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 becomes. That is why, in all times, the Prophets of God have had tribulations and difficulties to withstand. The more often the captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing the more 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.” (Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice in a letter to an individual, 23 October 1994, published on-line as Childhood Abuse, Ritual)
Whenever I fall into that “why me, God?” whine, I love to be reminded of this quote, with all its practical answers to this question.
Let’s look at each of these concepts from nature one at a time:
- the more difficulties we see, the more perfect we become
- the more we plow and dig the ground, the more fertile it becomes
- the more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow
- the more we cut the branches of a tree, the higher and stronger it grows
- the more we put the gold in the fire, the purer it becomes
- the more we sharpen the steel by grinding, the better it cuts
- the more often the captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing, the greater his knowledge becomes
None of these things are easy. It’s hard work to plow and dig the ground (and the ground or the tree doesn’t feel good about it either). The heat of the fire or the grinding of the steel is excruciatingly painful. Spiritual growth is like that, as we learn to turn our ships and our vision from the lower nature to the higher. If we can accept the above examples to be true, doesn’t it also make sense that the more sorrows we have, the more perfect we become?
I love the last two sentences and can imagine ‘Abdu’l-Baha saying them with a twinkle in his eye: “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.” This helps me withstand the onslaught of tests, difficulties, frustrations and sorrows.
Knowing there’s a purpose to it all, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Getting to Know Your Lower Nature