For the first 45 years of his life, Frank Laubach lived a pretty average life. He was a Christian living in a remote part of the Philippines, yet at his 46th birthday he wrote in his journal, “I no longer have the sense that life is all before me, as I had a few years ago. Some of it is behind—and a miserable poor part of it is so far below what I had dreamed that I dare not even think of it. Nor dare I think much of the future…God is the only refuge I have from poisonous disappointment.” Yet that year, 1930, despite the disappointment of life so far, something changed.
By 1970, when Laubach passed away 40 years later, his influence was worldwide. The Encyclopedia Britannica notes he was perhaps the single greatest educator of modern times. Having developed the “Each One Teach One” literacy program, which was used to teach 60 million people to read in their own language, from the Philippines to India and all across the globe. In the last 40 years of his life, Laubach wrote over 50 books and became an international presence influencing poverty, injustice, and illiteracy worldwide. What changed in that year of 1930 for Frank Laubach? In his own words, 1930 was the year Frank Laubach began an Experiment.
In Laubach’s journal, published under the title Practicing His Presence, in 1930 he wrote, “Two years ago a profound dissatisfaction led me to begin trying to line up my actions with the will of God about every half hour. People told me it was impossible. I judge from what I heard that few people are really trying even that. But this year I’m experimenting with living all my waking moments in conscious listening to the inner voice, asking without ceasing, “Father, what do you want said? What Father, do you want me to do this moment? It is clear that this is exactly what Jesus was doing all day every day.”
When I stumbled on the 60:60 Experiment, I had never heard of Frank Laubach. Only after we did the 60:60 did someone introduce me to this amazing man of faith, but I had experienced similar things to what I was reading. After 30 days, Laubach wrote, “I’m ashamed to confess that for 16 years as a Christian, I never felt the joy of full willingness like I’m now experiencing. This sense of cooperation with God in little things is what so astonishes me. I need something, and turn around to find it waiting for me. I must work, to be sure, but there is God working along with me…my part is to live this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in complete responsiveness to his will to make this hour unfathomably rich. This seems to be all I need think about.
After 60 days, Laubach writes, “The experiment is interesting, although I’m not very successful thus far. The thought of God slips out of my sight for I suppose 2/3rds of every day thus far…yet this thing of keeping in constant touch with God…is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. It is working…this hour can be heaven. Any hour for any body can be rich with God.”
Nearly a year later, Laubach wrote, “Worries have faded away like ugly clouds and my soul actually has peace…How I wish that a dozen or more persons would try to hold God endlessly in mind and write their experiences so that each would know what the other was finding as a result. The results, I think, would astound the world. At least the results of my own effort are astounding to me.”
Let’s do that! If you’re joining in the 60:60 Experiment, post what you’re learning on the Soul Revolution Facebook page to encourage one another and, hopefully, astound the world with God’s goodness.