Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I'm reading a book called "Practicing His Presence" which is a compilation of excerpts from the letters of Frank Laubach and Brother Lawrence. I'm reading Frank's letters now.
Frank Laubach and his wife were missionaries to the Moro tribe in the Philippines during the 1920's-30's. They lost 3 of their 4 children to sickness -- malaria, I think. At some point after this, Mrs. Laubach left with their remaining child, but Frank stayed to continue learning the tribal language. (If I was Mrs. Laubach, I think I would have left after losing the first child. But I digress....) These letters to his father were written during that season of his life while he was all alone.
He writes, "I have been so desperately lonesome that it was unbearable save by talking with God. And so every waking moment of the week I have been looking toward Him, with perhaps the exception of an hour or two."
Out of his loneliness, Frank began an experiment of attempting to stay in contact with God all day long. In the midst of his busy days, learning the language, helping the Moro people, facing the challenges all missionaries encounter, Frank continued turning to God in his spirit and yielding his will to the Lord as often as he could throughout the day.
"I find several things happening to me as a result of these two months of strenuous effort to keep the Lord in mind every minute. This concentration upon God is strenuous, but everything else ceases to be so."
"For a lonesome man there is something infinitely homey and comforting in feeling God so close, so everywhere! It is difficult to convey to another the joy of having broken into the new sea of realizing God's "hereness." It seems so wonderfully true that just the privilege of fellowship with God is infinitely more than anything God could give. When He gives Himself, He is giving more than anything else in the universe."
Reading Frank's experiences and discoveries as he makes this attempt to think of God all day long (although he readily admits his failures in the process), I find myself inspired to do the same. Even if I never get to the point of thinking about the Lord, talking to Him and surrendering to Him every hour, it still is worth the effort.
I started this new journey earlier this week. So far what I've discovered is that as much as I want to focus on God as often as I can through the day, HE is even more eager for me to think about HIM. And so He has been interrupting my focus on other objects by doing things designed to draw my gaze to His. I've realized that this is not a mere spiritual discipline -- this is more like a romance.