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Sometimes—too many times—we hesitate to ask when we need help.
We might have an ache or a pain or some unexplained symptom, and decide to “shake it off” as our parents or sports coach told us to do in earlier, younger days. That could be a mistake.
We know now that early detection of physical or mental disorders is the key to successful treatment. Physician’s assistants, nurses and doctors all entered the health care profession to help others—and they want to help find and cure diseases. They work tirelessly to help us overcome infirmities of all kinds. They first diagnose the problem and then prescribe the correct treatment. Afterwards, they follow up to see how well the treatment works.
The Baha’i teachings ask everyone who is ill to consult competent physicians:
Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians; We have not set aside the use of material means, rather have We confirmed it through this Pen, which God hath made to be the Dawning-place of His shining and glorious Cause. – Baha’u’llah, The Most Holy Book, p. 60.
We can do the same thing for our ailing world, since the divine physician works the same way:
Every divine Manifestation is the very life of the world, and the skilled physician of each ailing soul. The world of man is sick, and that competent Physician knoweth the cure, arising as He doth with teachings, counsels and admonishments that are the remedy for every pain, the healing balm to every wound. It is certain that the wise physician can diagnose his patient’s needs at any season, and apply the cure. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 59.
Humanity is sick. Our ineffective systems of governance, our abject and corrosive materialism, the inordinate emphasis on the ego and personal gratification, the vast gulf between the very poor and the very rich, and our continued violence and wars—they all clearly show the collective soul of our species has grave spiritual illnesses.
It’s time, past time, we went to the right source for a cure to all these illnesses and diseases:
When Christ appeared with those marvelous breaths of the Holy Spirit, the children of Israel said, “We are quite independent of him; we can do without him and follow Moses; we have a book and in it are found the teachings of God; what need, therefore, have we of this man?” Christ said to them, “The book sufficeth you not.” It is possible for a man to hold to a book of medicine and say, “I have no need of a doctor; I will act according to the book; in it every disease is named, all symptoms are explained, the diagnosis of each ailment is completely written out, and a prescription for each malady is furnished; therefore, why do I need a doctor?” This is sheer ignorance. A physician is needed to prescribe. Through his skill the principles of the book are correctly and effectively applied until the patient is restored to health. Christ was a heavenly Physician. He brought spiritual health and healing into the world. Baha’u’llah is, likewise, a divine Physician. He has revealed prescriptions for removing disease from the body politic and has remedied human conditions by spiritual power. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 88.
Sometimes, as we well know, we run our bodies and minds through one test after another to find a solution to our aches or pains. We search everywhere to try to cure our malaise, depression or mania. Pills are very popular—but don’t always work. We all have read what overprescribing antibiotics has done, destroying good bacteria and hurting our natural immune systems. An over-reliance on pain medications has now turned into a global opioid crisis.
The same holds true for the world:
Consider the world as a human being. This being was created perfect and healthy, but due to various causes became ill; and its illness was never removed because it was in the hands of unwise physicians. If in any age one of its members was healed, by a wise physician, its other parts continued ill, with various afflictions. And now it has been given into the hands of those who are fostered by the wine of self-conceit. If of these people, a few try, somewhat, to heal it their purpose is to profit thereby, either through fame, or official position. Such people as these have not been and will not be able to remove these illnesses, save to a slight degree. And the great remedy, which is the cause of its health-that is, the unity of all the people of the earth into one cause and religion and form of worship-impossible save through one, wise, perfect, confirmed Physician who, from the Eternal World turns his face to this earth and comes to earth for the organization of the world and the uniting of its people … – Baha’u’llah, Star of the West, Volume 8, p. 296.
The Baha’i teachings say that every age brings a messenger of God, a divine physician, to identify the world’s maladies and prescribe the remedy. However, the reason we still have so many ills despite their follower’s best intentions, is that subsequent ages have different maladies and require different treatments.
That’s when a new messenger of God appears, as Baha’u’llah did in the mid-1800’s. His remedy: the unification of the world into one federated whole:
The Baha’i approach to resolution of the manifold problems affecting human society rests upon the assertion by Baha’u’llah that these ills are but various symptoms and side effects of the basic disease, which the Divine Physician has diagnosed to be disunity. Baha’u’llah has made it abundantly clear that the first step essential for the health and harmony of the whole of mankind is its unification. He says, “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” By contrast, the approach of most people is the exact opposite: their concentration is on attempts to remedy the multitude of ills besetting mankind, with the expectation that the resolution of these problems will lead ultimately to unity. – The Universal House of Justice, 15 June 1987.