Fire and Gold: Benefitting from Life's Tests Paperback – 15 Oct 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
We are told that "Basic to an understanding of the subject of tests and trials is an understanding of the nature and purpose of life" and that "The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain to His Presence.Read more ›
These carefully selected excerpts and quotations are such a source of wisdom, perspective, guidance, and comfort, both when things are going great and when they are harder. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Thank you, Amazon, for carrying this wonderful book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
We are told that "Basic to an understanding of the subject of tests and trials is an understanding of the nature and purpose of life" and that "The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain to His Presence." The time we spend on this earth is a period of preparation for our souls, a time to develop virtues and perfections in order to better know and draw closer to our Creator; it is in acquiring qualities such as love, mercy, patience and fortitude that we are able to understand the Creator. If our patience is not continually tested, how can we know that when our patience is given the ultimate test we will be ready and not break down under the stress? The physical world is a place of preparation and growth - a workshop where we have the opportunity to develop virtues. We cannot control the challenges, but we can control our response. The more we strive to exhibit virtues at testing times, the more we develop spiritually. The challenge of tests is to use them to grow rather than complaining; our suffering is an opportunity to grow. It is only when our suffering is behind us that we become aware of its usefulness. It is only when we have passed through the fire that we truly understand God's love for us and that His care and protection are strong and unending.
These passages rang true: "While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations. Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit" and "A soldier is no good general until he has been in the front of the fiercest battle and has received the deepest wounds."
While it may be difficult at a time of crisis to accept the wisdom of this passage, ultimately, I think that we have to accept it: "Were it not for tests, pure gold could not be distinguished from the impure. Were it not for tests, the courageous could not be separated from the cowardly. Were it not for tests, the people of faithfulness could not be known from the disloyal. Were it not for tests the intellectuals and the faculties of the scholars in great colleges would not develop. Were it not for tests, sparking gems could not be known from the worthless pebbles. Were it not for tests, nothing would progress in this contingent world."
In addressing the issue of tests and challenges we are forced to address many other important issues such as the reason why we have been given the privilege of life on this planet. At some point in our sojourn here, we need to address these issues. This is a very good book to help us ask the right questions and to help us find the answers.
The first section of the book is concerned with the purpose of tests: why we face them and the qualities they help us to develop. The second section describes the source of the trials we face in life. The third section, and perhaps the most important, provides solutions to the tests and challenges facing us. The fourth section offers readings of comfort in times of illness, while the fifth section provides words of comfort to the bereaved.
Let there be no mistake, however. There is no quick and easy path when one is faced with tests. No matter how specific the guidance or clear the answer, the road can still be exhausting and difficult. The best that we can do is to struggle, be patient with ourselves and with others, and know that no matter how or why this trial came to us, gods love for us, his care and protection, are strong and unending.
By author Brian Kurzius
Sections help you to understand the purpose of tests in our lives, how to deal with specific sources (ourselves, others), to find quite varied solutions and to deal with illness and death. I often refer to the book when friends confide in me about a life challenge.
This purchase from Amazon was actually sent to a friend who is incarcerated. With each letter he has sent to me since receiving Fire & Gold he notes how much value he has found in having it.
Really appreciate having this wonderful book!
The main sections are "The Purpose of Tests", "The Sources of Tests", and "Solutions to Tests," with additional readings "Readings for Comfort during Illness" and "Concerning Death". The entire book is completely devoid of personal opinion or speculation, instead presenting a good 300+ pages of pure guidance from authentic Baha'i texts. I believe a few passages are indeed repeated, but the salient parts are repeated under the right "headings" in the book, which I think was handled well.
This book is absolutely indispensable, and would be chosen with my prayer book and the equally notable compilation "Lights of Guidance" as the main texts to help me live the Baha'i life. A fantastic purchase or gift for anyone wanting to live a spiritual life, and become a better person through life's large or small calamities.