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Following Jesus

Facing Uncertainty

March 14, 2020 by

 Eberhard Arnold published Innerland after World War I, a time of worldwide uncertainty and upheaval. The following excerpt is taken from a new translation of volume 1, The Inner Life.

In such agitated times as ours today, the enemy of our soul has a powerful band of accomplices that want to shatter and destroy it. But in the hush of night God speaks clearly and unmistakably to our soul to draw it away from destruction and make it his follower Isaiah 55:3. He awakens the spirit and shows us the way to life Proverbs 7:2; Luke 10:25–28. He wants to fill the awakened soul with his peace so that dark powers have no room Romans 8:6; Psalm 62:1. When the soul cries out for God Psalm 116:4, driven to do so by the distress of our time, it will be led to the goal – to the church and to the kingdom – if by the will it is lifted up to Jesus Christ and remains concentrated on him alone Psalm 143:8–10.


Without a rebirth in our hearts, we will glean from fluctuating world events either a false meaning – based perhaps only on material considerations or on emotional or racial ties – or no meaning at all. The course of history is interpreted falsely by very many people in the interests of their own nation, for example, or their own society. For most people, though, it never has any meaning at all. There is only one possible way of bringing this confusion to an end. One’s whole person and the whole of one’s life must undergo a complete about-face toward the kingdom of God Matthew 6:33. Rebirth is the only name we can give to such a radical change with its childlike trust in God’s intervention and firm, manly expectation of it Luke 21:28; 18:17; Matthew 18:3. This is the complete opposite of the former life. It is only through such a complete change that we – by going through judgment – can recognize in all that happens the approach and intervention of God’s rule John 3:3, 5. We can never see the kingdom of God or have any part in it without a rebirth of heart that breaks down the whole structure of our life and then makes a new start, a completely different one. Only a new beginning that starts from the very bottom in the process of becoming a true person, only the rebirth that starts at the very beginning, is able to prepare us for the kingdom of God. It must be a new beginning of our whole personal life. …

If in the storm of public opinion and the towering waves of chaos, we want to keep a clear, firm course instead of inwardly suffering shipwreck – then our hidden inner being needs daily the quiet haven of communion with God Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; Matthew 6:6.

Eberhard Arnold founded the Bruderhof in 1920. Explore an archive of his writings at Comments

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