I supplicate God that day by day thou mayest become more steadfast, so that like unto an impregnable stronghold thou mayest withstand the surging of the ocean of tests and trials. The people of the world are like unto trees. Those that are rootless are toppled by the slightest breeze, while those that grow deep roots and become strong and firm are not shaken by violent winds, and in time bring forth leaves and blossoms and fruit. (From a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—translated from the Persian, from Give me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones, Compilation for the 2018 Counsellors’ Conference, )
What does it mean to be steadfast and how do we know we’re becoming more steadfast? These are two questions I ask myself when I read this quote. The dictionary uses the following words to describe steadfastness, which gives me some clues:
- adherence to something to which one is bound by a pledge or duty
- attachment, commitment, dedication, devotion, faith, loyalty
- fondness and affection for
- determination, resolution, firmness
- reliability, trustworthiness
So I can use these as benchmarks to assess how steadfast I’m becoming. When I became a Bahá’í, I agreed to follow the Covenant. The more committed I became, the more attached I became to “doing the right thing”. This increased my dedication and devotion and I became more and more loyal as I increased my teaching and service. As I met more and more Bahá’ís, I developed a real fondness for being around “my people”, but sooner or later my faith was tested. That was the moment I really needed to lean on my determination, resolution and firmness. People needed to know I would be reliable and trustworthy, even in moments of severe tests.
The imagery in this quote reminds me of a song written in the late 1990’s by Nancy Ward, a Canadian Bahá’í singer-songwriter called “The Grass Endures”. In it she shares why she doesn’t want to be an oak tree, which gets upended in a storm. Instead she wants to be a blade of grass, which bends in a storm and endures.
It also reminds me of a song written by a friend of mine, called “This Love is a Weed”. In it, he makes a case why it’s better to be a weed than a rose, because the rose blooms and fades, but the weed is hard to kill.
Recognizing the need for steadfastness, I stand taller, and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Strengthening Your Relationship with God