By Marilyn Schouten
Italics is taken from Devotional Classics by Richard Foster & James Bryan Smith. This particular excerpt is from The Letters of Frank Laubach (1884-1970). Frank Laubach and his wife were missionaries in the 1930's to the Island of Mindanao, Philippines. This is from his journal marked March 23, 1930
"We can keep two things in mind at once. Indeed we cannot keep one thing in mind more than half a second. Mind is a flowing something. It oscillates. Concentration is merely the continuous return to the same problem from a million angles. So my problem is this: Can I bring God back in my mind-flow every few seconds so that God shall always be in my mind as an after image, shall always be one of the elements in every concept and precept? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering this question. I do not invite anybody else to follow this arduous path. I wish many might. We need to know, for example, Can a laboring man successfully attain this continuous surrender to God? Can a man working at a machine pray for people all day long, and at the same time do his task efficiently? Can a mother wash dishes, care for the babies, continuously talking to God? If you are like myself, this has been a pretty strong diet. So I will put something simpler and more attainable: "Any hour of any day may be made perfect by merely choosing. It is perfect if one looks to God that entire hour, waiting for his leadership all through the hour and trying hard to do every tiny thing exactly as God wishes it done."
You might need to read that excerpt a couple times to grasp the full merit of his conveying. I believe that we can do the very task of which he speaks....talking to God all day. Could it be as simple as each of us saying to one another...."choose ye this day....whom you serve?" I think the Lord's reference of children inheriting the Kingdom in Matthew 18:3 is the reflection of how very simple it should be.
I have a darling example of this concept....I know you all have children/grandchildren cute as a bug's ear like my grand kids...but since I only have mine to reference I shall speak of this simplistic example and share my thoughts of Mr. Laubach's precept. On one of our outings last week, we ventured to Chick fil A for a time of playland play time and lunch. As we finished our meal and were exiting the establishment, we passed a man eating alone and he waved and said "hi" to 2-year old Brayan David Lawson. Immediately Bray looked at mom and said very loudly, "that man said hi to me!" Lindsay said, "well, did you say Hi back?" As quick as a wink Bray turned around and yelled...."HI BACK!" We laughed till we cried! But it did make me think....man, if we would just listen to the Lord that way, how much easier and grace-filled our lives would be. Simple words from a child...."Hi back!" That's what his mom said to do and by George he did it!!!
So back to the devotional..... Any hour of any day may be made perfect by merely choosing. It is perfect if one looks to God that entire hour, waiting for his leadership all through the hour and trying hard to do every tiny thing exactly as God wishes it done." I bet that the Lord is talking to each one us in a child like way to simply say...."well, did you say Hi back?" I believe with all my heart that the Lord is prodding us that very same way throughout each and every day. I believe that the Lord says to us daily...."be thankful for this day, say Hi to that person, meet that need, speak about my love, talk to your children about the love of God, discipline your children in the love of God, share your testimony, pray for this person, take a meal to that person.....waiting for his leadership all through the hour.....I think that if we are talking to God all day, we can't possibly get into computer trouble, or money trouble or gossip trouble; for surely we cannot speak to God while viewing something we should not, or we cannot speak to God while getting ready to spend inappropriately, or we surely cannot speak to God all day and yet still talk about another brother or sister. In fact I don't think we could even think about our selfish needs, our aches and pains, our "ME-ness" (my new word) nearly as much if we were listening to the Lord? What do you think? I think that the Lord is saying to each of us.....get to work, give me your aches and pains, pardon my french..."get off your behind" and follow ME in every minute of every day. He PROMISES to lead, prepare, bless, correct, heal, make your path straight and help in every little thing.
I think this is particularly close to my mind as we are fast approaching the Easter week of celebration. Since we will not be having Communion on the first weekend of the month (which is Easter weekend) and in place offering Maundy Thursday a time of family communion....and since we are about to embark on Palm Sunday, we can reflect with such grace on the Lord in our life....but there are those that cannot do that....the Christians who are at this very hour in such trial and tribulation for their faith in Christ....yet we sit here whining about our past, our present, our future...we let our weaknesses cripple us therefore rendering us of no use to the Kingdom of Christ.
Our focus is Christ, Scripture says..."all things are possible," and if that be truth, then "Can I bring God back in my mind-flow every few seconds so that God shall always be in my mind as an after image, shall always be one of the elements in every concept and precept? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering this question." I believe we can accomplish the same things....we just have to "choose" to do it and when the creator says....Well, did you say Hi back? We should be answering....."Hi back!"