From Mourning to Morning

October 17, 2011

Here I am sitting at the keyboard trying to collect the right words to describe my feelings about last week- about what I witnessed and felt in the aftermath of the horrific events that took the precious lives of Karen and Cole Ferguson.

I can’t really find many.

I do not want to rehearse any of those events. I am still thinking about the overwhelming outpouring of support demonstrated by those touched by this tragedy. God’s people rose up and surrounded Les, his boys and their family in truly tremendous ways. Darkness struck an awful blow, but Light powerfully responded. God was and is at work among his people. The Ferguson and Brown families are not and will not be alone in their grief.

To be sure- it is their (and to a lesser degree our) time for mourning. Few among us can really know the extent of their grief. There is really no way to compare it. It is journey they must undertake through the edges of the “valley of the shadow of death.”  Faithfully- I believe- they will take it. Faithfully God and his staff will be there to comfort and guide them-to eventually find peace beside still waters.

It is a journey from mourning to morning.

It will happen for each in their own time (and God’s). It will likely remain a bittersweet process. Perhaps it will not be fully complete until an eternal reunion, but one day it will be complete.

Les, I am praying for you- for strength on this journey.

Oh, and one more thing- no matter the depth of darkness and the damage it creates, it will never triumph over Light.

“I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

October 11, 2011

Once upon a time I thought I knew all the answers. I had a Bible verse for everything. All anyone had to do was believe and all would be well. That seems so long ago now.

Yesterday, unimaginable tragedy invaded the life of the Ferguson family in Gulfport, MS. The life here of my good friend, Les Ferguson, Jr. will never again be filled with the sweet presence of his wife, Karen, and son, Cole. Evil in the form of a twisted soul violently took their lives.

Unbelievable. Totally. Yet true.

I’ll confess. I do not understand this. Why was anger and violence visited upon such a loving, gentle Christian family- a family dedicated to gracefully serving God? It all seems so desperately out-of-context. So– unbelievable.  How do we even go about processing such a tragedy?

I can offer up those Bible verses. I am well acquainted with the theology developed to address suffering and evil. It is solid. It is reliable. In the detached world of hermenuetics, it all makes sense. I believe it.  But we don’t live in that world.  Yesterday again reaffirmed this harsh reality.

I talked briefly with Les yesterday afternoon. Well, not really. I had no words, nor did he. I had no Bible verses to make this better. It is senseless. I am angry that Karen and Cole were taken away like this- under these circumstances. I am hurting with Les and his boys left to deal forever with the aftermath. I cannot imagine their grief.

I do believe that God is at work within this tragedy. I do believe that his Spirit immediately began ministering to Les in ways beyond our ability to grasp. I do believe that eventually all injustice will be met with God’s justice and eradicated. I do believe that Cole will be forever whole and happy. I do believe that Karen and her indomitably sweet spirit is alive and well in the presence of God. I do believe.

Lord, I just need help with my unbelief. I need your grace as I process the pervasive nature of evil. The purveyors of evil seem to continually win the day. Yesterday brought that home again to me in a personal way. This I do not understand. I am reminded of the pleading question of the martyrs in Revelation 6:10, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 

God, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

And Holy Father, please continue to wrap your arms tightly around Les, his boys, and their entire extended family. I believe you remain the answer to their grief.

And one more request Father: Come, Lord Jesus!


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