Chapter 21 — ”Now Is the Accepted Time”
“Be ye therefore perfect,” Jesus said. That seems a hard saying, doesn’t it? Because we look upon perfection as a goal so far beyond us.
But He added, “Even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Isn’t this the clue to our approach to the ideal? If we let God express Himself through us, will the result fall short of perfection? “The Father abiding in me doeth his works.”
There is a fragment of a verse somewhere that says, “Having done all, to stand.” Doesn’t that mean that, having let go and placed our problem lovingly in the hands of the Father, leaving it all quietly to God, we shall find ourselves arriving at contentment, happiness, peace? And the greatest of these is peace.
With worry forgotten, anxiety stilled, and fear forever done away with, what can heart desire beyond the resulting peace? Peace is the secret of achievement, the root soil of love, the prerequisite of union with the indwelling Christ. When human hearts know peace, they overflow with joy.
Peace is not mere passivity, resignation, inactivity. It is utter well-being, conscious and unconscious. Peace is heaven. Must we wait till the world is at peace, till crime and war and sin vanish from the earth, before you and I can have peace? Certainly not. Peace is an atmosphere of the heart, a state of the individual soul, and has nothing to do with environment or circumstance.
“A thousand shall fall at thy side,
And ten thousand at thy right hand,
But it shall not come nigh thee.”
The 91st Psalm tells what peace is. It is dwelling “in the secret place of the Most High.”
We all know what peace is, even if only from momentary experiences of it. It is the priceless summum bonum toward which our heart forever yearns. Yet it is within our reach, yours and mine, if we are only content, “having done all, to stand.”
If we are committed to a life of giving, a life of loving, a life of being—of being an open channel—peace is the inevitable result. When we begin that life, peace begins. As we grow into that life, peace grows into us. Perhaps it will take a completed eternity to open every channel to God and find complete peace. But we can find a “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” now.
“Now is the accepted time.” It is the accepted time for beginning to live, for beginning to love, for beginning to give, for beginning to enjoy. Everything God asks of us, everything God promises us is for the eternal now. We think it will take time, at best, to get what we want. How long would it take to become galvanized if you should take hold of a live wire? God is a live wire, and heaven is the current that flows through Him. Does it shock you to think in such simple terms of God? Why? Isn’t electricity one of the manifestations of God’s power? God tells us to think simply—as simply as a child.
“But,” you say, “not all of God’s laws work instantaneously. We are told about planting and waiting for the harvest.”
That illustrates one phase of working with God. I spoke of the live wire to illustrate another phase. Time concerns matters of material, earthly things. For food and clothes and houses and money I may have to wait awhile. But for the big things I do not have to wait at all. If I begin really to work with God, the instantaneous result is love. If I really, actually leave all results quietly to God, the instantaneous result is peace. The instantaneous result of peace is joy. What do I think food and clothing and houses and money will give me, anyway? Will they give me love and peace and joy?
It is only the arrival of the things “added” that takes time. The coming of the kingdom is instantaneous—the instant we seek. “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” When? “When ye shall search for me.” The addition of the things that my Heavenly Father knows I have need of will follow—inevitably.
“But isn’t it going to take time for me to do the things referred to in the phrase ‘Having done all, to stand’ “?
Yes, if you think so. But why should you think it takes time to “leave it all quietly to God”? That is all you have to do.
“But I have to love my enemies. Won’t that take time?”
Of course—if you think so. But suppose you leave all that quietly to God?
“But won’t it take time for me to begin to love?”
If you think so, yes. But if you turn to God with the thought of loving them that despitefully use you, before you ask He will answer.
“Then it is all a matter of my thinking? I don’t know how to think right. It will take time for me to learn—if I ever do.”
Will it? Why not leave all that quietly to God? That’s right thinking—isn’t it?
“But wait a minute! Won’t it take time for me to begin to give?”
The essence of giving is in the thought of giving, isn’t it? We’ve discussed the time it takes to think.
“Well, anyway, it is going to take time for me to receive.” “All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine.” Do you want tomorrow’s food today?
“But I want health today.”
Why not leave it all quietly to God?
“But perhaps I find it impossible to believe all these beautiful things.”
Why not leave that quietly to God?
You see, you can’t “poke holes” in Truth. It is unanswerable. All it demands of you is to try it. You find it hard only because you have the habit of believing something else. Anticipating your question, I answer that it doesn’t take time to break a habit if you will put it lovingly in the hands of the Father.
John Burroughs wrote a fine poem which he called “Waiting.” Here is the first stanza:
“Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, or tide, or sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
For, lo! my own shall come to me.”
Are we not all much too much concerned with activities in the material world? When we think of giving, why not think of the best things we have to give? Love, for instance. Prayer, for instance. If we remember that everything that ultimately becomes manifest in the material world begins first in thought, that removes a mountain of difficulties, doesn’t it?
Perhaps we are afraid or ashamed to commit ourselves to a life of faith and trust and love. We think perhaps we may be disappointed and become ridiculous. What do we mean by committing ourselves? Telling somebody else we are going to try it? What do we mean by becoming ridiculous? In somebody else’s eyes? Well, why tell anybody what we are trying to do? Why risk the ridicule? We do not have to advertise our undertaking. We do not have to risk anything. Indeed, the less we advertise it the better.
But if we really do begin the life of “working with God,” we shall forget all about advertising and risks. To be sure, what we are doing will advertise itself—in results. Instead of ridicule, we shall promptly have large numbers of people around us asking us what has happened to us—how we do it—how they can do it too. We shall have something to give, we shall find it easy to love, we shall gain wisdom, we shall see multiform opportunities on all sides of us, we shall achieve.
And there shall be added unto us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Because, when we begin working with God, God works with us—and God works miracles.