We ask God to . . . raise them unto a station where the world and the lordship thereof shall not turn them aside from looking toward the Supreme Horizon, and where [anxiety for] gaining a livelihood and [providing] household goods shall not divert them from [the thought of] that day whereon the mountains shall be made like carpets . . . By My Lord, were I given the choice between the glory and opulence, the wealth and dignity, the ease and luxury wherein they are, and the distress and affliction wherein I am, I would certainly choose that wherein I am today, and I would not now exchange one atom of these afflictions for all that hath been created in the kingdom of production! Were it not for afflictions in the way of God My continuance would have no sweetness for Me, nor would My life profit Me. (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet to the Shah of Persia in A Traveler’s Narrative, p. 181)
In this prayer we’re asking God to raise us to a station. What is a station? In the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, (p. 107), Shoghi Effendi tells us that “if to an extent smaller than a needle’s eye the glory of that station were to be unveiled to mankind, every beholder would be consumed away in his longing to attain it.” So because we’d be “consumed away in our longing to attain it”, it seems important to pay attention to what comes next.
The station we’re being called to here seems to be asking us to make a choice. Do we want power and prestige (the world and the lordship thereof) or do we want to look towards the Supreme Horizon? Do we want to look at the anxieties of today or where we want to be for all of eternity? Bahá’u’lláh then clarifies – do we want glory, opulence, wealth, dignity, ease and luxury or do we want distress and affliction? Of course we want a life of ease! I think Bahá’u’lláh is telling us here it’s the wrong choice, though. I can’t even see a “both/and”. He doesn’t want me to exchange even one atom of my afflictions for what I perceive to be an easier life. He’s more interested in where I will rest for eternity. He wants me to have an eternity of sweetness.
Knowing there are benefits to a life of affliction, and I can choose them, 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 Fear into Faith: Overcoming Anxiety