My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My favourite thing about this book is its absolute honesty about where Ferguson is with his faith. It's easy to talk about bad stuff or doubt and then gloss it over with a flippant "I'm better now" or "I've overcome that" especially when you're a preacher.
But Ferguson doesn't take the easy way out. Right near the beginning, in his introduction, he hits you with this:
It wasn't that I doubted God's existence. No, I doubted whether I mattered to God at all. And if I didn't matter to God, then how could his Word offer any hope to me?"
Towards the end, through the expected look-aheads and positive notes, he also offers acknowledgement that the fight isn't over yet, with these:
Sometimes I get mad at God. Often the only time it seems I really talk to him is when I need something.
Though smiling and laughing at memories happens often, fresh tears are never far away.... So keep wrestling. Don't quit. Remember this is just a battle--God has already won the war.
In between, Ferguson explores 26 different stories from the Bible, both OT and NT, from a single perspective: pain and brokenness. He's honest about where he was and where he sometimes still is: running away from God, doubting God, questioning God, struggling so much against all that we're supposed to know and be just by virtue of being "Christian." At times, it looks bleak, but at times God's light also shines through. Sometimes he asks the hard questions, even those he would rather not ask, would rather not know.
The real question isn't why he did or why he didn't. The real question is, Will we serve him anyway? The real question is, Will we trust him?
I think, in the end, what you get out of this book will be what you put into it. Ferguson is being vulnerable here, and if you're still hiding behind that pretty veneer of respectability and strength, you'll spend most of your time avoiding the hard-hitting questions. True, not all the stories and narrative (and questions) impacted me personally, but as a whole, Ferguson tackles a difficult subject from a wealth of experience and from multiple angles.
Don't look for platitudes of faith where everything is nicely tied up and presented. You'll find instead plenty of brokenness on display--and yet despite it all, shattered faith is still faith.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.
View all my reviews