture at large to start modeling a healthy sexuality.

Men, don’t teach your boys by attitude and action that women are objects.
Ladies, don’t teach your daughters that sexuality is a weapon or tool in their arsenal.

Demand respect. Accept nothing less.

Every action you take to promote sexuality in its proper guise may just help somebody not get a warped sense. And when they have a right concept of sex, maybe we’ll find less perversion instead!

I am bringing sexy back. The right way. The best way. The way God intended.
How about you?

Les Ferguson, Jr.

A Little Blog Competition

Not competition with other bloggers, but a readers competition!

I know this is not the promised blog mentioned on Facebook.

Patience, grasshopper.

It’s coming–hopefully by 7:00PM Tuesday. That’s my self-imposed deadline.
Lots of stuff going on this week. This afternoon I am trying to sell a little real estate–sitting here in an open house wishing somebody would show up–and writing while I am waiting. At least there is air conditioning and a bag of contraband potato chips to munch on. Maybe Becki won’t read that part…
Back to school night is Monday night for two high schoolers–and a court of honor for our Jr. High guy in Boy Scouts. Don’t ask how we are going to be in multiple places at once. It’s a secret only known by us super, high achiever parents… LOL!
Wednesday night I am speaking at the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, LA. I am looking forward to seeing some old and new friends and maybe meeting a famous TV character or two.
We shall see.
In the meantime, I am working on my hope-to-be published book (it’s gonna knock your socks off, guaranteed–how’s that for confidence?) as well as a short ebook (or two) that will be offered here on this blog.
I have been brain storming with my buddy and blog platform provider, Brad Palmore, about some ways to use my writing other than a book to generate some income and security as well as advertise speaking opportunities.
However, let me be clear. I am a true believer! I believe God is shaping, molding, and transforming me for a ministry that is needed–you readers are my earliest and best forms of support in that regard. Your encouragement is so greatly valued and appreciated!!
So here I am. Thankful for you. For reading, for commenting, for sharing, for subscribing, for liking! You guys (and gals) are the best.
Let’s have a little fun. Below you will find some old song titles from popular radio in days gone by. One of them is the title of the next blog post. The first person who responds either here in the comments or on my Facebook page or DWTBA Facebook page with the correct song title (and artist) along with the closest possible reason for my using it gets a prize.
A Starbucks Gift Card…
starbuck
We will leave the competition open until midnight, Monday.
Here are your choices:
I’m Bringing Sexy Back
 
That’s the way, un huh, un huh, I like it
 
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
 
Don’t Stop Believin’
I am having fun with this–I hope you will too!
Blessings to you and yours!
Les Ferguson
PDFLogo copy

A Song Can Rise

Normally I write on my Mac or my iPad. But last night, inspiration struck late. I spent awhile furiously scribbling on scraps of paper and left over stuff from the real estate day we had just concluded.

I can’t wait to finish it. I can’t wait to share it. I think it will be provocative and challenging. I believe if shared enough, if given a wide enough audience, it might just help us in the fight against those who who molest children or sexually assault others.

But in the midst of the writing storm, an old friend from my preaching days posted some song lyrics on Facebook. She didn’t give the name of the song. She didn’t share the identity of the group that sang it.

But how the lyrics resonated.
With me.
With my life.
With my struggle with God.

I am doing so much better than I was. I am standing. I am determined. I am moving forward to build the best life ever.

But there are days. Yes, there are days…
There are days of heartache and challenges.
There are days of little to no self-confidence.
There are days where the questions seem to overpower the hope.

But not for long.

So, as I work on an article I believe will be helpful, I’d like to share the lyrics from Worn by Tenth Avenue North

I’m tired
I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing

I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I’m too week
Life just won’t let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

And my prayers are wearing thin
I’m worn even before the day begins
I’m worn I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn so heaven so come and fluid my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Yes all that’s dead inside will be reborn
Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn

I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life

With sometimes cracking voice and strained vocal chords, I am singing.

I suspect some reading this need to let God start warming them up to sing again.

Do you think we might sing together?

Les Ferguson, Jr.

What Molesters Do

What do molesters do?

That’s a seriously good question with major implications.

What do molesters do?

Please don’t freak out on me or get all squeamish. This isn’t about the actual molesting. You’ll get no prurient details from me this day.

Obviously molesters do lots of ugly nasty things. But outside of the ugly and separate from the nasty that actually makes them molesters, it’s important to know what they do.

My new friend, Jimmy Hinton can probably help us better understand the process child molesters go through in selecting, grooming, and manipulating their victims and their families.

But make no mistake, I can easily see with hindsight the inroads Paul Buckman made into our lives and the life of the Orange Grove church. I remember with crystal clear clarity how he played my family’s difficult situation into being the hero of the hour–our helper straight from the hands of God Himself.

Even now it makes me sick to remember how easy it was–how desperate we were for help and relief.

To call it easy is a seriously major understatement.

Cole had a difficult existence. By the time Paul Buckman entered our lives, he was completely wheelchair bound. He took narcotics three times a day for severe leg and muscle pain. Moving from the wheelchair to the van and then the van to the wheelchair again was a painful process. Add to the fact that he was a homebody, and, well, anytime we needed to go somewhere was fraught with hardship and difficulty.

In the meantime, Cole had an upper body strength that was astounding. If he didn’t want to go somewhere (which was most of the time unless it was Sunday morning worship), he fought. If he grabbed you, he was not letting go.

Consequently there were many times when one of us stayed home with Cole. We needed help. Paul Buckman volunteered with a grandfather’s enthusiasm to sit with Cole every Wednesday afternoon–clearing a timeframe where both parents could be out of the house doing whatever we needed to do.

If that wasn’t bad enough, our molester/ murderer also divided the church. Long before the murders of October 10, 2011, he was helping foster the murder of relationships.

Because he loudly and publicly proclaimed his innocence, he contributed to the death of commonsense.

Instead of reporting the criminal accusations (which turned out to be far worse than even our imaginations could conceive) I should have–as it was pointed out to me quite angrily and forcibly–gone to Paul Buckman and worked it out with him.

If it wasn’t so sickening, it would be laughable.

And yes, a few folks left the church over the way we involved the law. Others began a campaign of innuendo and slander.

Let me be fair. Most members of the church were very supportive. But, it only took an extremely small, tiny minority to swallow Paul Buckman’s lies… and those few made life even harder.

The point of all this isn’t to make you feel sorry for me or my family. Not at all. The past is the past–and even though the past extends to the future, we are marching on with determination.

However, there is a point. When churches are invaded by those who would do great bodily and emotional harm, church members have to unite. The offenders will do anything to persuade and deflect and turn public opinion in their favor. As that happens, more harm is being inflicted on the victims and their families.

Believe me, there is a loneliness in that situation that boggles the mind.

What do molesters do?
They destroy lives, futures, families, churches, and ministries.

Be vigilant.
Stay strong.
Protect the children.

They deserve that and more.

Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting. Let me know if I can help you or your church/group!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

No More Molesters

Yesterday was very productive. I wrote and sent a bio. I wrote and sent a book proposal to three different people. I asked another if He might be interested.

Now I wait. Very impatiently.

In the mean time, there is something I want to share…

In the aftermath of Cole’s molestation and multiple rapes, I was beside myself with guilt.

How could I have not known?
How could I have not seen?
Why didn’t I protect my child better?

Did I say guilt? Absolutely. I still find plenty of opportunities to beat myself up over my failures.

And then, after Karen and Cole were murdered, more guilt, more self-recrimination throbbed like a smashed thumbnail throughout my psyche and my soul.

This isn’t, by the way, about having you massage my guilt away or somehow make me feel less like a failure.

The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. When it counted most, I failed.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not wallowing in pity. There were plenty of signs for me to see–there was ample evidence to have helped me grasp what was going on. But, I have since learned that child molesters are very smart and controlling people. They are manipulators who groom both their victims and those around them. They play masterfully on our preconditioned desire to trust–especially when we are needing help.

When we looked at Paul Buckman, we saw a kindly, grandfatherly man who loved us, loved Cole, and wanted to help ease a burden. We were ecstatic. That’s exactly what we were supposed to see and feel.

I will always believe Paul Buckman could have been stopped–should have been stopped. So somehow, someway, we have to find a way to protect our children. Even in churches. Especially in churches. We cannot allow a fear of conflict to hinder us from saying or telling what needs to be said. Especially for our children.

The very place we want to trust the most is an easy playing field for the stalkers among us.

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of blogs–http://jimmyhinton.org and http://www.findingahealingplace.com. These are important. The writers know first hand what it means to live with a predator.

The first blog is written by a preacher (Jimmy Hinton) who was also a preacher’s son.
The second blog is written by a woman who was a preacher’s wife (Clara Hinton).
Was is the operative word.

Together, they lived with a preacher husband/ father who is now in jail for being a child molester. A predator who went undetected for over 40 years.

Can you imagine the horror?
And yet, even having lived through my own hell, I still have trouble imagining how much and how often our children are destroyed by this pervasive evil.

It’s way beyond time to say no more. I am looking forward to hearing more of Jimmy and Clara’s story–not because I revel in ugliness, but because we must wade through it in order to stop it!

Standing up for children is everybody’s business!

Can I get an Amen?

Les Ferguson, Jr.

Hampered By Fear

I wonder sometimes if I am the only person with my unique worries and fears.

Most likely since I am the only me, I am unique in that respect.

But I doubt very seriously that I am alone in having the worries and fears I do.

Nor doubts either.

Can’t forget questions as well.

But sometimes, I find myself plagued by fears–the kind that keep me from doing what I know I should and could do.

I am writing like crazy. Almost two chapters for my proposed book have been completed this week. I have talked on the phone this week as well with two different people about what I need to do in order to get published.

And that makes a total of four who have now given me some direction. Two have actually given me a format to use in writing a proposal.

As crazy as it seems, I am terrified about writing a proposal. To my credit, one set of directions wants me to write things I have no concept of–no understanding. And, I am wigging out about even asking what those things mean. I am trying to write a book, so why would I want to highlight my ignorance in bright green and red neon?

But one proposal instruction are simply a one page affair with a few sample chapters attached. Still I procrastinate–I am even afraid of writing a bio my own brother wants for a speaking engagement where he preaches.

Failure.

Appearing stupid.

Not wanting to toot my own horn.

Those are all very real things for me (and some of you too–I’ll admit it even if you don’t want to).

Why is this so hard? It should be simple. It should be something a climber can climb with no problems. And I am a climber. My life is all about climbing out of the abyss and building a new life.

Attacking mountains is the name of the game.

I am not afraid of hard work. I am not afraid of looking at my deepest emotions and finding them wrapped in the harshest of realities.

But.

I. Am. Terrified.

My friend Cecil May III helped me figure it out today. He called to check in on me–to see how things are going. In the course of our conversation, I told him about the fear of writing these proposals.

And in his inestimable fashion, he nailed the issue squarely. Sending a proposal means putting my work in the hands of somebody who is just as likely to reject it as accept it.

That scares me to death. Who wants rejection? That has frozen me into a certain inactivity or avoidance.

So, I have given myself a self-imposed deadline. I will write a bio and a one page proposal before Monday morning. Or sooner.

I owe it to my family that was lost.

I owe it to my family that survives.

I owe it to all who suffer, question, struggle, wrestle, doubt and fear.

And you can take that to the bank!

So back to work all of you who are reading this and avoiding something you need to do. Life is about challenges and we can face them together…

What are you afraid of? What are you avoiding? If it is fixing a broken relationship, please don’t wait another day.

Les Ferguson, Jr.

From My Perspective: What Real Faith Looks Like!

Faith.

We sing about it.
We talk about it.
We pray about it.
We throw it around as if it was somehow easy to have or easy to grasp.

We tell people they need to have faith.
We tell others they need to keep the faith.
Or maybe we ask them, Where’s your faith?

We describe faith as pure. Or simple. Maybe basic. Or even elementary.

And sometimes we describe those who might be struggling as losing or having already lost their faith.

I know
Believe me, I know.

I have been accused of not having enough faith.
I have been pigeonholed as one who has lost his faith.
I have heard how he’s (that’s me) lost his way, bless, his heart.

Or better yet, what kind of a preacher gets mad at God?

As it turns out, this kind.

And the truth is? My faith has suffered some hard, hard days.
Try having your family ripped asunder.
Try seeing your whole world unglued.
Try losing a whole circle of friends.
I bet you’d also find it hard to sing about having an awesome God…

Not that He isn’t. Not at all.

But when people are hurting and wanting answers, it’s not a simple matter of just having faith.

I never once stopped believing in God.
Not once.
Never.

But if you reframe the question, then I had trouble seeing his goodness. I had a difficult time finding His mercy. I struggle even now with seeing His purpose for my life. Lots of things are still topsy turvy upside down. With no end in sight.

Still want me to have faith that everything is going to work out alright?

Let’s be real. Somethings will never be made right. Not on this side of eternity.

But in a funny way, I have found strong hope in the strangest place.

My hope is wrapped up in faith.
A faith I wrestle with.
A faith that has left me without near enough answers to satisfy my anger, fear, and frustration.

You see, I think we have the concept of faith all messed up. We see faith as something concrete, fixed, unmovable. But that’s not necessarily true.

The very idea of having faith means also having doubts, fears, worries, and questions to go along with it. Without those things, faith wouldn’t really be faith, would it?

Honest and pure faith is full of unanswered questions. It is a wrestling with God and the answers we crave.

I confess: I don’t always understand. But my hope is in a God of faith who recognizes the validity of struggle, who acknowledges the doubt, who understands the heart behind the questions, and who helps me take a step forward, even when it seems so counterintuitive to do so…

Faith.
It’s hard.
It’s difficult.
And sometimes it seems like the last thing we ought to hold on to.
But it gives me hope.
And I am glad.

Les Ferguson, Jr.