08 July 2010

Astonishment at God's Blessings

I'd like to say a few words in celebration of spontaneous gratitude for all the ways God provides for us.

A few days ago, I realized my tendency when praying is to ask God for things I feel are lacking in myself, others, or the world around me. It keeps striking me how more broad-minded I could be. After all, God has created us. Everywhere we turn there are things essential to our well-being: food, oxygen, shelter, guidance from God, and the breathings of the Holy Spirit. It's all there for the taking. We use it. But in that use, we forget about it. Then, when it comes time to pray the thought arises: "O God, if only there was this one thing more." This attitude is feeling stranger to me with every passing day. I like what Baha'u'llah writes in the Seven Valleys: "O Lord, increase my astonishment at Thee!"
Similarly 'Abdu'l-Baha once addressed a gathering with these words;
Do you realize how much you should thank God for His blessings? If you should thank Him a thousand times with each breath, it would not be sufficient because God has created and trained you. He has protected you from every affliction and prepared every gift and bestowal. Consider what a kind Father He is. He bestows His gift before you ask. We were not in the world of existence, but as soon as we were born, we found everything prepared for our needs and comfort without question on our part.
'Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 187-8
So, let's begin with gratitude and go from there.

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