Sleepless in Paris; then a frantic telephone call

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, July 12, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just couldn’t fall asleep? And if you did sleep, it was a twilight kind of doze filled with tossing and turning and completely unrestful.

Welcome to my world last Thursday night. It seemed like as soon as my head hit the pillow, all hope of sleep fled somewhere else off in the night. Consequently, when the alarm went off at zero-dark-thirty Friday morning, I was wide awake and waiting for it to raise its racket.

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There is nothing unusual about getting up extra early. Lots of folks do that on a regular basis. And normally, it wouldn’t be an issue, except for the fact that after a night of no sleep, I wasn’t very well prepared for an early start or a day on the road.

But sleep or no sleep, we made our way to Vicksburg where I officiated at a family member’s graveside service. It was a sad, low-key affair and in short order, we were done. Once we finished eating together as a family, it was time to get back on the road.

After a sleepless night, a funeral service, and six or so hours on the road, we finally made it home for what I hoped would be a relaxing evening and an early night to bed.

Prior to settling in for the evening to watch a little TV, we picked up burgers from Phillip’s Grocery – and then the phone rang. Have you ever noticed that when it is bad news, even the ring of the phone sounds and feels different? Maybe that’s a little too prescient for some, but I suspect you understand.

At any rate, the phone rang – our oldest had just had a bad car accident in Memphis. He was okay, but both grandsons, ages four and seven, were taken by ambulance to the hospital. They are now at home and doing just fine. But at the time, they were both admitted.

Back in the car we go, headed to Memphis to bring the youngest home with us so our son and daughter-in-law could focus on the older of their boys.

We were so glad to be close enough and able to help, but there is a point to sharing this that is much greater than a lack of sleep, funerals, and avoiding car accidents.

Each of us has experienced or will circumstances that are difficult and leave us wondering what is next or how to move forward.

In Matthew 14, John the Baptist was killed by the order of King Herod. Verse 12 says that John’s disciples took his body and buried it, and “Then they went and told Jesus.”

If we believe in the radical hope of Jesus, we can tell Jesus, too.

The old hymn Does Jesus Care says it like this:

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth or song;
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, and the way grows weary and long?

O yes, He cares- I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.

Whatever your struggles or heartache, take it to Jesus!

May God bless each of you!

Les Ferguson, Jr., is minister at Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him at