The integrated beauty of God’s laws

Divine spring timeWhen I was in high school, I loved mathematics and physics but not so much chemistry. I certainly had the best math teachers one could hope for, being that I was at a math magnet school. My physics teacher was great too, as well as quite a character — he was known to pasture his goat on the grass near the astronomical observatory. My chemistry teacher was good too but for some reason I never got to like chemistry. As good as these teachers were, however, the interdependence of the sciences they taught was never emphasized. As a result, I tended to view all these sciences as the separate subjects that they were and never saw the connection between them.

It was not until I got to college where I had to take a class on physical chemistry of semiconductors to realize that each one of these sciences, whose intersection I finally got to study, were simply a targeted, focused, look at the same reality; a specialized, independent, attempt to describe particular qualities of the same reality. The value of having specialized knowledge is, of course, in developing the ability to penetrate into ever deeper aspects of the truth; the problem of having specialized knowledge is that we are often unable to see the big picture.

The other day I was reflecting on one of the simplest yet most fundamental statements of the Baha’i Faith, contained in the short obligatory prayer:

I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.

Just admitting one’s powerlessness is not enough; accepting God’s might is as important. The importance of stepping aside by subduing the ego and letting God does His “magic” by accepting and following His laws has been an important insight. Just as a friend once commented on the bumper sticker “Jesus is my co-pilot”: “Perhaps he should sit at the back seat and let Him drive” :-), it is never easy to keep the ego away from meddling in God’s ways, but it sure is the way to a lasting freedom. The other important insight has been, of course, the need to do all this “ego check-in” business every single moment at a time.

Promising Baha’u’llah that I will follow His laws but not relying on His help has been an eye-opening and humbling lesson because, as I now realize it, it had put on my ego the burden of carrying on when times get tough; and ego is a poor driver under stress (or any other time anyway). Realizing that when I can’t, God can, has been a great relief. Experiencing that help is always within reach — as long as I let God help me — and turning to Baha’u’llah in supplicating His help to enable me to follow His laws and Will, has been instrumental in my personal growth.

I am sure there will still be more times of tests and difficulties ahead but it is very comforting to have known the power of God’s help. God will always help, as long as we let Him ;-). Any other way would be like making a phone call to God asking for help and disconnecting before His help arrives.

This, to me, is the integrated beauty of God’s laws — not only you can’t pick and choose which Law to follow, but there is a mystical power and wisdom in following them all.

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