Learning to appreciate tests…

Life on this earthly plane entails continuous tests and struggles, not only against the forces without but especially against those from within. One small 3-letter word, ego (edging God out), is the cause of most of the world’s biggest problems on an ever increasing scale.

It has been said, “The ego is the animal within us, the heritage of the flesh which is full of selfish desires.” Only through obedience to spiritual laws and continuous struggle, through prayer and the “dynamic force of example” can we ever hope to achieve control, if not mastery over this tiny destroyer of men and nations.

There remains a pervading darkness in this nation that attracts young and old alike to the hype of explosions, guns, war and violence laced with the misguided perception that the safety and security of this nation are contingent upon staying on the “offense” which entails needless slaughter of many innocent victims caught up in the political crossfire, never mentioned in the news.

We learn from history that we do not learn from history. How quickly we forget that hatred begets hatred, violence begets violence and love (not lust) begets love. When will we ever learn that war begets war, retaliation begets retaliation and peace begets peace–if we but give it a chance!

We are reminded in the Baha’i Holy Writings that, “In the world of existence there is no force greater than the magnet of love!” This powerful force attracts like substance of pure hearts and kindred spirits across the room, across the nation, throughout the world and the universe!

“It’s a love thing; it’s invincible. It’s the feeling that you get when you can change things,” state the lyrics of a catchy little tune repeated to the beat of bongos several years ago by a popular couple, Lowe and Stowe that still resonates indelibly in my mind.

It was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stated in his Christmas Eve speech of 1967: “Our world is sick with war. Everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities (and effects)…We have experimented with the meaning of nonviolence in our struggle for racial justice in the United States but now the time has come for man to experiment with nonviolence on an international scale.”

“How many are the increasing problems constantly demanding solution? How often the complexities of life crowd upon us with an insistence, which will not be denied. Yet, in the words of one familiar hymn, “Did we in our strength confide our striving would be losing.”

This enlightened age in particular has brought us many scientific and technological discoveries and precious gifts in both the outer and inner world. It is the great bounty and divine gift of this age that a new heavenly Light has been diffused to illumine the hearts of men and to bring understanding, and with understanding peace, and to provide perspective into which fit with beautiful symmetry the otherwise seeming complexities of life.

As for tests, they are necessary. A seaworthy mariner is not made on a calm sea. Were it not for tests the genuine could not be distinguished from the counterfeit, the courageous from the coward, sparkling gems from worthless pebbles.

Largely it is our attitude toward tests that determine whether they make or break us for it is the tests from God that show us our weaknesses–He already knows them!

“Tests, trials and even failures, if we use them correctly, can become the means of purifying our spirit and strengthening our character, enabling us to rise to greater heights–of service, we are reminded in the Baha’i Holy Writings, for, “for with fire We test gold, and with gold We test Our servants.”