The following text is an excerpt from chapter 1 “God, Our True Life” of Gerhard Tersteegen’s book “The Quiet Life”. I hope you find it helpful in your quest of experiencing and receiving more from God.
We are conscious these days of a deep-seated hunger, a secret need in our heart’s core, to be set free from sin, from the world, and from self-centeredness, and so to be reunited with our source. We must only be in earnest about it. The power is close at hand. Just stay where you are and unite yourselves with God as with something there already, that you do not need to seek! For God is certainly with you and in you, although hidden by darkness. It is true that this Something to which your heart inclines is not known by you clearly; but this not-knowing is true knowing, and this undefined, better than a thousand definitions.
You don’t need to search for God; you have only to realize Him. The mind of God and the light of God do not come in from outside. They do not borrow their certainty and strength from our minds or our senses. They make themselves known in the heart’s core and have both energy and certainty in themselves, although these become darkened and disappear when the soul begins to search after clear certainty in her depths. So do not go out so much into reflections. Do not seek merely by reasoned, external methods to find sure foundations, but close your eyes like a child and confide yourself to the hidden Being who is so near to you inwardly.
O that I could pour out my whole heart in tears and weep for the blindness of men! They take their deceptive illusions and their trivial things for the essential, and the essential things of the spirit for imagination and error. Yet it has been told us aforetime that the natural man, in contrast to the spiritual, can perceive nothing of the things of the Spirit of God. What is visible is passing; the best in it comes and goes. We see, we admire, we bury ourselves in things which are not, and Him who is, we leave out of consideration.
All we children of Adam live in time; and we can neither comprehend nor criticize the eternal and infinite with our finite reason. We see God in parts, so to speak, now from this side, now from that, and what we cannot make into rhyme or reason, we try to isolate, and will not believe to be God. Then we fashion God after our own idea and draw our own consequences and conclusions; and anything which does not agree with them, we must, of course, contradict. And it is just in this way, in my opinion, that many ugly theories and errors have arisen among all sections of Christendom. Oh, what a difference when, after reason has carved an image of God, the Lord himself comes and impresses His glorious knowledge and His very self upon the soul!
I esteem no books to be more superfluous in the world than those which set out to prove that there is a God. Since so many millions of people have been in America, no books are needed to prove that there is a New World. The witness of grace in the heart and conscience is the best guarantee of truth, and anyone who keeps to this will never be led astray by any error. To self-activated reason this is a piece of foolishness. Where we stop doing and worrying, God begins, and He will be everything in our nothingness. God is all-sufficient in every way. He is able, He alone is able. He is perfectly able. He is able to satisfy and bless the incredibly great receptivity of our soul. May the Lord grant us living experience of this Being in our souls, even although we should at the same time forget all we know about it.
In addition to this, I would like to clarify what Tersteegen might have meant right at the end of these lines when he said we should forget everything, every revelation of God, after we have experienced it.
Of course, we cannot say, “Okay, I am going to forget it now!!” Instead, our minds will be kept busy when God after many years or decades REALLY manifests Himself to us. Even here we need God’s help and spiritual intervention to make us “forget” encounters and experiences insofar as clinging to them would fix our minds and hearts somehow within time and space. However, the eternal God lives out of time and space. And if we want to “flow” with and in the One who encompasses everything, we need a God-given self-forgetfulness, a condition of heart and mind that is no longer occupied with the old and limited Adam or Eve, but solely focused on God, as it is written,
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Mt 6:21-22 KJV)
Indeed, God wants to be our ONLY treasure. Usually He gives us in the first place earthly gifts and later spiritual gifts – blessings both, to be sure. Yet the greatest blessing for human beings is the Giver who gives Himself to them. Therefore God, again and again, withdraws His specific blessings from us so that we might seek HIM all the more.