Yep. You read that correctly.
My friend John Mark Hicks connected me with another writer by the name of Tim Brown. Tim is going to help me work through the process of getting a literary agent.
I called Tim the other day and got a voice mail prompt that made me think I had the wrong number. I tried again and got the same. The problem wasn’t my dialing.
So since I thought I had the number wrong, I sent Tim a short message through the FaceBook Messenger app on my phone. A couple of hours went by and no response. I checked my original message and was horrified at what I found.
Somehow Hey Tim was autocorrected to Hey Pimp!
Truthfully? I was mortified. Embarrassed. Horrified. Frustrated.
Thankfully, Tim laughed. And I did too.
That’ll teach me to put faith in technology.
Faith is a funny thing.
We claim it.
We proclaim it.
We compare it.
We share it.
We shame it.
Shame it? Yes. It may not be what you are shooting for, but people often get shamed by others from their point of faith. I can tell you that from my experience–on both sides of the coin.
“You just have to be strong in your faith. Just be strong and have faith that everything will work out.”
How many times have you said or heard or thought something along those lines?
Sounds powerful and true, does it not?
That is, until it doesn’t work out.
The truth is sometimes very brutal no matter how much you don’t want to see, hear, or otherwise experience it.
Finding out you are paralyzed from the neck down–and it’s permanent –does not work out.
Realizing your child is mentally and physically handicapped does not work out.
Losing a parent, spouse, child, or sibling does not work out.
As a result though, you may adapt.
You may learn.
You may grow.
You may accept.
Life becomes very different.
But those things do not work out, no matter how strong your faith.
“Faith and doubt are opposite sides of the same coin.”
How different ministry and service to those who grieve and suffer might be if the acknowledgement of this simple truth could’ve made.
Truly, faith and doubt are inherently wrapped up in our relationship with God.
Having faith doesn’t insure against the absence of at least an occasional twinge of wondering/ questioning where God is or what his nature might be. And sometimes it even means examining and wrestling with the reasons why we believe in the first place.
Instead of being afraid, condescending or judgmental when doubt is expressed by others, we should instead recognize it as a valid thought or emotion. Doubt is usually expressed in the aftermath of crisis, in pain, and with great fear of the future.
It is easy to tell someone “it will all work out.” It is quite another to walk alongside–allowing them to give voice to their heartache and frustration–particularly where God is concerned.
This Christmas, the best authentic gift you might ever give is the gift of presence, compassion, and understanding. Faith and doubt go hand in hand, especially when you lend your faith and strength to those who wrestle with it.
Thank you to all who have walked with me through deep and dark emotions. Yours is the gift of life to one who has struggled.
Merry Christmas to all! (But don’t tell my mama I called you a pimp…)
Les Ferguson, Jr.