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Have you ever felt like you had a divine confirmation—that something you hoped and prayed for actually came true?
Let’s define the term: Webster’s describes “divine” as “inspired by a Supreme Being or Deity,” and the noun “confirmation” as “a corroborative statement or piece of evidence.”
In the Book of Job, we see Job, a prosperous, God-fearing man, struck down with severe calamities designed to test his faith in the Supreme Being of the Holy Bible—God. In the midst of his troubles, Job confers with his friends, who believe cataclysmic events have occurred due to Job’s own faithlessness and apostasy.
Are we like Job? To all appearances, we may be doing very well, then the unexpected occurs: the loss of a loved one, a job, or a dire health diagnosis can send us into a spiral of confusion and despair. Those around us may secretly suspect we did something wrong to bring these catastrophes down on our heads. In times like those, where is God, we ask? Where is our refuge, our safe harbor? Where is confirmation of intercession and alleviation of these trials?
In the writings of Baha’u’llah, he explained that otherwise inexplicable events may be intended to help us in the development of our spiritual capacity: “Grieve not at what hath befallen thee, but put thy whole trust in God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the Wise.” – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 21.
During a recent discussion of spiritual values, a friend raised this question: “What are divine confirmations?” These two words are often found within the Baha’i writings:
The magnanimity of man must be heavenly or, in other words, it must be assisted by the divine confirmation, so that he may become the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. - Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 23.
“Divine confirmations” may involve trusting in the recognition of previously unknown paths that lead to our fulfilling a goal, wish or idea. Service to humanity may also be a source of divine confirmations—the center of Baha’i life is service to humanity and trust in the Will of God:
Never lose thy trust in God. Be thou ever hopeful, for the bounties of God never cease to flow upon man. If viewed from one perspective they seem to decrease, but from another they are full and complete. Man is under all conditions immersed in a sea of God’s blessings. - Abdu’l Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 205.
Just as there are physical laws that govern human life, such as the law of gravity, there are spiritual laws that mirror the laws of physics such as cause and effect. Every action causes a reaction. Today we find ourselves in a world beset by all manner of horrors. Despite our best efforts to see the good in humanity and to be positive about the future, there are overwhelming questions facing us about where humanity’s direction, how to resolve global injustices and inequities and to create a peaceful future for all of us. How can the present and future of humanity on this planet be navigated, how can we move forward, individually and collectively, to resolve all of the world’s ills? The Word of God and the acts of humanity sometimes appear to be diametrically opposed. With all the tragedies in the world, some wonder if divine confirmations and intercessions even exist.
The question is: if the Supreme Being is “All- Merciful and All-Loving,” why do terrible, inexplicable things happen daily to humanity? What then are these “divine confirmations” that the Baha’i Writings state can encircle the souls of humanity?
As in the science of physics, every action produces a reaction. The act of humble, selfless service to humanity and of spiritual detachment from the material world can provide a reaction—divine confirmations. In response to a question seeking guidance about a proposed action, Abdu’l Baha, the son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith, responded: “Assuredly divine confirmations will assist thee and the power of the Covenant and Testament will secure for thee triumph and victory.” – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 215.
Divine confirmations also represent a consistent theme within the Bible and the Quran. Despite his tremendous tests and difficulties, Job experienced divine confirmations. If Divinity is a single Source of all good, the patience of Job in the face of tests and difficulties reflects his belief in that “unknowable, divine essence” that governed his life. Immediately prior to unimaginable calamity, the life of Job was one of a confirmation of enormous wealth and status. Job sustained his confirmation of God’s grace when material bounties were abruptly taken away. Job retained his patience and trust in God, even when he broke out in boils all over his body, and his friends and family deserted him.
In a prayer of Baha’u’llah’s, those troubles turn into divine confirmations: “O Thou Whose tests are a healing medicine to such as are nigh unto Thee! Whose dart is the dearest wish of those hearts that yearn after Thee!” – Baha'i Prayers, p. 190.