I woke up afraid. I thought a calamity was going to strike. Then I remembered the man next to me in the ceremony fanning me with the eagle wing. The wind that struck me was hot. I hid behind my towel. Then at some point, I realized I was there for the heat. I stopped hiding from it, and just allowed it to engulf me. I surrendered to the community and it’s authority. I again surrendered in the memory, and the fear vanished.

A couple days later in the evening I was looking up something on the phone related to an art project I had been working on with an art app. I selected the app I wanted, and another app came up. When that happens it is usually because I missed the target with my finger and touched the one next to it. The app that opened was the one that displays the Baha’i writings. I closed it and opened the files that I had originally intended. Then as I studied  some aspect of my art project, I also had the thought, Baha’u’llah must want to show me something! The Baha’i app had been far away from the files app, it wasn’t right next to it. A little while later, I opened the Baha’i app again, then chose Baha’u’llah’s book, the Seven Valleys. The Four Valleys opened up to the Fourth Valley section. I read that section. It was full of quotes from ‘Ali, Rumi, and the Qu’ran. I pondered on the following:

Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he abandoneth all that men possess: “And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.” 3

The footnote just said that the quote had been written in Arabic. I’m guessing the rest had been written in Persian. Apparently, there was no other reference for the quote that the editors could find, so I am attributing it to Baha’u’llah Himself.

The paragraph immediately prior said something to the effect that love and fear cannot coexist in the same heart. The passage I quoted above seems to say that fear of everything and fear of God are opposites. You can either fear every little thing, or fear God and nothing else.

The way I surrendered in the lodge was a personal thing. I surrendered to the persons that were running it. I put my life in their hands. My mistrust turned to trust. My fear that I might be asked to leave my current abode turned to trust that I can stay until there is something else. 

God is a mysterious thing. He is the Absolute, the Unknowable, and yet He resides in everybody and everything to a degree. To the trusting, the knowledge comes concerning who or what is worthy of trust. 

Fear of God is love. Why fear? Fear implies loathing does it not? There is no loathing in the fear of God, whereas, to every other thing that one might fear, there is loathing and aversion. The fear of God is the deepest surrender imaginable. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…” [1] It is a reminder of the power of God to reward and punish. 

I hear someone saying, “Are you creating a terrible God that punishes with vengeance?”

To that person I am saying, it’s a little more complicated than that. My God rewards with absolute bliss. If He allows the wicked to enter paradise, how will it be paradise? If we continue to deal with the same lies, scams, and narcissistic greed in Paradise, that we deal with here on Earth, where is the bliss? Therefore, if the righteous go to paradise, then, the wicked go someplace else. A realm populated with nobody but hateful, boastful liars might be termed hell.

And Paradise doesn’t have to wait for death. There is a way to appropriate the power of God to create paradise in the here and now, and it is related to surrender, and the righteous fear of God.

[1] Job 13:15

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