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 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).
I’ve always loved this quote, because it uses practical examples that are easy to understand, but the thing I love best is when `Abdu’l-Bahá tells us “Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows”. It seems such an odd way to end this quote. The clue is in the middle though: “the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one becomes.”
Why is it important for us to become more perfect than we were? I think it’s so we can increase our capacity and be better fit for service; better soldiers in the Army of God. We know we’re never going to be perfect. That’s a station reserved for `Abdu’l-Bahá, but we can become more perfect as we accept the tests instead of railing against them, feeling punished by God or sorry for ourselves. When I’m being tested (as I am today!), I need to remember to let go, trust God and enjoy the ride, remembering it all serves a purpose.
Knowing the purpose of my tests, I can relax into them, and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read through 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 Learning How to Be Happy