Hazardous Living

Eugene Peterson

Last December, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. That battle is still raging. Pneumonia, radiation, weakness, loss of appetite, along with surprising bursts of strength and treasured deep conversations are all part of this journey. It is wearying, unpredictable, and taxing to the soul. I never know from one day to the next how things will go.

At the moment, besides my father, I have six friends who are battling cancer too.

So this morning, it was good for me to pick up Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. I love his honesty about the very real struggles we all face to trust God, especially in difficult times. 

Here’s a good word from his chapter titled “Help” (based on Psalm 124) that has bolstered me today:

“What is hazardous in my life is my work as a Christian. Every day I put faith on the line. I have never seen God. In a world where nearly everything can be weighed, explained, quantified, subjected to psychological analysis and scientific control, I persist in making the center of my life a God whom no eye hath seen, nor ear heard, whose will no one can probe. That’s a risk.

Every day I put hope on the line. I don’t know one thing about the future. I don’t know what the next hour will hold. There may be sickness, accident, personal or world catastrophe. Before this day is over I may have to deal with death, pain, loss, rejection. I don’t know what the future holds for me, for those I love, for my nation, for this world. Still, despite my ignorance and surrounded by tinny optimists and cowardly pessimists, I say that God will accomplish his will, and I cheerfully persist in living in the hope that nothing will separate me from Christ’s love.”

—Eugene Peterson 

About carolyncustisjames

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