Eugene Peterson has been a wonderful spiritual guide in my pastoral and spiritual development. I read this reply to an interview in 1984.
TSF (Interviewer): What part does doubt play in your own spiritual development?
Peterson: Doubt pushes me deeper. Doubt pushes me past the intellectualizing, past the superficial, and makes me deal with issues on a life basis where I can’t understand and control everything. I have to plunge in anyway. Doubt has never functioned in my life as a way to get out of things. It has always pulled me in further. I know it makes spectators out of some people, but somehow it has never worked that way for me. It’s caused me to be involved in dimensions of faith that I wasn’t aware of before.
Somehow as far as i can remember I enjoy asking questions (at least quietly in my mind) and working out some possible answers (also often in my mind). It’s kind of a healthy curiosity I guess. But, doubt is more challenging. And especially when bad things happen to friends both young and old … it puts pressure on my faith – 23 year old friend collapsed with Cardiac arrest was in comma for about 18 months before she died (many years ago), 60 year old Dad of a friend now i heard can’t even come down from the stairs because of cancer, people getting entangled with financial burdens, marriages under tremendous strain (or neglect), fellow pastors being attacked (in some way), the list can go on. There seems to be so many reasons one can pick up to walk away from God or give up on life and be a professional cynic.
Peterson’s reply … resonates with me … I’m just thankful my faith is held in God’s hand in times like this. Protected, deepened, more aware … and actually more alive! Doubt could have crushed the simple faith that I had … surprisingly, God turned it into a means of “maturing” me – a path where He walks with me. How awesome is Your ways .. O God.