Never lose your trust in God

By Gordy Arlin, a Bahá’í of Mukilteo | Oct 17, 2012

From the Bahá’í Prayers: “Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants and all abide by His bidding!”

My friend was teaching me how to pray, encouraging me to do some personal experiments with praying and showing faith. He said, “For prayer to be effective be sure to actually demonstrate faith in the moment by completely leaving your problem with God after you pray.

“If you pray and yet continue to worry afterwards, you are showing no faith and showing no confidence, and of course God will then not reward you, because you continue to be anxious and are manifesting no faith. By claiming no peace, you are revealing that you indeed do not believe that God will be sufficient for your needs.”

To make this point more concrete to me, my teacher said, “Put your problem into the palm of your hand, raise it up to God and give it to him.

“But when you lower your hand back down from your praying, be sure that the palm of your hand is facing down. In other words, be sure that you have left the entire problem with God, and be sure that you have not kept part of your problem with you.”

The point was well taken, but after praying, it was still easy for me to think, “Exactly how can God possibly solve my entire problem?” And I would still be troubled, either a little anxious, or a lot.

To this he said, “The measure of your anxiety is the measure of your distance from God, indeed it is the measure of your self-manufactured, self-placed, self-inflicted distance from God.

“Your chore is to build a new muscle, a new habit: one of complete confidence that God can and will solve your entire difficulty.”

He was directing me to develop a farther trust, quoting from the Bible: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) and “I say to you whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them…” (Mark 11:24), and “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Do you ever ‘hang onto’ part of your problem after praying to God about it? Me, too, but I’m praying with absolute confidence more and more often. When we do entirely surrender our predicaments we see God work dazzlingly, quickly and very completely. But trusting 100 percent all of the time can be difficult.

In Iran many early Bahá’ís were imprisoned in a ghastly underground dungeon, an old cistern three flights below ground level that was miserably cold, damp, completely dark and without ventilation.

In chains and stocks they languished for months on end. Each day the jailer would open the single door and select one of them who would then be taken up to a public square where he or she would be viciously martyred.

While they waited and suffered in this unspeakably horrific place they found comfort by repeatedly chanting and singing this Bahá’í prayer: “God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing in the heavens or in the earth or in all that lieth between them but God sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent.”

Consider the many ‘absolute’ and unequivocal terms in this prayer: “God sufficeth” says it all! The dictionary defines ‘suffice’ like this: “To meet present needs or requirements.”

The prayer then reminds us that God is “above” all things; “above” is pretty absolute! We are reminded that He is indeed higher than our problem!

And then the prayer makes the point that “nothing” else besides God suffices; “nothing” is quite absolute! The dictionary defines it as “No thing; not anything.”

And to make sure that we understand the “nothing” word, God explains it a bit further: “…nothing in the heavens or in the earth or in all that lieth between them…”

That is indeed really absolutely NOTHING else but the good Lord suffices! Then: “Verily”! Definition: “In truth, in fact; with confidence, assuredly.” “Verily” is yet another bang-pow absolute word!

“Verily, He is in Himself…”: the singularity of the source of our relief! “He is in Himself the Knower”: (“The one who apprehends with clarity and certainty”) “…the Sustainer”: (“The one who keeps us in existence and maintains us”) “…the Omnipotent.”: (“The one having unlimited universal power, authority and force.”)!

Here we are reminded lastly that our Creator alone IS “the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent” reinforcing that God alone, singular, can indeed answer our prayers.

We can be assured by these words from the Bahá’í Writings: “Never lose thy trust in God. Be thou ever hopeful, for the bounties of God never cease to flow upon man.

“If viewed from one perspective they seem to decrease, but from another they are full and complete. Man is under all conditions immersed in a sea of God’s blessings. Therefore, be not hopeless under any circumstances, but rather be firm in thy hope.”

In closing, another prayer joyously chanted by early Bahá’ís in the stench and horror of the dreadful dungeon of Tehran: “God is sufficient unto me. He is the All-Sufficing. In Him let the trusting trust.”

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