"A SEVERE TRIAL PURSUETH YOU"
"O ye that are bereft of understanding! A severe trial pursueth you, and will suddenly overtake you. Bestir yourselves, that haply it may pass and inflict no harm upon you." BAHÁULLÁH (p.169, Gleanings )
The above quotation differs in its language from other warnings of Baháulláh in which He has prophesied a dire catastrophe that is destined to befall the world.
Is there any doubt that He would have foreseen the crisis that was destined to afflict the Baháí World with the sudden and unexpected passing of the first Guardian of His Cause and prove to be a supreme test of the believers in their faith in the Covenant He had bequeathed to them and in the immutability and immortality of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of the Center of the Covenant and the sacred "Child" of that Covenant? For such was the "severe trial" that would suddenly overtake them and which the vast majority of believers including the former Hands of the Cause (with a single notable exception) would tragically and miserably fail to survive.
What greater trial would have been foreseen by Baháulláh than one in which the fidelity of the believers to the continued Guardianship of the Cause of God and to the Administrative Order of which both He and Abdul-Bahá had actually been Co-authors would be put to the proof and fail so completely that that they would abandon the divinely-conceived Administrative Order fashioned by "the master-hand of its perfect Architect" and shamelessly substitute, in its place, an obviously deformed, seriously flawed, and corrupted organization of their own making.
Would not Baháulláh have also foreseen that there would remain a small faithful and intrepid band of supporters of His Covenant who would retain a continuing unshakeable belief and faith in the immortality of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and in the Institution of the Guardianship, as embodied in that Will and whose permanency, throughout the entire duration of His Dispensation, Baháulláh had Himself promised in the Kitáb-i-Íqán and indirectly in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and an Institution whose essentiality, indispensability and immortality would be subsequently confirmed and repeatedly emphasized in the writings and in many of the historic and epoch-making messages of Shoghi Effendi?
And would not Baháulláh have also foreseen the fate that ultimately awaited the illegitimate, headless, man-made body established outside of the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá which its members, in their obvious self-delusion would still falsely claim to be the infallible Institution delineated in that sacred Document and, in spite of being a headless body, further incredibly pretend that this body had become the Head of the Faith? Thus, this illegitimate body, in its transparent and spiritual blindness, would flagrantly violate the indestructible, resistless and enduring Covenant of Baháulláh, as He had foretold they would in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and would, in turn, ignominiously lead the vast majority of the believers throughout the world far astray from that glorious Covenant.
And, finally Baháulláh would have known that His invincible Covenant would ultimately obtain a lasting victory over this Great Violation and that the divinely-appointed institutions of His Most Great Order would be re-established as delineated by the Center of His Covenant in His Divine Charter and flourish in all of their promised perfection and glory as they achieved maturity in His future World Commonwealth the Kingdom of God "on earth as it is in Heaven."
Joel Bray Marangella
Third Guardian of the Baháí Faith
Australia, January 2004