Signposts – Part VI

Signposts – Part VI

We are intricately woven into an orderly framework designed by God. From time to time, we get to see a glimpse of it. Here is another amazing example…

In 2006, Cecil Murphey, one of my writing mentors, told me I should find a copy of Letters by a Modern Mystic, by Frank Laubach. He knew I was working on my book and felt my writing was similar to Laubach’s. Originally published in 1937, the book was currently out-of-print. I gave up too easily.

The summer of 2007, I traveled to Cleveland to help my parents move. My mother and I were sorting through their books, deciding what to keep or give away. I came across several works by Frank Laubach and immediately asked her if she happened to have a copy of Letters by a Modern Mystic. She didn’t think so. A conversation followed:

“Mom, how did you come across this author?” I asked. “I’ve never heard of him, until recently. A writing friend told me to find that book.”

“My mother and father knew him,” she said.

I couldn’t believe my ears. “You’re kidding!”

“You remember John Peters, the founder of World Neighbors?” she asked.

“Sure.” I nodded. “Nana and Pops knew him through their church in Columbus, right?”

“Yes,” she said. “Well, Frank Laubach and John Peters were contemporaries in the mission world. They were also friends.”

“No way!” What a small-world coincidence.

My mother handed me a stack of books for the giveaway pile. “In fact,” she continued, “you were too little to remember this, but those two men came to our house on Maplewood Road. They stayed the night with us.”

“What?” I looked at her straight on.

“It’s true. And Mr. Laubach brought a blow-up globe of the world for you. He inflated it and set you on top of it. You just laughed and laughed.”

I was stunned. Though I had no memory of it, my life had actually intersected with this man. His present felt symbolic to me. Was it chance? Or was it God.

The next spring, my daughter and her husband were packing up their things in Portland, Oregon to move to Montana. I flew out to help. My son-in-law’s mother, Terry, also came. I’ll never forget the moment she walked into their apartment. After exchanging hugs, Terry said that she and her husband, Richard, had been reading an amazing book together. When they finished it, they both thought that I should have the book. The writing reminded them of me. She pulled out a copy of Letters by a Modern Mystic, by Frank Laubach. His son, Robert Laubach, had just released a smaller version of the original book.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. God had my attention now…

Letters by a Modern Mystic is a series of letters that Frank Laubach wrote to his father when he was a young missionary serving in the Philippines. The letters recount his spiritual journey and discovery of communion with God similar to Brother Lawrence in, The Practice of the Presence of God.

Reviewer Edward Davis said, “This book (tells of Laubach’s) attempt to keep God in his mind each and every moment of the day, thinking of and talking to God, and allowing God to work through him. The book describes his early difficulties and later successes. He ultimately had direct experiences of God, which he describes in mesmerizing detail. The letters are beautifully written and deeply inspiring. Laubach’s experiences are a testimony to the fact that God longs for our love and will respond when we give Him that love and attention…”

Frank Laubach developed the “Each One Teach One” literacy program. It has been used to teach millions of people to read in their own language. He was deeply concerned about poverty, injustice and illiteracy and considered them barriers to peace in the world.

In 1955, he founded Laubach Literacy, which had grown to embrace 34 developing countries. Now the extent of his work is too far-reaching to measure. Laubach is the only American missionary to be honored on a US postage stamp, a 30¢ Great Americans series stamp in 1984.

But his writing mapped out the wonders of a life lived with unceasing focus on God. And that is now at the center of all my writing.

Perhaps in some small measure he imparted something to me that day long ago when he came to my childhood home and set me on a plastic globe. My book has been translated into Korean and has shown up in faraway places like Australia and Singapore.

Recently, I receive a Facebook friend request from Taylor Balian, a young man from a fine family here in our valley. I accepted and wrote:

“What are you up to these days?”

“I’m in Lebanon at the moment for a humanitarian response to the refugees from Syria,” he replied. “Staying at a guesthouse at a seminary in Beirut.  They have a small display of books for sale, probably less than 20 in English, but yours was one of them! Thought you might want to know! Do you have connections in Lebanon or did your book just make it here on its own?!”

I told him I had no idea. I do know that books end up on shelves. Printed words easily fade from memory, but what the Holy Spirit does with the work of our hands is what matters.

There are mysteries like that, and God is in the details.


  1. uh oh, the math keeps getting harder!
    god IS in the details sweet susan, that is truth in full.
    and mostly i see you sitting on that globe, what a trip.
    this is just another example of an amazing connection our lord set up for you. he loves you dearly, as you know.
    and so do i. thank you for these mind boggling posts you keep coming out with.
    suzee B

    • It is a wonder…how God has it all woven together. I really want others to connect the dots in their world too.

  2. Katie Mazza wrote:
    Loved reading this….nicely done and …what a story! I am especially excited by the young man fining your book in Lebanon! God IS in the details…. Thnx:)

  3. A college friend, Speed Stodghill wrote:
    Hi Sue,
    Thanks for sharing your faith, enthusiasm and wonder. Hope all is well.
    Warm Regards,