Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

The Search

“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 earnest about it.  The power is close at hand.”  Wow!  The words written over 250 years ago seem to have a contemporary ring to the spiritual condition of our times.  

This is a quote from a short devotional book by Gerhard Tersteegen  (1697-1769), a spiritual writer and guide of the 18th century, entitled “The Quiet Way.” He was part of the renewal movement in Germany. “Germany, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was war-ridden and ,morally and spiritually impoverished.  A thirty-years war had cost her twelve million lives, forth-fifths of her population, and had left behind it a land of ravaged farmsteads, destroyed stock, famine, disease, bestiality and even cannibalism” (The Quiet Way -Intro).

In this environment Tersteegen’s advice was simple: “You are the child of God,  God’s nature is in you.  It has only over-clouded.  Withdraw from outward things.  Pray, and you will make contact again with God, the source of your being.  Forget yourself.  Forget your selfish desires.  Look to God.  Die to your own will, live for God’s will and you will know true life”  (The Quiet Way – Into.)

Tersteegen’s spiritual counsel can be helpful for us as we tread the spiritual landscape scattered with “mine fields” of distortion and outright unbelief.   The author’s audience was,  “harassed by war-time conditions, uncongenial companions, religious doubts, bad tempers, church divisions, uncontrollable impulses, and the will to do good which seems so often to be overruled by the bent to do evil” (The Quiet Way – Into). 

I discovered this small devotional guide in the 80’s.  I have read it many times in  my desire to be formed into the image of Christ.  I am definitely still a work in  progress.  But praise God, I have found help for the journey.  Tersteegen is one of those hidden spiritual guides of the past helping me to get both my head and heart integrated on the spiritual journey.  I want to share just a few gems from the first chapter, “God, our True Life,”  I must confess, I am able to integrate his insights more comprehensibly then in the 80’s.

The first gem: “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.”  Colossians 3:3, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  For me this means – Through Jesus, God the Father has sent the Holy Spirit, the presence of the triune God into my heart (deepest center).  I do not have to go searching for the presence.  God is with me, but hidden.  Why?  So I don’t mess up the relationship.

The second gem:  “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.”  John 14:14, “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  For me this means – The triune God lives at the center.  Don’t try to figure it all out. Rest as a child in his bosom within

The Third gem:  “You don’t need to search for God; you have only to realize Him.” For me – It’s not doing or thinking more, but becoming aware.   



1 Comment


    Good one Al. I’m turning 90 in a few days, and I’m still seeking. Your post is refreshing, I can stop seeking, but I have to switch gears and look in instead of looking out. I’m guessing, but that’s probably why just sitting and being quiet and listening is so important . Love Tom

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