Need some help...

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Need some help...

Postby TheCatLady » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:15 pm

Hello all,

Right now I'm in a period of investigation of the Baha'i Faith, though I am fairly sure that I will join. But, I think I'm getting to the harder parts of believing in God- namely, why do bad things happen to really good people? This will probably get overly personal, but I just feel very confused today and quite upset, and my feelings on God are starting to get blurred.

My mom is probably the best person I know in the entire world. She's always loved everyone she's encountered, and always treated everyone with respect. She really is an amazing woman, but it seems like her entire life has been a huge joke on her. She has had so much happen to her, but mostly the most difficult ones is that she got work injured quite badly from a company that didn't give a crap about her after she put in so many years of hard, dedicated service. My dad was a verbally (and sometimes physicially) abusive alcoholic, her sister tried to take away her kids, backstabbed her, and just... completely tore her life apart. She was diagnosed as bipolar and went into an extreme depression for years. Finally, after 10 years of literally laying in bed and not leaving the house but 2 or 3 times a year I get my mom back and she starts going places and doing things and it's great. But now, yesterday mom told me when she went to the doctor they found a lump in her breast, and she's going to get tests tomorrow. I can't understand this? She's better than anyone else I know, and yet her entire life has been so sad.

The sad thing about all of this is that I believe in God, but I'm becoming bitter and hateful. The Baha'i Faith has offered me proof of God, but right now I just don't know if I can love Him because He doesn't seem to care about my mom. I don't get it. I really don't. I just need some help understanding how I'm feeling right now, and why she has to go through all of this? What do I do if I lose her? I know this might not be the best place, as none of you really know me, but this is the first place I thought to turn. I'm scared, and I just want to know what we did to deserve this? I know that God tests us, but when will she get a reward? She's the strongest person I know, and she's the best person I know. She doesn't need to be tested, she knows right from wrong and she doesn't do horrible things, and she believes in God. I don't get it, I really don't.

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Re: Need some help...

Postby coatofmanycolours » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:21 pm

hi Catlady; Sorry you are going through such tests. It is not easy, I know.

I understand depression. Some members of my family, including myself, have a form of it.
As I understand depression, it comes from the world of nature. The causes are, mainly,
physical, like most illnesses. Even hardships and trauma are physical things which have an
effect on the body of a person.

The physical world is not nearest to God. The Manifestation is nearest to God. That is why
in the Manifestation we see the expression of mercy, wisdom and excellent decisions. Next
to the Manifestation is the believer who truly loves Him and strives to embrace His will. The
world of nature is farther from God than is the strong believer or the Manifestation Himself.
That is why it is less merciful and less directed in the actions which flow from it.

An example is the volcano. It erupts without warning, causing many changes and much destruction.
It also builds beautiful islands on its own unpredictable and arbitrary schedule. So you can see that
the forces of nature are not the highest expression of the will of God. No, that distinction belongs
to the Manifestation.

If you long for love, wisdom, intelligence and help, turn to the Manifestation, and like Him, learn
to accept the hardships which come from places farther away from God, such as nature and
the less enlightened among the people.


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Re: Need some help...

Postby brettz9 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:01 am

Hello CatLady,

The Baha'i Writings offer such as the following on this all-important subject:

1) On one level, the suffering of innocents is really something which our human minds just cannot completely fathom (at least to our full satisfaction in this life).
2) The Manifestations, who were Themselves the highest out of humanity and willing to suffer so much, inform and assure us that God is indeed the Most Merciful.
3) God will never fail in His promise to compensate the good and long-suffering, even if that means a reward will not be until the next world. But He will definitely compensate faithful and good souls in the next world.
4) God's Teachers indicate that it is especially the (patient) poor who are and will be blessed. Riches and comfort in this world is in no way an indicator of blessings from God, and may often even be a great barrier to Him.
5) Since we have no say in the matter anyways, it will be better for us to learn to be content with His mighty will (such as that part of His Will we experience in those sufferings He gives us which we are unable to avoid in this world). The ultimate Director of the drama of our lives often pushes us to our best, and while giving us many choices, doesn't allow us to change our character or reward us when we complain too much! So, our best choice is to work in harmony with the Director and His script, as that is what will be best for us... :)
6) As Peter informs us, it is the Manifestation, and not nature or our fellow human beings which best reflects His will. We can know the Manifestation most directly and perfectly through reading, following and teaching His Writings, studying the Life of His Perfect Exemplar, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and following the instructions of His divine institutions, now the messages and plans of the Universal House of Justice. This often saves us from at least some of the unnecessary suffering in life, though there will always be the kind of suffering here in this world such as you mention (even if His Life and teachings can help us cope with some of it).
7) #6 does not mean in any way that nature or other human beings are beyond God's control. While this belief may make us sometimes more likely to try to blame God for sorrows we experience (since we can't point the finger to some literal Devil or cruel nature), it should actually give us more confidence (or fear if we're doing bad things!) that nothing will be left to chance; God knows and permits everything which happens to us, and assures us we will not be burdened beyond our capacities (even if it may sometimes feel like it!). God's signs (including His love) are evident to some degree in all things, if we look for or are open to them. Our Writings describe Him as the "prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God" whose grace is infinite.

This is a really hard subject to address, especially to someone such as yourself who has been through or seen others go through a lot and is deeply concerned for them (as God wants us to be). And although none of us can offer anything to fully satisfy this mystery for you or take away the pain completely, now with your intellectual acceptance of God and hopefully some assurance that God indeed is the Most Kind, you may feel closer to taking the steps toward associating yourself with His community and following His teachings, which really can do so much toward giving us comfort, purpose, and a productive focus, even while we continue to undergo many of the same trials as everyone around us.

best wishes,

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Re: Need some help...

Postby BruceDLimber » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:48 am

Hi, CL! :-)

I see you've already received some excellent responses, and would just add a few thoughts.

I would say that the cause of tests and difficulties is threefold:

[list=]Some are indeed God testing us so that we can prevail and grow spiritually! This sometimes applies to ourselves, and sometimes to friends and loved ones.

Some are simply random events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

But many are in fact our own doing when we ignore God's teachings and try to go our own way![/list]

I wish you all the best!



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Re: Need some help...

Postby brettz9 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:47 pm

Hi Bruce,

Good points to bring out in a general discussion (though even hurricanes and such can be due to our own sins as a society which fails to unify to make binding global environmental legislation to prevent the rapid climate changes which leads to extreme weather, or a society which consumes to excess, etc.), but I think we should be careful in bringing out discussion of the fact that sometimes trials of our own making, as true as that is.

In the Book of Job, that is one of the things Job's "friends" do to him--they suggest that his trials were a punishment from God, whereas they are later rebuked by God for their words to Job (even though Job is also rebuked for questioning God). That can be a very heavy burden to lay on someone who is suffering through no fault of their own (or even if it is their fault!) to suggest that. While I know you were just discussing the possibilities, let's just be aware of that for the sake of CatLady who may already be dwelling more than she needs to be on that circumstance--it's not always about "deserving" it, as should be clear in seeing many evil people live out their days with comfort and decent people facing unending sorrows and agony.

To add to the types (or expand on the third type you mention), another type might be societal punishments. Sometimes the individuals in the society may be innocent, but God mysteriously inflicts a punishment on the group--but again, God is fully fair in compensating souls, at least in the next world, on their individual merits.

best wishes,

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