times when you KNOW you're being tested

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Truth
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Location: Oz

times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Truth » Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:41 pm

This may be the wrong forum to post this... But have you guys ever had times when you KNOW you're being tested? One bad thing after the next that you had no way of foreseeing, that you then have to handle. Over the past week, i've had a lot of bad luck, and it's almost inescapable. Just when i think "that's the last of it" i'm wrong.

Just wondering if anyone else has had the same experience or has words of comfort to this very very exhausted man. lol.
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

onepence~2
Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:17 am

Re: Being tested

Postby onepence~2 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:58 pm

lol

*smile*

yes ... being tested every day is a challenge ... a glorious challenge ...

*smile* ... even *rolly eye* ... but ... lol ... *smile*

my problems often extended into ...

well , really perceptional problems ...

I am a stay at home dad to a 3 yr old son

the wife works 3p-11p

I think ... geesh ... baby/wife ...
*smile* ... i call my wife "baby" ...

i think ... geesh baby ... can't you get up and take care of our kid ...
*ugh* ... nope ...

well ... lol ... the difficulties are enormous here ...
i won't bore you with all the details ...

suffice it to say ... the wife has health issues ...
went to two doctors and the hospitial today for the wife alone ...
*ugh* ... and taking care of tyler ...

so ... i often get frustrated at ... whatever ... lol ...
but ... being frustrated doesn't help ...

true perception is a person can only work upon themselves ...
help heal the sick ... etc etc etc ...

if you wish ... you can chat about things here ...

oneness
dh

BritishBahai
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Location: UK

Re: Being tested

Postby BritishBahai » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:30 pm

Poppa-Stylez wrote:This may be the wrong forum to post this... But have you guys ever had times when you KNOW you're being tested?One bad thing after the next that you had no way of foreseeing, that you then have to handle. Over the past week, i've had a lot of bad luck, and it's almost inescapable. Just when i think "that's the last of it" i'm wrong.

Just wondering if anyone else has had the same experience or has words of comfort to this very very exhausted man. lol.

Everyone (EVERYONE!) has problems in their lifes. Believe me.

Some people talk about it, others keep it to themselves. Everyone's different.
The people who do talk about their problems always compare themselves to those who dont and think "I wish i was (name) because he/she doesnt have any problems in her life". But thats a false assumption because the other type of person (who does have problems in his/her life) is choosing not to say anything about it, or to make it public.

One example --- I know some families who always cause a scene when they go out somewhere, compared to the other "normal" families who keep themselves to themselves. But you cant assume that just because a family behaves themselves when they go out to the restaurant, then they are fully-functioning. Some people might just be better actors in public. Thats just a random example, and I know it doesnt apply to you!)

This is from a prayer. Ive always remembered this sentence because I remember the first time I read the prayer, and at the time it stuck out, and ive remembered it ever since:
O my Lord! Thou knowest that the people are encircled with pain and calamities and are environed with hardships and trouble. Every trial doth attack man and every dire adversity doth assail him like unto the assault of a serpent. There is no shelter and asylum for him except under the wing of Thy protection, preservation, guard and custody.

O Thou the Merciful One! O my Lord! Make Thy protection my armor, Thy preservation my shield, humbleness before the door of Thy oneness my guard, and Thy custody and defense my fortress and my abode. Preserve me from the suggestions of self and desire, and guard me from every sickness, trial, difficulty and ordeal.

Verily, Thou art the Protector, the Guardian, the Preserver, the Sufficer, and verify, Thou art the Merciful of the Most Merciful.

- `Abdu'l-Bahá
http://bahai-library.com/compilations/p ... P-110.html
...so God knows that we have problems in our lives.

Another thing: in the tablet of Ahmad it says that the wisdom of every command shall be tested:
He is the King, the All-Knowing, the Wise! Lo, the Nightingale of Paradise singeth upon the twigs of the Tree of Eternity, with holy and sweet melodies, proclaiming to the sincere ones the glad tidings of the nearness of God, calling the believers in the Divine Unity to the court of the Presence of the Generous One, informing the severed ones of the message which hath been revealed by God, the King, the Glorious, the Peerless, guiding the lovers to the seat of sanctity and to this resplendent Beauty.

Verily this is that Most Great Beauty, foretold in the Books of the Messengers, through Whom truth shall be distinguished from error and the wisdom of every command shall be tested. Verily He is the Tree of Life that bringeth forth the fruits of God, the Exalted, the Powerful, the Great.
.
.

So, (and im sure you know this)... the wisdom of EVERY command will be tested. So, by the time you die, you will have been tested on all of the same criteria, and someone else will have been tested on the same criteria.
So, (and im dumbing this down because im trying to get my message across), God will be sitting there, with a clipboard, grading you:

[] Honesty
[] detatchment from worldly desires
[] Detachment from money and preference to lead a good and honest life,
[] blah blah blah...
^ those are supposed to be squares, and its meant to be a checklist ;)

So, in our life, each of us are tested on these qualities but because we all have different lives, our situations are slightly different. But at the same time, we are still being tested in one particular thing. Its HOW we choose to react to a given situation which distinguishes us from others (Because everyone has different capacities). Theres a good quote which talks about people and their different capacities... im not entirely sure where it is but will edit this post and add it here when I find it.

So, anyway, imagine there are 2 people who are both poor. Both are being tested on "Honesty" by God.
One of them chooses to overcome this difficulty in his life by selling drugs and making money.
The other person, though, (although difficult to do) chooses to lead an HONEST life by cleaning toilets, but never resorts to selling drugs... And yes I know its a lame example, haha!

But I know what this is about, though (your car which was stolen). Everyone has problems in their life. We all do! Just dont make yourself upset over this. It sounds cheesy, but its the "will of God". And also, we have to accept the will of God (whatever it may be):
CONTENTMENT

O Lord! Unto Thee I repair for refuge and toward all Thy signs I set my heart.
O Lord! Whether travelling or at home, and in my occupation or in my work, I place my whole trust in Thee.
Grant me then Thy sufficing help so as to make me independent of all things, O Thou who art unsurpassed in Thy mercy!
Bestow upon me my portion O Lord, as Thou pleasest, and cause me to be satisfied with whatsoever Thou had ordained for me.
Thine is the absolute authority to command

Its the last prayer on this page. (Scroll all the way to the bottom).


And finally,
O SON OF MAN! The true lover yearneth for tribulation even as doth the rebel for forgiveness and the sinful for mercy.
-Bahaullah
Arabic Hidden Words (#50)
Im sure you've heard people say this a million times: "xyz made me a stronger person because ____". Thats what its trying to say.

Also, there is this:
THE PROGRESS OF THE SOUL

'The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most.'

(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 178)
Im outta here! :flucht: ;)
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"

Habib of the Ark
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Habib of the Ark » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:07 pm

Allah'u'Abha!

This is a fabulous topic, especially since it calls on the believers to come together and share words of encouragement. We are all tested everyday and it is vitally important to have a reservoir of quotes that we can each call upon at a moment's notice in order strengthen ourselves. One such quote is by 'Abdu'l-Baha in Paris Talks:

"Forget yourself. God's help will surely come! When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you, your strength will be tenfold."

Such quotes as this one are short and straight to the point. They are also easy to memorize! Another is in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi on October 13, 1947 saying:

"Each one of us, if we look into our failures, is sure to feel unworthy and despondent, and this feeling only frustrates our constructive efforts and wastes time. The thing for us to focus on is the glory of the Cause and the Power of Baha'u'llah which can make a mere drop a surging sea!"

In the Power of Divine Assistance it is written:

"Baha'u'llah has said that God will assist all those who arise in His service. The more you labour for His Faith, the more He will aid and bless you."
and
"...when we put our trust in Him, Baha'u'llah solves our problems and opens the way."

However, at all times we should remember the directives of the Universal House of Justice as given to us on Ridvan 145 (1998) saying:

"...we urge you, with all earnestness from the utter depths of our conviction as to the ripeness of the time, to lay aside every minor concern and direct your energies to teaching His Cause - to proclaiming, expanding and consolidating it."

So basically, yea we all have problems, and they can bring us down and make our heart feel like it will rip in two. But, the moment we submit ourselves to the Will of God and allow ourselves to become hollow reeds, God will strengthen us tenfold. One last quote from 'Abdu'l-Baha inspires me everyday to rise up no matter what the odds. I hope it provides the same comfort and sense of purpose as it does for me:

"O ye loved ones of God! Be ye firm of foot, and fixed of heart, and through the power of the blessed Beauty's help, stand ye committed to your purpose. Serve ye the Cause of God.Face ye all nations of the world with the constancy and the endurance of the people of Baha, that all men may be astounded and ask how this could be, that your hearts are as well-springs of confidence and faith, and as mines so rich in the love of God. Be ye so that ye shall neither fail nor falter on account of these tragedies in the Holy Land; let not these dread events make you despondent. And if all the believers be put to the sword, and only one be left, let that one cry out in the name of the Lord and tell the joyous tidings; let that one rise up and confront all the peoples of the earth." (Selections form the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pgs 219-220).

You might also want to check out some inspiring Baha'i music. You can find Devon Gundry on youtube and at his myspace at www.myspace.com/devongundrymusic
Smith and Dragoman can be bought on itunes and some of their stuff is free online at http://www.smithanddragoman.com/music.html

God be with you!

Truth
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Location: Oz

Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Truth » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:07 am

Hey guys, sorry to bump the thread to the top, just wanted to say thanks for the quotes and words. I've had one problem after the other since i first posted, each time i get closer and closer to breaking, but for some reason, i've managed to remain cool and deal with it. Not like me at all... Strange...

I've had a lot of time tonight for the first time in weeks to think about a few things. After reading over some of your words, i'm feeling renewed and inspired! Thanks again.
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

emifinan
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby emifinan » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:06 am

I like this thread!

And to answer, YES, there are times when I know I'm being tested. It never seems to end! Sometimes I pray at night and start to say "God, please take my troubles away," and then I pause and laugh and say "Ok, I know you can't take my troubles away, and I know you will always test me, so please help me pass these tests!"

Sometimes I yearn for a breath of fresh air and not to be tested but then I realize that I would not be advancing if it weren't for my trials. Easier said than done of course, but I think that if God really did give me a break from tests and hardships, that my soul might regress and I might turn away from Him.

Sometimes I pass a really hard test and I get excited, then I humble myself because I know deep inside the test is not over and I still have lots of room to grow!

That said, I think it's ok to feel sad or upset when you are being tested. Emotion is good, healthy expression of emotion (whether positive or negative) is also good. Baha'u'llah has given us teachings to help us understand our tests, what an amazing gift! But we are still human, and it's not good to shove our feelings under the rug, they will explode eventually!

timfree
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby timfree » Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:08 pm

I've found that one of the most powerful things in times of tests is the music of Grant Hindin Miller, it's definitely my favourite Baha'i-inspired music as of yet.

This is one of his best tracks I think, it sounds quite sentimental if you're not in the right mood, but when you really need it, it's one of the most comforting things I have found!
http://www.last.fm/music/Grant+Hindin+M ... ?autostart

Also, you mentioned Devon Gundry above, this is a very moving video of his song 'Armed' which is also about confronting tests and the power of the Greatest Name :¬)
http://vimeo.com/2228238

pilgrimbrent
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby pilgrimbrent » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:55 pm

Thank you for sharing your heartache. This is what Baha'u'llah says in the next world the believers will also do -- share our burdens with one another:

"Blessed is the soul which, at the hour of its separation from the body, is sanctified from the vain imaginings of the peoples of the world. Such a soul liveth and moveth in accordance with the Will of its Creator, and entereth the all-highest Paradise. The Maids of Heaven, inmates of the loftiest mansions, will circle around it, and the Prophets of God and His chosen ones will seek its companionship. With them that soul will freely converse, and will recount unto them that which it hath been made to endure in the path of God, the Lord of all worlds." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 155)

This was pointed out to me some years ago by David Young, a member of the US National Spiritual Assembly.

Two things come to mind -- suffering that is sent to us, and suffering that we bring upon ourselves. I do not know which category you are dealing with, but in my own circumstances I have found that more often than not I was not awake, or I was selfish or something that led to my problem. This is the primary way I have learned to be a better person -- from my own colossal errors. Life seems to be built that way -- bringing things to our attention, and this gradual, and often quite painful learning process is often addressed in the Writings, such as the Seven Valleys. I have found that "The Divine Art of Living" is particularly helpful at times of test.

And the second thing to remember is that pain, properly used, is a vehicle of growth. In the Seven Valleys Baha'u'llah quotes Attar as saying, basically, "Let the believer keep his faith; let the infidel keep his unbelief; for Attar's heart -- pain, even an atom of pain." Attar understood the spiritual value of pain.

And Baha'u'llah provides this wonderful and deep assurance:

"Whatsoever occurreth in the world of being is light for His loved ones and fire for the people of sedition and strife. Even if all the losses of the world were to be sustained by one of the friends of God, he would still profit thereby, whereas true loss would be borne by such as are wayward, ignorant and contemptuous. Although the author [Sa'di] of the following saying had intended it otherwise, yet We find it pertinent to the operation of God's immutable Will: 'Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager.' The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal. To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear."
(Baha'u'llah, quoted in the Compilation "Crisis and Victory," The Compilation of Compilations Volume I, p. 153, #304)

Success in your spiritual striving

Brent

Truth
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Truth » Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:03 pm

Thanks for that Brent. It's just hard sometimes to see the people around you advancing through life at warp speed, while you're held back by things that are out of your control. Sometimes i feel like I'm on a treadmill. Running fast and getting nowhere. Then again, maybe my idea of "advancing through life" is slightly warped. Maybe these people are achieving their goals rapidly, but their growth as individuals is slower. I don't think there's really a lot of ways to grow as a person without going through trials and difficulties. Some of my favorite quotes that helped my during this period...


"I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall My loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved."
- Baha'u'llah

"Trust the lord and he will guide you aright. One who has this trust need fear nothing. He can be at perfect peace and happiness, for he will be guided aright."
Mahavagga, 7. 15. 13
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

brettz9
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby brettz9 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:06 pm

Hi Poppa-Stylez and all,

You might find this letter interesting...

http://bahai-library.com/file.php?file= ... pioneering

It was a life-altering letter for me, when I got their reply in my youth:

Btw, Great to have you around again, Brent!

best wishes,
Brett

Truth
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Location: Oz

Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Truth » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:02 am

Thanks Brett, i think what i needed to hear most was

One should seek to identify practical steps in each important area of one's life and then make a plan to effect these, resolutely surmounting obstacles, which can breed a sense of frustration and paralysis.


It feels good to get an answer like that from a supreme body.

One part i don't quite understand though is the part about the "underlying rhythm of life"...
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

brettz9
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby brettz9 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:19 am

My take is that after establishing a good pattern, things begin to resolve themselves which enables being able to also be "spontaneous, sincere and easy-going". I think it's like juggling--if you don't learn how to do it with 2 and 3 items, you'll drop everything. :) Or, to further the analogy, staring too hard at one item will not help in dealing with the rest. Just get engaged in practicing, implementing the necessary components.

Basically as a young person, I think it is harder to find a balance or see the possibility for one, as we struggle with studies or mastery of a field. At the time of this letter I was focusing a bit too much on heady psychological/spiritual questions (some of which don't even really have a direct answer), and I even struggled at the time to see that the House had in fact answered my question, since my question was along such lines. This response brings, I think, the focus back more to the practical, implying that some of the "spiritual" qualities relating to happiness and the like will naturally arise out of the context of such efforts as one gives enough time to service (or prayer and study/meditation)--similar to how, as I recall, 'Abdu'l-Baha was to have put a Western visitor who had been complaining, to hard work, and after the day realizing that amidst such work, she had forgotten her worries (as the quote implies though, it is not only about work, but also enough prayer, meditation, reflection, etc.).

I was told of someone who wisely suggested that psychologists should throw away all of their self-esteem books and teach people planning as a means toward happiness. (There's an unauthenticated quote I came across in the Barstow collection effectively saying that self-development is a mirage and only comes in the context of service to others.)

best wishes,
Brett

pilgrimbrent
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby pilgrimbrent » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:09 pm

brettz9 wrote:There's an unauthenticated quote I came across in the Barstow collection effectively saying that self-development is a mirage and only comes in the context of service to others.


This is very similar to a statement by the eminent physician and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, who wrote: "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."

I think this is entirely consistent with the Baha'i attitude towards us finding our destiny in service.

Recently one of my friends told me that he is now taking his 14 year old son along with him when he teaches his neighbors the Baha'i Faith. The Ruhi courses are providing grass-roots education enabling youth to participate effectively in important Baha'i service, which translates into effective steps towards peace and away from racism, sexism, etc.

So -- I'm agreeing with your point about happiness coming from service, and adding that there are marvelous opportunities for service in the Baha'i Faith. And, many non-Baha'is are also providing these same services.

Brent

Truth
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Truth » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:40 pm

Funny you guys should mention service to others being the true means of happiness. Last night i watched "the last lecture" given by Randy Pausch. I'm sure most of you have heard of him. If you haven't, he was basically a professor of computer science diagnosed with cancer that was terminal. He gave a final lecture based on the topic: ""what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"

He was beaming with happiness the entire time, as he discussed his topic which made it evident that most of his life was dedicated to helping people achieve their childhood dreams and be the best they could be. His life was primarily service to those around him, especially his students.

It was so strange to see a man who was terminally ill and didn't have much time left in this world still beaming with Joy. His excitement and passion for life was evident when he spoke of his service. A true example of how selfless service to others can bring happiness.
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

BritishBahai
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby BritishBahai » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:53 pm

i just came across this:
O MY FRIENDS! Have ye forgotten that true and radiant morn, when in those hallowed and blessed surroundings ye were all gathered in My presence beneath the shade of the tree of life, which is planted in the all-glorious paradise? Awe-struck ye listened as I gave utterance to these three most holy words: O friends! Prefer not your will to Mine, never desire that which I have not desired for you, and approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings. Would ye but sanctify your souls, ye would at this present hour recall that place and those surroundings, and the truth of My utterance should be made evident unto all of you.
Persian Hidden Words, #20
http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/HW/hw-92.html
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"

Truth
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Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby Truth » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:02 pm

But i haven't! :oops:
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

BritishBahai
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 1:21 pm
Location: UK

Re: times when you KNOW you're being tested

Postby BritishBahai » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:02 am

i meant it in the sense of never thinking "why me?!" (because everything happens for a reason).
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"


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