God is always there to help, even though it seems to take time. Fear won’t let you wait. It demands that you get well now or get back down under it. Don’t give up because the battle takes too long. Keep reminding yourself that:
He, verily, rewardeth beyond measure them that endure with patience. (Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 71)
The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials. (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 48)
God, verily, loveth those women and men who show forth patience. (Baha’u’llah, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 43)
Ours is the duty to remain patient in these circumstances until relief be forthcoming from God, the Forgiving, the Bountiful. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 177)
We might find ourselves saying things like:
- I hope that’s not true.
- I hope I’m getting better.
- I don’t want to wait.
- I want God to heal me now and if He doesn’t, I’ll look somewhere else for relief.
- What good are prayers anyway?
These are not good weapons against fear, because the statements themselves are fear and doubt based.
Perhaps you’ve read quotes like:
O thou who art turning thy face towards God! Close thine eyes to all things else, and open them to the realm of the All-Glorious. Ask whatsoever thou wishest of Him alone; seek whatsoever thou seekest from Him alone. With a look He granteth a hundred thousand hopes, with a glance He healeth a hundred thousand incurable ills, with a nod He layeth balm on every wound, with a glimpse He freeth the hearts from the shackles of grief. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 51)
Forgetting the last two sentences:
He doeth as He doeth, and what recourse have we? He carrieth out His Will, He ordaineth what He pleaseth. Then better for thee to bow down thy head in submission, and put thy trust in the All-Merciful Lord. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 51)
Of course, God can do all these things, but sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes there are other things which need to be put into practice first.
If healing is right for the patient, it will certainly be granted; but for some ailing persons, healing would only be the cause of other ills. And therefore wisdom doth not permit an affirmative answer to the prayer. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p.161-162)
Perhaps healing you from anxiety without teaching you the importance of immersing yourself in the Writings, then helping you build the capacity for monitoring your thoughts, turning to God and asking for forgiveness is much more important. All of these skills will provide you with many more virtues, and will ensure the anxiety doesn’t come back. Because anxiety is a sin, He can forgive us for it, but the work of repenting and making amends is ours alone.
Do you really think you’ll go home and discover that healing from a lifetime of bad thinking will change overnight? No! It’s going to take a while to have your mind renewed. You aren’t going to learn to understand and apply the word of God all at once. You can’t put what you’re learning into practice all once. It’s a process and it takes time, and it can even seem overwhelming at times.
Fear will have you believe that you should be walking out of here free to harvest the new learning, forgetting that I’m just planting seeds here, which then have to take hold, germinate, flower and mature before you can harvest the fruits. Along the way there will be a lot of weeding to do. Will you trust God to grow your health as you recover from anxiety?
There is one season to harrow the ground, another season to scatter the seeds, still another season to irrigate the fields and still another to harvest the crop. We must attend to these various kinds of activities in their proper seasons in order to become successful. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Consultation, p. 7)
Have you ever grown a tomato plant? The average maturation age for the tomatoes is between 55 days to 85 days. I’m watching my tomatoes grow right now and they’re not growing fast enough to suit me, but I’m confident that God will grow them up in due time, and He will grow you up to. He wants you to grow and change so let’s let God work with you.
God is already is working with you, but the voice of fear tries to prevent it. Fear will tell you that if God really wanted you healed, you would be healed by now. God loves you and He will heal you gently. Some of you will be healed just by reading this book. Some will be healed before you started reading the book. Some of you after you finish the book. Some will be healed in a few weeks. You can trust that whatever is best for you, God will do. You might have a ton of allergies and one day you’ll wake up and you won’t have any. That’s how it works – all in God’s time.
Some people go from fear to faith faster than others because we all have different capacities and backgrounds, so let’s not compare ourselves to anybody. If we do, we invite more emanations from lower nature. Don’t let fear take away the right season for your complete recovery.
By taking this one step at a time, you’re making new memories in your soul that will stay with you. You have had plenty of years of fear. Now you’re bringing every thought into captivity and filling yourself up with the knowledge of God instead of the knowledge of your lower nature. Someone once said “I read and I forget. I do and I remember”.
How do you do that? By practicing and eventually you learn to follow your own thoughts more and more until they become a way of life. You won’t do it perfectly so don’t expect to, but what’s important is that you’re going to start and God will meet you and you will grow.
You don’t have to be perfect at getting get rid of fear in one go. Even taking three steps forward and one step back, is still making progress. Don’t give up and get discouraged when you find yourself slipping back. Be happy with that little step. One of these days you’ll take three steps forward and make it all the way into God’s loving arms.
Everything in nature has an ebb and a flow – the tides, the blood circulating in our body, day followed by night, summer followed by winter . . . It’s only natural that your recovery from anxiety will be like this too.
The great and mighty ocean is powerless to change the ebb and flow of its tides — nothing can stand against nature’s laws! (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 122)
Don’t try reaching for it all in one day. Remember what Abdul-Bahá says: “little by little, day by day”.
One would well remember the story of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who when approached by a believer in the depths of discouragement despairing of ever acquiring the qualities and virtues that Bahá’ís are required to possess, replied with the greatest compassion and encouragement, “little by little; day by day” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World 12: 704)
Many people don’t want to wait for the right season. They want a quick fix now but God is not going to let you go from fear to faith if you haven’t dealt with the issues that are in between. The things that are creating the fear have to be dealt with first. You have to deal with the issues that created the fear in the first place.
Unless the season of winter appear, thunder roll, lightning flash, snow and rain fall, hail and frost descend and the intensity of cold execute its command, the season of the soul-refreshing spring would not come, the fragrant breeze would not waft, the moderation of temperature would not be realized, the roses and hyacinths would not grow, the surface of the earth would not become a delectable paradise, the trees would not bloom, neither would they bring forth fruits and leaves. That fierce inclemency of cold, snow, frost and tempest was the beginning of the manifestation of these roses, hyacinths, buds, blossoms and fruits. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 655)
Before the coming of the spring, the earth looks as if dead and lifeless, but when it appears, all the world seems to spring into life and brightness — into a new existence of beauty and joy. All nature is clad in fresh green, the grass springs up, the leaves bud, and the trees are covered with blossoms. But the spring passes, and then comes the summer, in which the promise of the spring is fulfilled; the spring blossoms ripen into fruit, and the fields are covered with yellow grain; the result of the new life of the spring is manifested. Then comes the autumn, in which the life of the spring and summer begins slowly to fade, and finally winter comes round, and the life of the earth seems to be completely extinct — dead. (Compilations, Baha’i Prayers 9, p. 57)
Nothing lasts forever! Even if your life has been crippled for many years by anxiety, it too will pass, hopefully faster now that you have some tools to deal with it!
‘Abdul-Bahá promises us it won’t last forever and suggests we work while we’re waiting:
The darkness of this gloomy night shall pass away. Again the Sun of Reality will dawn from the horizon of the hearts. Have patience – wait, but do not sit idle; work while you are waiting; smile while you are wearied with monotony. (’Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 9, No. 13, p. 141).
And the House of Justice also encourages us the same way, also telling us to keep going:
These are the darkest hours before the break of day. Peace, as promised will come at night’s end. Press on to meet the dawn. (Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message, April 1993)
Here are some additional spiritual principles to keep in mind:
Remind yourself that you have the right to fail:
A wide latitude for action must be allowed them, which means that a large margin for mistakes must also be allowed. (Universal House of Justice, Unlocking the Power of Action)
Give it time:
With each passing crisis in world affairs, it becomes easier for the citizen to distinguish between a love of country that enriches one’s life, and submission to inflammatory rhetoric designed to provoke hatred and fear of others. (The Universal House of Justice, 2002 April, To the World’s Religious Leaders, p. 1)
Look at the birds in the air – God takes care of all their needs, so He’ll take care of ours.
No riches, wealth, comfort or ease of the material world is equal to the wealth of a bird; all the areas of these plains and mountains are its dwelling, and all the seeds and harvests are its food and wealth, and all the lands, villages, meadows, pastures, forests and wildernesses are its possessions. Now, which is the richer, this bird, or the most wealthy man? for no matter how many seeds it may take or bestow, its wealth does not decrease. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 79)
If God thinks a grassy field needs flowers, He’ll add colour and beauty. If God can dress a field, He will surely dress us; and give us abundance. If he’s interested in making a field beautiful, He’ll make our lives beautiful too. It takes time, though, so we’re back where we started, with patience.
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