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Sometimes it’s hard to feel God, or be assured He is listening – which is understandable. Defined as an “unknowable essence” in the Baha'i writings, God doesn’t answer us directly. Or does He?
Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha'i Faith, wrote in The Hidden Words: “Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me.”
Naturally, if you’re having a conversation with someone and they never answer you back, you might wonder if they’re paying attention. But even though God is unknowable, He is still listening, The Hidden Words assures us, and wants us to reach out to Him:
O Moving Form of Dust! I desire communion with thee, but thou wouldst put no trust in Me. The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope. At all times I am near unto thee, but thou art ever far from Me.
Psalm 4:3 says, “The Lord hears when I call to him.”
When I feel doubtful about communicating with the Creator, the Baha’i writings comfort me. Even though I may not always feel God is listening, Baha’u’llah affirms that God is actually nearer to me than I realize, and that He loves me more than I know:
O My servants! My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price, of surpassing luster …. The one true God is My witness! This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.
Recently, I came to a crossroads with a health issue. I had two treatment plans in front of me, and I was terrified as to which way to go. Everyone, including a handful of doctors, had an opinion as to what was best. For me, there was no clear choice. For two days I prayed and struggled for an answer, but all I did was rock back and forth on a seesaw of indecision.
I started to wonder if God was listening, but having used prayer in the past, I had faith that the answer would come through and somehow the way would be shown to me. Then I let it go.
Just hours before the deadline came and my decision had to be made, a trusted and intuitive Baha’i physician from my past phoned me. When she heard of my dilemma, she immediately gave me a strong and definitive answer. Upon hearing her advice, it was as if I heard the chiming of a sweet clear bell! I knew in my heart that this was the right answer and all doubt dissipated.
Indeed, her response turned out to be the right one, and I have since experienced the best possible outcome imaginable. Even though, at first, I wondered if God was listening, in the end my prayers were answered.
Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond understanding will stand guard over your hearts and minds. - Philippians 4:6-7
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. – Qur’an 2:186
Baha’u’llah repeatedly reassured us that whatever we ask for which is in accordance with divine wisdom, God will answer. Even though we may not feel it immediately, Baha’u’llah wrote, God hears the pleas that emanate from our sincere prayers, and these effects will eventually influence our souls:
Whoso reciteth, in the privacy of his chamber, the verses revealed by God, the scattering angels of the Almighty shall scatter abroad the fragrance of the words uttered by his mouth, and shall cause the heart of every righteous man to throb. Though he may, at first, remain unaware of its effect, yet the virtue of the grace vouchsafed unto him must needs sooner or later exercise its influence upon his soul.
Even though I may feel unworthy and remote from the Creator, He is still close at hand. My job is to pray, bring faith and sincerity to the table, and know that God loves me: O Son of Man! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty. God created us and loves us with a love so great that we can never fully grasp it. Even though it may be difficult to comprehend, He is always there and has time for every sincere entreaty and prayer. God is the one, Baha’u’llah wrote, “Who hearest and art ready to answer.”