Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Does it Mean to Trust Baha'u'llah

When I look at that title, my first question is, "Why would I ask that?" Well, dear Reader, the simple answer is that I didn't.

No, seriously. I didn't.

It never occurred to me to ask it.

So where did I get that question from? I'm so glad you asked.

I recently noticed a section in my blog stats page that informs me of how people got to this blog, and one of the things it records is keyword searches that people used. For some reason, and I don't really know why, that exact phrase came up as third most common on the keyword search list. It had 30% more people than "Ridvan 2010". Of course, number 1 on the list was "Birthday Thoughts", followed by "Blogger". Now, I don't really think that people who used those top two searches necessarily stayed to read too much, as I'm sure they were really looking for something else, but that third one is definitely all about being a Baha'i.

So, based on that, it crossed my mind that I should probably write an article about this question. After all, you asked it.

"What does it mean to trust Baha'u'llah?" In fact, if you had asked me, dear Reader, then I wouldn't have asked the question at all. I would have asked, instead, "What does it mean to trust in God?"  And that, dear Reader, is something I can talk a bit about.

I remember, lo those many years ago, when I first became a Baha'i. For reasons which I won't go into here, I realized that I needed to change my job. I had a job which I enjoyed, and which was promising to make me some decent money, but I realized that I couldn't continue it in good conscience.

And so I decided to put in my two weeks notice and begin the arduous task of looking for new work.

It was a difficult decision for me because I still had my student debts, as well as my rent to pay. I had barely enough to get by if I didn't find another job fast. So I said prayers, and decided to test my faith. "God," I said. "You always tell us to trust in you, so here I go. I'll apply for work wherever I can and will accept the first job offered, no matter what it is. That way I'll know it's from you."

Apply I did, and within a short time had a few offers.

The first one I had was from the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette, offering a job to work in the gardens for near minimum wage. The second offer was from a major corporation, and it was offering significantly more money, plus tons of benefits (but I think the benefits from the Temple were probably better).

This is where I really have to tip my hat in appreciation to my Mom. I mean, really. Imagine this from her point of view. I had a pretty good job, with great prospects, and then I join a relatively unknown Faith. Next thing she knows I have quit my job and gone to work for said Faith. Must have looked pretty scary, if you ask me.

But did she complain? Express concern? Nope. She just accepted it, and offered her support. (Thanks, Mom.)

That summer I worked in the gardens at the Temple, trusting that there was a wisdom in it. But I'll tell you, for the life of me, I couldn't see it. I enjoyed myself, but I really had to wonder what was going to happen after the summer was over. Where would my next paycheck come from?

Now, looking back, it was that decision, to put a test out there and trust in the response, that significantly changed my life.

From that simple job in the gardens I went to work on the restoration project on the Temple itself, and then on to the World Congress Office. From there I was hired in the National Teaching Office, and then I moved to Canada. It has been a whirlwind of activity and service ever since that first decision. I don't think that I have done anything significant, in terms of service to the Faith, but these activities have kept me busy, and they sure kept my focus on the things of the spirit.

But how did it all happen? What was it that I actually did for that first step? What does it mean to trust in God and put your life in His hands?

As usual, I don't really know, but I can make some educated guesses based on my own experience.

To me, trusting in God implies that we are open to that guidance that comes from on high when we ask for it. When I asked for God's direction as to which job I should take, I put a qualifier on it that would make it obvious to me which job was from God. Normally when applying for a job, I would never just take the first one that was offered. I would apply for a number of positions and then, after seeing who responded within a certain framework of time, compare the various offers I was given. That time, however, I believed that the first one was offered with a wisdom that was beyond what I could understand.

I accepted it, rather than second-guessing it. It would have been so easy to merely say, "Oh, that was just a coincidence. I'll take the one that offered more money."

Nope. That wouldn't have been fair.

But that's only one side of trusting in God.

The other side is trusting Baha'u'llah, and what He says.

You see, dear Reader, as I've said before, I became a Baha'i because Baha'u'llah had proven Himself to me over and over in His Writings. There were many things that I disagreed with, mainly because they went against the conventional wisdom of my society, but every time I did, He was eventually proven right. Finally, I realized that He had a better understanding of how the world worked, and what was good for me, than I did. That was why I declared my faith.

Once I came to that realization, it would have been pretty silly of me to disagree with anything He said. It would have been as if I were saying, "I know better than God." Well, that's just absurd, and I would never think to make that claim.

That, to me, is the essence of trusting in God.

As far as the Writings go, you look into them to see if you think they're from God, and then once you recognize, you wholeheartedly accept.

As far as trusting in God, you put out your request and trust in the response. Too often people say, "God, give me a sign", and when they receive that sign say it was only a coincidence and ask for another one. Nope. When you get that sign, you have to act on it.

Of course, when you do that, you better hold onto your hat. Because you'll be in for quite the ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment