NO ONE CAN tell another person what is to come to him from the silence, what message he will receive from the One who dwells in the holy of holies within his own soul. No one can tell another what he will bring back with him into his life from the Creator of his being. Each one of us goes to God with different needs, in different states of consciousness, taking different steps in search of Him. Some go in roundabout ways, some go direct, each one preparing the path over which the message is to come back to him. Some dare to touch only the hem of God's garment, others go boldly to the throne of grace and kneel at His feet. During His earthly ministry the Master told His followers, "According to your faith be it done unto you" (Matt. 9:29). We receive according to our capacity, and the degree of our faith determines our capacity. The Father always fills to overflowing any vessel that one of His children holds out to Him. He is not limited, neither does He limit us, but we limit Him in fixing our capacity to receive. We need to make our vessels for containing His love greater, we need to hold them steadier for Him to fill, we need to see them full to overflowing, as He would have them be. The receiving capacity of our vessels is always in proportion to the faith we have in the Giver's ability and willingness to give, in proportion to the expectancy we have of receiving that which we ask, in harmony with the vision we
have of the finished, perfected gift. He reveals Himself in His fullness to those who entirely empty themselves of personality and let Him in His own way reveal to them that which they should know and do to become like Him.
When the widow whose two sons were about to be taken for debt went to Elisha for help, he asked her what she had in the house (II Kings 4). She said a little oil (her faith), and he told her to go and borrow vessels from her neighbors (increase her expectancy from her knowledge of God's goodness). "Borrow not a few" said the one who knew God. Then she was instructed to take her sons (desires) and go into her room (the secret place) and close the door (wipe out doubts and fears) and pour (give thanks) into her vessels the increase of Jehovah. When the vessels about her were full, which she had borrowed according to the faith and expectancy she had of their being filled, she asked for more vessels. But there was none, "and the oil stayed." As long as there was a vessel to receive it the oil continued to flow, even as our good continues to flow to us according to the amount of faith and expectancy we have. The widow's answer was the Father's "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over" (Luke 6:38); for she had asked for enough to pay the debt, and there was more, according to the prophet's words, "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy sons of the rest." Many times we receive only partial answers to our prayers, and we cry, "Why are my prayers not answered as I asked? I had faith";
but we have not added to the faith the expectancy and vision required to complete the work. We always receive full measure, according to the measure that we ourselves provide for the reception of our good. If we desire to have our prayer answered in His full and running-over measure, we must ask seeing the work already accomplished, as the Master said: "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matt. 21:22).
The higher the soul reaches in its aspiration to find God the greater will be the message, the richer the gifts. When we learn to pray the selfless, desireless prayer, sinking our will in the will of the Highest, assurance of the answer will be given us not only on the inner plane, but on the outer also. There is a covenant that we can enter into the Great Giver: "All things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine" (John 17:10); and this promise of reciprocity will open up to us all that He is and all that He has, and there will be that added to us that which is worth much in the bringing forth of His kingdom.
It takes a great hunger and thirst after God, an intense desire to be like Him, a sinking of self and desire in the will of the Highest, to enable us to find entrance into the most holy place and become a high priest to go in and come out before Jehovah. Jesus Christ, our great high priest, in whose footsteps we seek to follow in order to reach the inner sanctuary, says: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). This filling may take place in many ways. It always
comes after some waiting in faith and expectancy in the silence, some waiting for the Beloved of the soul to make Himself known. It may come as an inner glory that quickens the flesh and shines forth in a radiance such as covered Moses when he came down from the mount of holiness, a transfiguration that instantly cleanses and heals all the ills of the body. The filling may come from entering into God-Mind, becoming one with omniscience, where all questions are answered and all ways made plain. Perhaps your "cup runneth over" as you sit and sup with Him in the silence of your soul, and you are filled with such a realization of the richness of your Father's kingdom that the way is made open for substance to flow into your life, and every desire and need of your life is filled full, to spare and to share. Or you may kneel before the just judge in your desire to forgive and be forgiven, and you are so filled with divine love that ever after there will be manifested toward you and from you a dissolving, redeeming love so great that no man's mind or hand can be lifted against you, or your mind or hand lifted against any man. When you enter into the peace that "passeth all understanding," the One who brought forth beauty out of the waste and void and light out of darkness will make for you all crooked places straight, all dark places light, and your earth will blossom as a rose. That of which we have need has a correspondent in God's world of good holiness, substance, harmony, peace, love, wisdom being really what we need and when we seek it, it will be given us in a
usable outer form. When we earnestly, prayerfully, joyously make our search for the kingdom of God, putting aside all else to accomplish our purpose we shall find the kingdom, and we shall find that it includes all the needs of mind, body, and affairs. The promise is "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt. 6:32) and the promise goes still further: "thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee."
Spiritual deafness will cease when we really cross the threshold into the silence, for the inner ear will become alert in seeking to catch the message of the still small voice. The outer ear also may be opened during some time of listening within for this message so that "the deaf hear." Many a message will come to us when we have become still enough to enter the silence. It may be some great message repeated that the Master spoke when among men, bearing some new meaning and usefulness for you personally. It may be some individual message to comfort, to lift, to strengthen, spoken to you when the veil is lifted and you pass beyond, into the holy of holies. Nevermore will you doubt the possibility of meeting God and walking and talking with Him in the secret place when once you have gone beyond the silence and seen Him face to face, holding sweet communion with Him in the garden of your soul.
A great tree falls in a place far from human habitation. It makes no sound, for there is no physical ear near enough to receive its vibrations from the air. The ear is the receiver of vibrations from
the air and reports them to the intellect. It is thus we perceive what is called sound. In the silence we are not dealing with the physical senses but with spiritual senses. We are not listening for the intellect but for the voice of God. The "still small voice" (I Kings 19:12) speaking to us is soundless, yet conveys its message with a clearness beyond any spoken word of the human voice. When once this message is received, it is written indelibly in the soul, and is even more readable to the one receiving it than is the largest print of a book to the physical eye. The more often this message is rehearsed, recalled, the more sure is the good to be got from it.
When we have learned to draw near to the Father, who sees in secret and rewards openly, with a heart full of faith and expectancy, we shall find that when the way seems dark and the shadows seem to close on us, we have only to reach out and take up the candle of the Lord, and the way will be illumined. If we calmly turn the question of knowing over to the omniscient mind of God when we come to a crossroad in life and are puzzled and worried about the way to take, the angel of His presence will direct our path, and we shall travel the right road, with this presence ever leading us on into greater good. When we can submit all seeming injustice to the just judge, when we no longer ourselves pass judgment according to appearances, His strong right arm will become our defense, and any hand lifted against us will drop in helplessness. Every lonely, homesick feeling, every craving of the
soul seeking its home, a home not made with hands, will be filled to satisfaction with His loving presence. Though family and friends forsake us, the Christ never will, for His promise "Lo, I am with you always" is for all who will turn to Him, and these shall always find Him near and in that nearness be satisfied. When pain racks the body and we draw near to the Great Physician until we feel His loving touch, we shall arise and go forth renewed in mind, soul, and body, strengthened and healed. There is an omnipresent surgeon to whom we can submit, in the silent place, any imperfection of the body, and who will rectify it according to the perfect Christ body. When bills mount up and the purse seems empty, we have only to turn to the One whose bank is unlimited, whose substance is for our use, and there wait in faith, and His abundance will be "pressed out" to us. Whatever the human heart craves, whatever the body needs, will be given in the silence, for whenever a cry goes from the heart Godward, He immediately answers, "Here am I." All this and still more unconceived good will unfold for us when we come in and go out no more but abide in the consciousness of the God presence. The inside of the cup will be cleansed and the outside will show forth this cleansing in the radiant beauty of the living God, whose likeness we have become. Wherever we go we shall rouse in others a desire for the beauty of holiness that we express. When our inner ear is attuned to catch His message even in the midst of our everyday living and working and our inner eye is
trained to glimpse His perfection even in the midst of appearances of error and inharmony, then our whole world will be filled with His glory. When we sit at His feet long enough to learn of him, we shall carry away with us His holiness, and even our presence, like the garment of the Master and the shadow of Peter, will be harmony and healing. Signs and wonders shall we do by stretching forth our hands in the name of the indwelling Christ. It is in the secret place, after we have felt the presence of the Most High, that we shall first join in that song of thanksgiving, started when the morning stars sang together in praise of the Creator and His creation, and evermore, when disappointment, discouragement, and downward visioning tend to overwhelm us, we shall remember this song which continually sings deep within and, joining in the anthem, be healed.
O Thou glorious presence ever with me, let me sit at Thy feet until all darkness, all dimness of vision, has passed and I see Thee as Thou art. Let me listen until all spiritual deafness passes, that I may hold sweet communion with the Christ, my soul. I await wow the fulfillment of Thyself in me, that I may express the glory of the risen Christ in my life.
Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round.
– J. G. Holland
By thine own soul's law learn to live;
And if men thwart thee take no heed,
And if men slight thee take no care.
Sing thou thy song and do thy deed,
Hope thou thy hope and pray thy prayer,
And claim no crown this does not give.
"If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
"Lo, I am with you always" (Matt. 28:20).
"Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9).
"Freely ye received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8).
"I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me ... Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me" (Matt. 25:35-40).