46. Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank C. Laubach
I do not know what is happening with me. There is this amazing connection that I am having with God right now.
My dream has always been to see a 24/7/365 kind of relationship with God (You - for I write this blog to You and for You). I remember reading The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence in the early 80's and felt like I had a new role-model. I specifically remember leaving Gill Coliseum on the OSU Campus one night, being tilted over by some strange encounter with Diane's guy friend, Chris. I cried out to You with the desire to not let strange encounters with others derail me from Your precious presence. It became my passion and something in which to strive because "In Your presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forever" (Psalm 16:11). Yet, being the emotional self that I am, it has always been difficult. Those bi-monthly extended times of prayer helped to recalibrate me, but by the end of the sixty days, I was undone again. Oh, to be undone only by God because of His overwhelming presence. That is what I yearned for more than anything.
Later in my journey, I read excerpts from Frank Laubach's (1884-1970) Letters by a Modern Mystic where he resolved: "I would succeed better this year with my experiment of filling every minute full of the thought of God than I succeeded last year. And I added another resolve -- to be as wide open toward people and their need as I am toward God. Window open outward as well as upward."
Somehow, Frank's effort seemed so realistic with little increments of growth year by year. He also did not live a monastic existence as Brother Lawrence did. His inward and outward growth were simultaneous. I wanted that moment by moment experience of God in the midst of the daily grind of life with "tilting people."
Then a couple of months later, in the fall of 2009, I read The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg and The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, and they BOTH quoted Laubach! I realized that I had only read a chapter with longer excerpts (referred to above) from Laubach called "Opening Windows to God" in the Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith. This was in the early 90's and back when it was a loose leaf notebook and only available through Renovaré!
Why had I never read him? If people like Willard and Ortberg and Foster (and countless others) were quoting him, why have I never read him directly? So I Googled and found this book. Part of the reason I had never read him in the 90's was that this book was out of print, and there were not opportunities on the internet to search out copies of it. Thankfully, by 2009, this 2007 edition had been made available, and I ate it up! I never knew that he was a worker among the Moro people in Southeast Asia too! My kind of guy!
The Introduction by Ken Smitherman, President of the Association of Christian Schools International puts it well, when he says that, "Although these letters were written nearly eighty years ago they speak forcefully to anyone who desires the highest level of the pursuit of God and effective discipleship and discipling." I recommend it to all the women I disciple. It is that important of a book, and paired with The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, it is that much more powerful!
There is an online version, but I really like this little pocket book that includes The Game with Minutes too.
Here is the online version though: Letters by a Modern Mystic