Frank Laubach suffered intense loneliness and deprivation as a missionary among the Moslems of the southern Philippines. He wrote letters home to his father and described his “experiment” of living every moment in the presence of God. “I determine not to get out of bed until that mind set up on the Lord is settled.” Things began to change. By the end of his long life he was among the best known and loved men of the world. For one thing, he had been instrumental in teaching millions of people to read.
Frank Laubach, Letters from a Modern Mystic
January 29, 1930
I feel simply carried along each hour, doing my part in a plan which is far beyond myself. This sense of cooperation with God in little things is what so astonishes me, for I never have felt it this way before. I need something, and turn round to find it waIting for me. I must work, to be sure, but there is God working along with me. God takes care of all the rest. My part is to live this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to his will, to make this hour gloriously rich. This seems to be all I need think about.
March 1, 1930
…Perhaps a man who has been an ordained minister since 1914 ought to be be ashamed to confess that he never before felt the joy of complete hourly, minute by minute—now what shall I call it?—more than surrender. I had that before. More than listening to God. I tried that before. I cannot find the word that will mean to you or to me what I am now experiencing. It is a will act. I compel my mind to open straight out toward God. I wait and listen with determined sensitiveness….
But why do I constantly harp upon this inner experience? Because I feel convinced that for me, and for you who read, there lie ahead undiscovered continents of spiritual living compared with which we are infants in arms.
And I must witness that people outside are treating me differently. Obstacles which I once would have regarded as insurmountable are melting away like a mirage. People are becoming friendly who suspected or neglected me. I feel, I feel like one who has had his violin out of tune with the orchestra and at last is in harmony with the universe.
As for me, I never lived, I was half, dead, I was a rotting tree, until I reached the place where I wholly, with utter honesty, resolved and re-resolved that I would find God’s will and I would do that will though every fibre in me said no, and I would win the battle in my thoughts. I do not claim success even for a day yet, not complete success all day, but some days are close to success, and every day is tingling with the joy of a glorious discovery. That thing is eternal. That thing is undefeatable. You and I shall soon blow away from our bodies. Money, praise, poverty, opposition, these make no difference, for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years. But this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is timeless life.
From Frank Laubach, Letters from a Modern Mystic.