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Prayers for Assistance with Tests

Continuing on the theme of tests, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have both revealed many wonderful prayers for assistance with tests, which aren’t in our regular prayer books.  I thought I would share some of my favorites with you!

They are sore pressed with cares, O my Lord, and are encompassed about by the wicked. Send down, therefore, from the heaven of Thy behest Thine invisible hosts, that, holding aloft the ensigns of Thy victory, they may help them in Thy land, and may shield them against Thine adversaries.  I entreat Thee, O my God, by Thy name through which the clouds have rained down their rain, and the streams have flowed, and the fire of Thy love hath been kindled throughout Thy dominion, to assist Thy servant who hath turned towards Thee, and hath spoken forth Thy praise, and determined to help Thee. Fortify, then, his heart, O my God, in Thy love and in Thy Faith. Better is this for him than all that hath been created on Thine earth, for the world and whatsoever is therein must perish, and what pertaineth unto Thee must endure as long as Thy most excellent names endure. By Thy Glory! Were the world to last as long as Thine own kingdom will last, to set their affections upon it would still be unseemly for such as have quaffed, from the hands of Thy mercy, the wine of Thy presence; how much more when they recognize its fleetingness and are persuaded of its transience. The chances that overtake it, and the changes to which all things pertaining unto it are continually subjected, attest its impermanence.  Whosoever hath recognized Thee will turn to none save Thee, and will seek from Thee naught else except Thyself. Thou art the sole Desire of the heart of him whose thoughts are fixed on Thee, and the highest Aspiration of whosoever is wholly devoted unto Thee.  No God is there beside Thee, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 115-117)

Magnified art Thou, O Lord my God! I ask Thee by Thy Name which Thou hast set up above all other names, through which the veil of heaven hath been split asunder and the Day-Star of Thy beauty hath risen above the horizon, shining with the brightness of Thy Name, the Exalted, the Most High, to succor me with Thy wondrous help and to preserve me in the shelter of Thy care and protection . . . No God is there beside Thee, the All-Glorious, the Great Giver, the Forgiving, the Compassionate.   (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 142)

I beseech Thee, by Thyself and by whatsoever is of Thee, to grant that I may help Thy Cause and speak of Thy praise, and set my heart on the sanctuary of Thy glory, and detach myself from all that pertaineth not unto Thee. No God is there beside Thee, the God of power, the God of glory and wisdom.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 165)

O God, my God! Be Thou not far from me, for tribulation upon tribulation hath gathered about me. O God, my God! Leave me not to myself, for the extreme of adversity hath come upon me. Out of the pure milk, drawn from the breasts of Thy loving-kindness, give me to drink, for my thirst hath utterly consumed me. Beneath the shadow of the wings of Thy mercy shelter me, for all mine adversaries with one consent have fallen upon me. Keep me near to the throne of Thy majesty, face to face with the revelation of the signs of Thy glory, for wretchedness hath grievously touched me. With the fruits of the Tree of Thine Eternity nourish me, for uttermost weakness hath overtaken me. From the cups of joy, proffered by the hands of Thy tender mercies, feed me, for manifold sorrows have laid mighty hold upon me. With the broidered robe of Thine omnipotent sovereignty attire me, for poverty hath altogether despoiled me. Lulled by the cooing of the Dove of Thine Eternity, suffer me to sleep, for woes at their blackest have befallen me. Before the throne of Thy oneness, amid the blaze of the beauty of Thy countenance, cause me to abide, for fear and trembling have violently crushed me. Beneath the ocean of Thy forgiveness, faced with the restlessness of the leviathan of glory, immerse me, for my sins have utterly doomed me.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 233)

O my Lord, assist them in all cases, and help them under all circumstances, through the angels of Thy sanctity, who are Thine invisible hosts, and overwhelm all the armies of the inferior concourse. Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Omnipotent, the Comprehending, and Thou art the Almighty!  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 368)

O Thou Who art the All-Knowing! Wayward though we be, we still cling to Thy bounty; and though ignorant, we still set our faces toward the ocean of Thy wisdom. Thou art that All-Bountiful Who art not deterred by a multitude of sins from vouchsafing Thy bounty, and the flow of Whose gifts is not arrested by the withdrawal of the peoples of the world. From eternity the door of Thy grace hath remained wide open. A dewdrop out of the ocean of Thy mercy is able to adorn all things with the ornament of sanctity, and a sprinkling of the waters of Thy bounty can cause the entire creation to attain unto true wealth.  Lift not the veil, O Thou Who art the Concealer! From eternity the tokens of Thy bounty have encompassed the universe, and the splendors of Thy Most Great Name have been shed over all created things. Deny not Thy servants the wonders of Thy grace. Cause them to be made aware of Thee, that they may bear witness to Thy unity, and enable them to recognize Thee, that they may hasten towards Thee. Thy mercy hath embraced the whole creation, and Thy grace hath pervaded all things. From the billows of the ocean of Thy generosity the seas of eagerness and enthusiasm were revealed. Thou art what Thou art. Aught except Thee is unworthy of any mention unless it entereth beneath Thy shadow, and gaineth admittance into Thy court.  Whatever betide us, we beseech Thine ancient forgiveness, and seek Thine all-pervasive grace. Our hope is that Thou wilt deny no one Thy grace, and wilt deprive no soul of the ornament of fairness and justice.  Thou art the King of all bounty, and the Lord of all favors, and supreme over all who are in heaven and on earth.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 245-247)

I beg of Thee to assist them! Do refresh these faded souls with the drops of the cloud of Thy gifts, and do illumine these lowly beings through the effulgences of the sun of Thy Singleness! I pray Thee to cast these thirsty fishes into the sea of Thy mercy; guide their lost caravan unto the asylum of Thy unity; direct these bewildered souls unto the fountain of Thy guidance, and cause these wanderers to abide in the shelter of Thy might. Suffer the thirst ones to drink from the Sweet Water of the Life of Thy gifts, and quicken the dead by eternal life. Endow the blind with light, the deaf with hearing, the dumb with speech, the lukewarm with energy, the heedless with mindfulness, the sleepers with wakefulness, and the proud with humility. Verily, Thou art the Powerful, Thou art the Forgiver! Thou art the Loving! Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Most High!  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 369)

I beseech Thee, by Thy Most Great Name, through which all created things were rent asunder and the whole creation was shaken, to send down from the clouds of Thy mercy that which will purge them from every ordeal and from whatever is hateful to Thee. Raise them up, then, to such heights that no amount of tribulation will keep them back from Thy wondrous remembrance, nor any trouble hinder them from turning toward the court of Thy transcendent oneness.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 168)

Glory to Thee, O Thou Who art the Lord of all worlds, and the Beloved of all such as have recognized Thee! Thou seest me sitting under a sword hanging on a thread, and art well aware that in such a state I have not fallen short of my duty towards Thy Cause, nor failed to shed abroad Thy praise, and declare Thy virtues, and deliver all Thou hadst prescribed unto me in Thy Tablets. Though the sword be ready to fall on my head, I call Thy loved ones with such a calling that the hearts are carried away towards the horizon of Thy majesty and grandeur.  Purge out thoroughly their ears, O my Lord, that they may hearken unto the sweet melodies that have ascended from the right hand of the throne of Thy glory. I swear by Thy might! Were any one to attune his ears to their harmony he would soar up to the kingdom of Thy revelation, wherein every created thing proclaimeth that Thou art God, and that there is none other God save Thee, the Omnipotent, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 170-171)

Glorified art Thou, O my Lord! Thou beholdest my tribulations and all that hath befallen me at the hands of such of Thy servants as keep company with me, who have disbelieved in Thy most resplendent signs, and turned back from Thy most effulgent Beauty. I swear by Thy glory! Such are the troubles that vex me, that no pen in the entire creation can either reckon or describe them.  I implore Thee, O Thou Who art the King of names and the Creator of earth and heaven, so to assist me by Thy strengthening grace that nothing whatsoever will have the power to hinder me from remembering Thee, or celebrating Thy praise, or to keep me back from observing what Thou hast prescribed unto me in Thy Tablets, that I may so arise to serve Thee that with bared head I will hasten forth from my habitation, cry out in Thy name amidst Thy creatures, and proclaim Thy virtues among Thy servants. Having accomplished what Thou hadst decreed, and delivered the thing Thou hadst written down, the wicked doers among Thy people would, then, compass me about and would do with me in Thy path as would please them.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 242-243)

I ask God to grant thee by His favor and grace that which is thy utmost desire; that the closed doors become opened, the uneven roads become even, thy face shine by the love of God, thy sight become brighter  by witnessing the signs of God; that thou mayest attain spiritual joy, eternal happiness and heavenly life.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 129)

Baha’u’llah revealed prayers for the removal of difficulties.   He told Abdu’llah Pasha, who had great difficulty in putting his trust in God, to repeat 19 times everyday the following 2 verses.

‘Go and tell the Vali from Us,’ He told ‘Abdu’llah Pasha, ‘to put his trust wholly in God, and repeat every day, nineteen times, these two verses:

“He who puts his trust in God, God will suffice him”
“He who fears God, God will send him relief.”‘  (H.M. Balyuzi, Baha’u’llah – The King of Glory, p. 138)

Now that you’ve read the prayers, let’s have a look at what we can learn from these prayers in this next article:  What the Prayers for Assistance with Tests Teach Us

What the Prayers for Assistance with Tests Teach Us

 

In another blog posting, I’ve shared some of my favorite Baha’i prayers for assistance with tests.  Now I want to look at what studying these prayers can teach us.  Have a look with me! 

According to the prayers . . .

My tests include: 

  • weakness has overtaken me
  • adversaries have fallen upon me
  • adversity and tribulations have gathered about me
  • thirst has utterly consumed me
  • wretchedness has touched me
  • sorrows have laid hold on me
  • poverty has despoiled me
  • woes have befallen me
  • fear and trembling have violently crushed me
  • sins have utterly doomed me
  • I have great difficulty in putting my trust in God

  My tests cause me to be: 

  • sore pressed with cares
  • encompassed about by the wicked

I recognize that:

God’s Reality

  • God’s help is better for us than everything that has been created on earth
  • Whatever pertains to God will endure as long as His most excellent names endure

God’s Bounties

  • From eternity the tokens of God’s bounty have encompassed the universe
  • The splendors of God’s Most Great Name have been shed over all created things
  • God’s mercy has embraced the whole creation
  • God’s grace has pervaded all things
  • A dewdrop out of the ocean of God’s mercy can adorn all things with the ornament of sanctity
  • A sprinkling of the waters of God’s bounty can cause the entire creation to attain unto true wealth
  • The door of God’s grace remains wide open
  • The flow of God’s gifts is not stopped by my withdrawal from Him
  • Our sins don’t deter us from vouchsafing God’s bounty
  • The ocean of God’s generosity revealed eagerness and enthusiasm

Our Relationship to God

  • Wayward though we be we still cling to God’s bounty
  • Even though we’re ignorant, we still set our faces toward the ocean of God’s wisdom
  • God sees my tribulations and all that has befallen me
  • God is the only Desire of those who fix their thoughts on Him
  • Whoever has recognized God will turn nowhere else
  • Nothing is worthy of any mention unless it enters beneath God’s shadow, and gains admittance into His court

The World

  • The world and whatever is in it must perish
  • If the world was to last as long as God’s kingdom will last, it would still be unseemly to set our affections on it

Life

  • The chances that overtake us, and the changes to which we are continually subjected attest the world’s impermanence
  • Such are the troubles that vex me, that no pen in the entire creation can either reckon or describe them.

For others I pray that God will: 

  • assist those who have turned towards Him, spoken forth His praise, and are determined to help Him
  • cause them to be aware of Him, so that they will bear witness to His unity
  • enable them to recognize Him and hasten towards Him
  • not deny anyone His grace, fairness and justice
  • send down that which will purge them from every ordeal and whatever is hateful
  • direct the bewildered souls to the fountain of His guidance
  • raise them up to such heights that no amount of tribulation will keep them back or any trouble hinder them from turning towards His court
  • endow the blind with light, the deaf with hearing, the dumb with speech, the lukewarm with energy, the heedless with mindfulness, the sleepers with wakefulness, and the proud with humility
  • quicken the dead by eternal life

 I’m asking God for:

Assistance

  • to help me with His wondrous help
  • to assist me in all cases
  • to help me under all circumstances
  • to grant me my utmost desire
  • to cause the closed doors become opened
  • to cause the uneven roads become even

Bounties

  • to seek the wonders of your all-pervasive grace
  • to refresh these faded souls with His gifts
  • to illumine these lowly beings

Detachment

  • to grant that I will detach myself from anything that doesn’t pertain to Him

Eternity

  • to nourish me with the fruits of His Eternity
  • to attire me with the embroidered robe of His omnipotent sovereignty
  • to let me attain spiritual joy, eternal happiness and heavenly life
  • to let me sleep, lulled by the cooing of the Dove of Thine Eternity

Forgiveness

  • to immerse me beneath the ocean of His forgiveness
  • to conceal my sins
  • to beseech His forgiveness

Happiness

  • to feed me from His cups of joy, offered by the hands of His tender mercies

Love

  • to fortify my heart in His love and in His Faith
  • to give me to drink from the breasts of His loving-kindness
  • to shelter me beneath the shadow of the wings of His mercy
  • to let my face shine by His love

Mercy

  • to cast these thirsty fishes into the sea of His mercy

Nearness

  • to grant that I may set my heart on the sanctuary of His glory
  • to not be far from me
  • to leave me not to myself
  • to keep me near the throne of His majesty
  • to keep me face-to-face with the revelation of His signs of glory
  • to let me abide before the throne of His oneness, amid the blaze of the beauty of His countenance
  • to let me drink from the Sweet Water of the Life of His gifts
  • to let my sight become brighter by witnessing His signs

Protection

  • to preserve me in the shelter of His care and protection
  • to overwhelm all the armies of the inferior concourse
  • to cause these wanderers to abide in the shelter of His might
  • to send down His invisible hosts, so that they will help me and shield me against His adversaries
  • to prevent anything from hindering me in remembering Him, celebrating His praise, and observing what He has prescribed in His Tablets

Service

  • to grant that I may help His Cause
  • to let me arise to serve Him

Teaching

  • to grant that I may speak of His praise
  • to hasten forth to cry out His name and proclaim His virtues

Unity

  • to guide my lost caravan to the asylum of His unity

 I’m acknowledging that there is:

  • No God besides Him

And that He is:

  • the All-Glorious
  • the Almighty
  • the Compassionate
  • the Comprehending
  • the Forgiver
  • the Forgiving
  • the Generous
  • the God of glory and wisdom
  • the God of power
  • the Great Giver
  • the Help in Peril
  • the King of all bounty
  • the Lord of all favors
  • the Loving
  • the Most High
  • the Most Powerful
  • the Omnipotent
  • the One who is supreme over all who are in heaven and on earth
  • the Powerful
  • the Self-Subsisting

 Why is knowing all these names important? 

Because, in the short Healing Prayer, we read:

Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i Prayers, p. 85)

Reciting and meditating on them will bring us healing!

For more ideas on how to use the names of God for healing, you might want to read:

Understanding the Power in the Long Healing Prayer 

Using the Names of God For Healing

 

How has this helped you understand the prayers for assistance with tests better?  Post your comments below!

 

Why Does Life Have To Hurt So Much?

Why does life have to hurt so much?  This is a question I often hear in my Bahá’í-inspired life coaching practice.  The Bahá’í Writings tell us:

Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us better to adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self improvement. In every suffering one can find a meaning and a wisdom. But it is not always easy to find the secret of that wisdom. It is sometimes only when all our suffering has passed that we become aware of its usefulness. What man considers to be evil turns often to be a cause of infinite blessings.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 434.)

Here is a story that came in my email today, followed by my all time favorite story.  I hope they give you comfort.

A Refiner of Silver

Malachi 3:3 says: “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver”. This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:  “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.”  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.”

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Another quote from the Bahá’í Writings:

You are encouraged to continue to keep in mind the spiritual dimension of your struggles. We are assured by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the following words:  “The more difficulties one sees in the world the more perfect one becomes. The more you plough and dig the ground the more fertile it becomes. The more you cut the branches of a tree the higher and stronger it grows. The more you put the gold in the fire the purer it becomes. The more you sharpen the steel by grinding the better it cuts. Therefore, the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one be¬comes. That is why, in all times, the Prophets of God have had tribula¬tions and difficulties to withstand. The more often the captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing the greater his knowledge be¬comes. Therefore I am happy that you have had great tribulations and difficulties… Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows.”      (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. XIV, No. 2, p. 41.)

 

 

Just Clay!
Author Unknown – submitted by Daryoush Yazdani, Japan

A couple vacationing in Europe went strolling down a little street and saw a quaint little gift shop with a beautiful teacup in the window. The lady collected teacups and she wanted this one for her collection, so she went
inside to pick up the teacup, and as the story goes the teacup spoke and said:

“I want you to know that I have not always looked like this. It took the process of pain to bring me to this point. You see, there was a time when I was just clay and the master came and he pounded me and he squeezed me and he kneaded me and I screamed: “STOP THAT”. But he just smiled and he said, “Not yet”.

Then he took me and put me on the wheel and I went round and round and round and round … and while I was spinning and getting dizzier and dizzier I screamed again and I said, “Please get me off this thing … please get me off!!!” And the master was looking at me and he was smiling, as he said, “Not yet”.

Then he took me and walked toward the oven and he shut the door and turned up the heat and I could see him through the window of the oven and it was getting hotter and hotter and I thought, “He’s going to burn me to death”.
And I started pounding on the inside of the oven and I said “Master, let me out, let me out, let me out”, and I could see that he was smiling as he said “Not yet”.

Then he opened the door and I was fresh and free and he took me out of the oven and he put me on the table and then he got some paint and a paintbrush. And he started dabbing me and making swirls all over me and I started to gag and I said: “Master, stop it … stop it … stop it please … you’re making me gag” and he just smiled as he said “Not yet”.

Then very gently he picked me up again and he started walking toward the oven and I said, “Master, NO! Not again, pleeeeease”. He opened the oven door and he slipped me inside and he shut the door and this time he turned the heat up twice as hot as before and I thought. “He’s going to kill me”, and I looked through the window of the oven and I started to pound saying, “Master … Master, please let me out … please let me out … let me out… let me out”. And I could see that he was smiling, but I also noticed a tear trickle down his cheek as I watched him mouth the words.
“Not yet!”

Just as I thought I was about to die, the door opened and he reached in ever so gently and took me out, fresh and free and he went and placed me on a high shelf and he said: “There, I have created what I intended. Would you like to see yourself?” I said “Yes”, so he handed me a mirror and I looked and I looked again and I said, “That’s not me, I’m just a lump of clay” And he said: “Yes, that IS you, but it took the process of pain to bring you to this place. “You see, had I not worked you when you were clay, then you would have dried up. If I had not subjected you to the
stress of the wheel, you would have crumbled. If I had not put you into the heat of the oven you would have cracked. If I had not painted you there would be no color in your life. But, it was the second oven that gave you the strength to endure. And now you are everything that I intended you to be – from the beginning.”

And I, the tea cup, heard myself saying something I never thought I would hear myself saying: “Master, forgive me, I did not trust you, I thought you were going to harm me, I did not know you had a glorious future and a hope for me. I was too shortsighted, but I want to thank you. I want to thank you for suffering. I want to thank you for the process of pain. Here I am! I give you myself – fill me, pour from me, use me as you see fit. I really want to be a vessel that brings you glory within my life”

I’d like to conclude with a quote from the Bahá’í Writings:

Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe tests; but if the person turns firmly towards the Divine Manifestation, studies carefully His spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop.

Thus you might look upon your own difficulties in the path of service. They are the means of your spirit growing and developing. You will suddenly find that you have conquered many of the problems which upset you, and then you will wonder why they should have troubled you at all. (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, pp. 35-36.)

What are your experiences with painful tests?  Post your comments here:

Suicide

 

Some of my life coaching clients have told me how tired they are of this life, and many of them have even considered ending their lives to end the intense suffering they feel, and hasten the intense longing to be in the next world.  They often feel very guilty for these feelings, knowing that the act of suicide is strongly condemned in the Baha’i teachings, (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 203) and alongside the other world religions, it is “forbidden”.

They want to know why it’s forbidden:

  • God Who is the Author of all life can alone take it away, and dispose of it the way he deems best.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)
  • Whoever commits suicide endangers his soul, and will suffer spiritually as a result in the other worlds beyond.’ (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)

And what they can do when they’re feeling this way:

  • You must not injure yourselves or commit suicide…Should anyone at any time encounter hard and perplexing times, he must say to himself, “This will soon pass.” Then will he be calm and quiet. In all my calamity and difficulties I used to say to myself, “This will pass away”. Then I became patient. If anyone cannot be patient and cannot endure, and if he wishes to become a martyr than let him arise in service to the Cause of God. It will be better for him if he attains to martyrdom in His path.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 12, No 181, p. 280)
  • The House of Justice admonishes you to put all thought of suicide and death out of your mind and concentrate on prayer and effort to serve the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)
  • The House of Justice admonishes you to put all thought of suicide out of your mind and instead to concentrate on the outpourings of Baha’u’llah’s grace which have encompassed all mankind, and strive to use the tests you face as a means for your growth and development. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer 13 December 1988)

They want to know they aren’t alone:

  • That honorable personage has been so much subjected to the stress and pain of this world that his highest wish became deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode — a storehouse of afflictions and suffering. It is negligence that binds man to it for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the least subject. If once it should offer man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow it and such is the condition of this world. The wise man therefore does not attach himself to this mortal life and does not depend upon it; even at some moments he eagerly wishes death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. Thus it is seen that some, under extreme pressure of anguish, have committed suicide.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 378)

They feel comforted to know that even the Manifestations of God longed to be delivered from this world:

  • Grant that the day of attaining Thy holy presence may be fast approaching.  (The Báb, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 165)
  • Hasten, by Thy grace and bounty, my passing, O my Lord … (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 18)

They want to know what will happen to them if they do kill themselves:

  • As to him rest assured; he will be immersed in the ocean of pardon and forgiveness and will become the recipient of bounty and favor.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 378)
  • The manner in which the Supreme Being, in His justice as well as in His mercy, will deal with every individual soul is a mystery unknown to us on this earthly plane.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, December 21, 1978)

They want to know that God cares about them:

  • I sorrow for thee in thy grief, and lament with thee in thy tribulation… I bear witness to the ser¬vices thou hast rendered Me, and testify to the various troubles thou hast sustained for My sake. All the atoms of the earth declare My love for thee.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 309)
  • Ye have tolerated the censure of the enemies for the sake of My love and have steadfastly endured in My Path the grievous cruelties which the ungodly have inflicted upon you. Unto this I Myself bear witness, and I am the All-Knowing.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 246)
  • Know thou that God is with thee under all conditions. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 122)
  • With all my soul and spirit, I am thy companion at all moments. Know thou this of a certainty!  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 558)
  • O my well-beloved, deeply spiritual sister! Day and night thou livest in my memory. Whenever I remember thee my heart swelleth with sadness and my regret groweth more intense. Grieve not, for I am thy true, thy unfailing comforter. Let neither despondency nor despair becloud the serenity of thy life or restrain thy freedom. These days shall pass away. We will, please God, in the Abha Kingdom and beneath the sheltering shadow of the Blessed Beauty, forget all these our earthly cares and will find each one of these base calumnies amply compensated by His expressions of praise and favour. From the beginning of time sorrow and anxiety, regret and tribulation, have always been the lot of every loyal servant of God. Ponder this in thine heart and consider how very true it is. Wherefore, set thine heart on the tender mercies of the Ancient Beauty and be thou filled with abiding joy and intense gladness…. (Compilations, Bahiyyih Khánum, p. 7)

They want to know that this despair will get better:

  • Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 329)
  • The darkness of this gloomy night shall pass away.   (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 547)
  • These are the darkest hours before the break of day. Peace, as promised, will come at night’s end.  (The Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message150, 1993)
  • Do not despair, nay be assured that a glorious future awaits you all, more brilliant than any you can imagine.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 97)

They want to know what to say to combat these feelings:

  • Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!   (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 27)  Tell them to repeat it five hundred times, nay, a thousand times, by day and by night, sleeping and waking . . .   (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 63)
  • O Lord! Thou art the Remover of every anguish and the Dispeller of every affliction. Thou art He Who banisheth every sorrow and setteth free every slave, the Redeemer of every soul. O Lord! Grant deliverance through Thy mercy, and reckon me among such servants of Thine as have gained salvation. (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 28)
  • Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily, Thy protection over all things is unfailing.  (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 134)
  • Dispel my grief by Thy bounty and Thy generosity, O God, my God, and banish mine anguish through Thy sovereignty and Thy might.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i Prayers, p. 25)
  • O my Lord, my Beloved, my Desire! Befriend me in my loneliness and accompany me in my exile. Remove my sorrow. . . (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 31)
  • O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.  O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 151)
  • In the darksome night of despair, my eye turneth expectant and full of hope to the morn of Thy boundless favor and at the hour of dawn my drooping soul is refreshed and strengthened in remembrance of Thy beauty and perfection. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 30)
  • He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone’s life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 457)

Family and friends want to know why their loved ones might have felt they had to do it:

  • Thus it is seen that some, under extreme pressure of anguish, have committed suicide. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 378)
  • …That honourable man hath been so subjected to the stress and strain of this world that his greatest wish was for deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode: a storehouse of afflic¬tions and suffering. It is ignorance that binds man to it, for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the most humble commoner. If once this life should offer a man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow; such is the condition of this world. The wise man, therefore, doth not attach himself to this mortal life and doth not depend upon it; at some moments, even, he eagerly wisheth for death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 200)
  • It is too bad that young and promising men . . . should take away their life at a moment of despair.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)

When suicidal feelings are part of a mental Illness:

  • It is very hard to be subject to any illness, particularly a mental one. However, we must always remember these illnesses have nothing to do with our spirit or our inner relation to God.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Survivors want to know the Baha’i attitude toward those who commit suicide:

  • Although suicide has been strongly condemned in the teachings, this does not mean that a person has ceased to be a Baha’i because he committed suicide, and he should certainly be given a Baha’i funeral.  (from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly 9 December 1984)
  • A Baha’i is certainly free to pray for those who have passed on regardless of the cause of their death, using the words of any of the prayers of his choice which have been revealed through the bounty of God. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, December 21, 1978)

What can those that remain behind, do?

  • The Universal House of Justice was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of your daughter…Such a senseless cutting short of the lives of capable young people who have so much promise before them is a loss to mankind and an agonizing trial for those to whom they were near and dear.  You ask what you, as a Baha’i, can do to assist the progress of their souls. The House of Justice has asked us to say that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that good works performed in the names of those who have passed on assist their progress in the next life. Therefore, if you will consecrate to their memory your services to your fellow human beings, and, above all, your efforts to teach the Message of Baha’u’llah, you may be sure that this will rejoice them in the worlds beyond.    (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer 10 August 1988)


If you are feeling suicidal, please get help!

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Suffering Through Tests

 

The whole world is suffering it seems, and for those who are conscious of it, the feeling can be excruciatingly painful.  In my Bahá’í-inspired life coaching practice, I often work with people who are acutely aware of their pain, and desperately searching reasons for it.  It’s so much easier for them to believe that somehow they’ve caused it because of things they’ve done, than to believe that it’s the result of Divine intervention.  Here are some of the questions I hear, and answers from the Bahá’í Writings.

I must have done something really bad for all these tests to be happening to me.

  • If Khidr did wreck the vessel on the sea, yet in this wrong there are a thousand rights.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Seven Valleys, p. 26.)

It’s all my fault.

  • Tests are benefits from God, for which we should thank Him. Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent to us by the Divine Mercy for our own perfecting.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 50.)
  • . . . the Almighty hath tried, and will continue to try, his servants, so that light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and roses from thorns. Even as He hath revealed: ‘Do men think when they say “We believe” they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?’ (Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 8-9.)
  • . . . we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom and that nothing happens without a reason.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 46.)
  • Tests are a means by which a soul is measured as to its fitness and proven out by its own acts. God knows its fitness beforehand, and also its unpreparedness, but man, with an ego, would not believe himself unfit unless proof were given him.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Book 4, Vol. VI,  #6, p. 108.)
  • And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warnings of our beloved Master, who, in particular during the concluding years of His mission on earth, laid stress on the “severe mental tests” that would inevitably sweep over His loved ones of the West – tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.  (Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 50.)
  • In such an afflicted time, when mankind is bewildered and the wisest of men are perplexed as to the remedy, the people of Bahá, who have confidence in His unfailing grace and divine guidance, are assured that each of these tormenting trials has a cause, a purpose, and a definite result, and all are essential instruments for the establishment of the immutable Will of God on earth. In other words, on the one hand humanity is struck by the scourge of His chastisement which will inevitably bring together the scattered and vanquished tribes of the earth; and on the other, the weak few whom He has nurtured under the protection of His loving guidance are, in this Formative Age and period of transition, continuing to build amidst these tumultuous waves an impregnable stronghold which will be the sole remaining refuge for those lost multitudes.  (Universal House of Justice, Compilation of Compilations, Vol. 1, #326, pp. 166-167.)


Why can’t life be easier?  Why does everything have to be so difficult?

  • But for the tribulations which are sustained in Thy path, how could Thy true lovers be recognized; and were it not for the trials which are born for love of Thee, how could the station of such as yearn for Thee he revealed? Thy might beareth me witness! The companions of all who adore Thee are the tears they shed, and the comforters of such as seek Thee are the groans they utter, and the food of them who haste to meet Thee is the fragments of their broken hearts.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 155.)
  • Were it not for tests, pure gold could not be distinguished from the impure. Were it not for tests, the courageous could not be separated from the cowardly. Were it not for tests, the people of faithfulness could not be known from the disloyal.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 87.)
  • While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelms him, then will he remember his Fa¬ther who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 50-51)
  • Even if all the losses of the world were to be sustained by one of the friends of God, he would still profit thereby (Bahá’u’lláh, Crisis & Victory, p. 154.

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Why can’t I ever get ahead?

  • These are not days of prosperity and triumph. The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 81.)
  • Life in this world is a succession of tests and achievements, of falling short and of making new spiritual advances. Sometimes the course may seem very hard, but one can witness, again and again, that the soul who steadfastly obeys the Law of Bahá’u’lláh, however hard it may seem, grows spiritually, while the one who compromises with the law for the sake of his own apparent happiness is seen to have been following a chimera: he does not attain the happiness he sought, he retards his spiritual advance and often brings new problems upon himself.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, pp. 359-360.)
  • Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager.’ The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Crisis & Victory, p. 154.)


Why do I keep falling into the same trap, over and over again?

  • Just as the earth attracts everything to the centre of gravity, and every object thrown upward into space will come down, so also material ideas and worldly thoughts attract man to the centre of self. Anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice, greed, envy, covetousness, jealousy and suspicion prevent man from ascending to the realms of holiness, imprisoning him in the claws of self and the cage of egotism.  The physical man, unassisted by the divine power, trying to escape from one of these invisible enemies, will unconsciously fall into hands of another. No sooner does he attempt to soar upward than the density of the love of self, like the power of gravity, draws him to the centre of the earth. The only power that is capable of delivering man from this captivity is the power of the Holy Spirit. The attraction of the power of the Holy Spirit is so effective that it keeps man ever on the path of upward ascension.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241.)


God must surely be punishing me.

  • He will never deal unjustly with any one, neither will He task a soul beyond its power. He, verily, is the Compassionate, the All-Merciful.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 106.)
  • In addition, we know from the Bahá’í Writings that man’s soul “is independent of all infirmities of body or mind,” and not only continues to exist “after departing from this mortal world”, but progresses “through the bounty and grace of the Lord”. Therefore, an evaluation of man’s material existence and achievements cannot ignore the potential spiritual development stimulated by the individual’s desire to manifest the attributes of God and his response to the exigencies of his life, nor can it exclude the possibility of the operation of God’s mercy in terms of compensation for earthly suffering, in the next life.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 2 December, 1985.)

All I want is what everyone else has:  a family, a job, a home . . .

  • The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing, bearing the semblance of reality. Set not your affections upon it . . . Verily I say, the world is like the vapour in a desert, which the thirsty dreameth to be water and striveth after it with all his might, until when he cometh unto it, he findeth it to be mere illusion. It may, moreover, be likened unto the lifeless image of the beloved whom the lover hath sought and found, in the end, after long search and to his utmost regret, to be such as cannot “fatten nor appease his hunger.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 328-329.)

What good ever comes from tests anyway?

  • Were it not for tests, the intellectuals and the faculties of the scholars in great colleges would not develop. Were it not for tests, sparkling gems could not be known from worthless pebbles. Were it not for tests, nothing would progress in this contingent world. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 87.)
  • Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 50-51)
  • The more difficulties one sees in the world the more perfect one becomes. The more you plough and dig the ground the more fertile it becomes. The more you cut the branches of a tree the higher and stronger it grows. The more you put the gold in the fire the purer it becomes. The more you sharpen the steel by grinding the better it cuts. Therefore, the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one becomes . . .  The more often the captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing the greater his knowledge becomes. Therefore I am happy that you have had great tribulations and difficulties… Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. XIV, No. 2, p. 41.)
  • How could the [God’s] teachers teach and guide others in the way if they themselves did not undergo every species of suffering to which other human beings are subjected?  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. VII, #11, p. 108.)
  • . . . The souls who bear the tests of God become the manifestations of great bounties; for the divine trials cause some souls to become entirely lifeless, while they cause the holy souls to ascend to the highest degree of love and solidity.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 2 December, 1985.)
  • They are the means of your spirit growing and developing.  (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, pp. 35-36.)
  • Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us better to adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self improvement.   (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 434.)
  • Whenever you see tremendous personal problems in your private lives . . . you must remember that these afflictions are part of human life; and, according to our teachings one of their wisdoms is to teach us the impermanence of this world and the permanence of the spiritual bonds that we establish with God, His Prophet, and those who are alive in the faith of God.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, pp. 459-60.)
  • These tests, even as thou didst write, do but cleanse the spotting of self from off the mirror of the heart, till the Sun of Truth can cast its rays thereon (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,  p. 182.)
  • . . . in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here . . . In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that eternal life ready for him.  That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore, man has need of  illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues, or perfections, must be acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of everlasting life; it must be attained during vanishing existence . . .

Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements, he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 226.)

  • In considering the effect of obedience to the laws on individual lives, one must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare the soul for the next. Here one must learn to control and direct one’s animal impulses, not to be a slave to them.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, pp. 359-360.)

Why is everything I do so difficult?

  • But regarding the tests: Undoubtedly they must be violent so that those souls who are weak may fall back, while the souls who are firm and sincere may shine forth from the horizon of the Most Great Guidance like unto the sparkling stars.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 471.)

Why does God make children suffer?

  • As to the subject of babes and infants and weak ones who are afflicted by the hands of oppressors: this contains great wisdom and this subject is of paramount importance. In brief, for those souls there is a recompense in another world and many details are connected with this matter. For those souls that suffering is the greatest mercy of God. Verily that mercy of the Lord is far better and preferable to all the comfort of this world and the growth and development of this place of mortality. If it be the will of God, when thou shalt be present this will be explained in detail by word of mouth.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 372.)
  • On this plane of existence, there are many injustices that the human mind cannot fathom. Among these are heart-rending trials of the innocent . . . With regard to the spiritual significance of the suffering of children ‘who are afflicted at the hands of the oppressor’, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá not only states that for those souls ‘the afflictions that they bear in life become a cause for them of . . . an outpouring of divine mercy and bestowal’, He also explains that to be a recipient of God’s mercy is ‘preferable to a hundred thousand earthly comforts’, and He promised that ‘in the world to come a mighty recompense awaiteth such souls’. Much, indeed, might be said upon this theme, and upon how the afflictions that they bear in life become the cause for them of such an outpouring of Divine mercy and bestowal as is preferable to a hundred thousand comforts and to a world of growth and development in this transitory abode . . .  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 2 December, 1985.)

Does God even care how much it hurts?

  • It is easy to approach the Kingdom of Heaven, but hard to stand firm and staunch within it, for the tests are rigorous, and heavy to bear.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 274. )
  • However, to those souls who are firm and steadfast, tests are the greatest favours. Consider thou that at the time of an examination in sciences and arts, the dull and lazy pupil finds himself in calamity. But to the intelligent and sagacious student examination in learning produces honour and infinite happiness. Alloyed gold, subjected to the fire, portrays its baseness, while the intensity of the flame enhances the beauty of pure gold. Therefore, tests of the weak souls are calam¬ity and to the veiled ones the cause of their disgrace and humiliation. The point is this, that in the path of Truth every difficulty is made plain and every trial is the matchless bounty.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 2. No. 15, pp. 5-6.)

Is it ever going to get better?

  • In winter come the storms, and the great winds blow, but then will follow spring in all its beauty, adorning hill and plain with perfumed plants and red anemones, fair to see. Then will the birds trill out upon the branches their songs of joy, and sermonize in lilting tones from the pulpits of the trees. Ere long shall ye bear witness that the lights are streaming forth, the banners of the realm above are waving, the sweet scents of the All-Merciful are wafted abroad, the hosts of the Kingdom are marching down, the angels of heaven are rushing forward, and the Holy Spirit is breathing upon all those regions . . . This is decreed by the Lord, the Revealer of Verses.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 163-134.)
  • You will suddenly find that you have conquered many of the problems which upset you, and then you will wonder why they should have troubled you at all.  (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, pp. 35-36.)
  • O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.      (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 329)

Will I ever see the benefits of these tests in this world?

  • In every suffering one can find a meaning and a wisdom. But it is not always easy to find the secret of that wisdom. It is sometimes only when all our suffering has passed that we become aware of its usefulness. What man considers to be evil turns often to be a cause of infinite blessings. And this is due to his desire to know more than he can. God’s wisdom is, indeed, inscrutable to us all, and it is no use pushing too far trying to discover that which shall always remain a mystery to our mind.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 434.)

What can I do in the midst of my suffering?

  • I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 100.)
  • Therefore, the believers of God and maid-servants of the Merciful must not relax during trial and no disaster must deter their service in the Cause of God.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 2. No. 15, pp. 5-6.)
  • You are encouraged to continue to keep in mind the spiritual dimension of your struggles.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. XIV, No. 2, p. 41.)
  • The more one is severed from the world, from desires, from human affairs, and conditions, the more impervious does one become to the test of God.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Book 4, Vol. VI,  #6, p. 108.)
  • Clearly, the difficult periods in our lives are not without pur¬pose. Among other things, they offer us a prime opportunity to express our love for Bahá’u’lláh in a meaningful way. It is relatively easy to he a believer when one is not challenged, when one is happy. However, in times of adversity, we must draw upon our inner, spiritual resources.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 23 October, 1994.)
  • Convey thou unto the handmaids of the Merciful the message that when a test turneth violent they must stand unmoved, and faithful to their love for Bahá. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 163-134.)
  • Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe tests; but if the person turns firmly towards the Divine Manifestation, studies carefully His spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop.  (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, pp. 35-36.)
  • Therefore, the dear friends of God who have such a broad and clear vision before them are not perturbed by such events, nor are they panic-stricken by such thundering sounds, nor will they face such convulsions with fear and trepidation, nor will they be deterred, even for a moment, from fulfilling their sacred responsibilities.  (Universal House of Justice, Compilation of Compilations, Vol. 1, #326, pp. 166-167.)
  • . . . the way to peace and security for you and for humanity as a whole, is through service to the Cause, to which you have so earnestly committed yourself.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 2 December, 1985.)
  • Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers.  Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute!  This is the work of a true Bahá’í, and this is what is expected of him. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 81.)
  • First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 226.
  • The working out of God’s Major Plan proceeds mysteriously in ways directed by Him alone, but the Minor Plan that He has given us to execute, as our part in His grand design for the redemption of mankind, is clearly delineated. It is to this work that we must devote all our energies, for there is no one else to do it  (Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 133-134.)

What should my attitude towards tests be?

  • O Thou Whose tests are a healing medicine to such as are nigh unto Thee, Whose sword is the ardent desire of all them that love Thee, Whose dart is the dearest wish of those hearts that yearn after Thee, Whose decree is the sole hope of them that have recognized Thy truth! I implore Thee, by Thy divine sweetness and by the splendours of the glory of Thy face, to send down upon us from Thy retreats on high that which will enable us to draw nigh unto Thee. Set, then, our feet firm, O my God, in Thy Cause, and enlighten our hearts with the effulgence of Thy knowledge, and illumine our breasts with the brightness of Thy names.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, pp. 220-221.)
  • The troubles of this world pass, and what we have left is what we have made of our souls, so it is to this we must look – to becoming more spiritual, drawing nearer to God, no matter what our human minds and bodies go through.  (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 68.)

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