The Kingdom of Heaven did gather us and catch us all, as in a net, and his heavenly power at one time drew many hundreds to land. We came to know a place to stand in and what to wait in; and the Lord appeared daily to us, to our astonishment, amazement, and a great admiration, insomuch that we said one unto another with great joy of heart: ‘What, is the Kingdom of God come to be with men?’ ... And from that day forward, our hearts were knit unto the Lord and one unto another in true and fervent love, in the covenant of Life with God; and that was a strong obligation or bond upon all our spirits, which united us one unto another. We met together in the unity of the Spirit, and of the bond of peace, treading down under our feet all reasoning about religion.
– Francis Howgill, in Edward Burrough,
The Memorable Works of a Son of Thunder, 1672
God-directed personal conduct calls for discipline in every area of our lives. We need to strive constantly toward wholeness. This is not easy. We shall stumble and make wrong turns. We must learn how to forgive ourselves, even as God forgives us, and take comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone in our quest: With us go God’s unfailing love and mercy, the companionship of other Friends, the guidance of Jesus, and the wisdom of others on whom the Spirit has left a vivid imprint. The paradox of discipline is that it frees us to respond creatively to God.
Miraculously, God can still work through our blocked minds, deficient vision, and dulled spiritual hearing. Once in a while, when we are experiencing a bit of humility and feeling less protective of our egos, wonderful things can happen. It is then that God lets us know the peace of a worry-free moment. It is then that insoluble problems seem to work themselves out, without our attention. We must hold fast to the memory of these experiences of faith because they hold the promise of more faith and encourage us to surrender to God’s Wisdom.
– Virginia W. Apsey,
“Worry, Trust, and Faith,” Friends Journal, 3/87