About a year ago I visited my grandfather with my family. Towards the end of the visit, we sat down and my wife asked my grandfather to give me a blessing.
Towards the end of the blessing, he paused and said, “this may be hard for you to hear, but you have always struggled with patience and need to develop patience.”
I was like, 'me?! What about you…' my grandfather wasn't the best example of patience… But he was right. I need to develop patience.
Tonight's blog post comes from a talk I once gave at church on the subject. I have taken a little liberty with the talk to modify it for readers.
“Laziness acknowledges the relation of the present to the past but ignores its relation to the future; impatience acknowledges its relation to the future but ignores its relation to the past; neither the lazy nor the impatient accepts the present instant in its full reality and so cannot love completely.”
― W.H. Auden, The Complete Works of W.H. Auden: Prose, Volume III: 1949-1955
This quote is an advanced statement, not for light reading on Sunday evening as you fall asleep. But instead deserves some reflection and application to experience to be understood and allowed to empower thought towards change.
Drawing from a church reference book entitled, true to the faith, we read about patience.
As part of Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption, you experience adversity during mortality. Trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache are a difficult part of life, but they can lead to spiritual growth, refinement, and progress as you turn to the Lord.
We decide whether our personal adversity stifles our ambitions, or drives us on by applying our accountability.
As we use our past to advise us on the present, and plan for the future while we work in the present, we find the perspective to continue in our goals.
I have learned from reflecting on my many follies and rehashing in my mind what caused my failures. As I journal about life and record my impressions and lessons learned, I see how impatient I have been.
My wife and I are currently aware of things that God has told us personally will happen in our life. The waiting period for these promises and events is the establishment of patience…
This is what I lack. It is so hard for me to try and stay focused on today and work on the now while knowing what will happen in the future. To wait, totally unable to effect future events is nearly unbearable for me.
in example, imagine having a fixed income and saving for a vehicle. You pick the very one and post a picture in your room and color in a piece every time you save some more. Yet, your income cannot change and the date of purchase cannot be advanced because you are on a fixed income.
This is me. But daily bouncing off walls, running circles around the room every time I see the partially colored picture… And spinning my wheels trying everything imaginable to speed up the process in vain.
To be brief, I am struggling daily and eternally to become patient. I fail, but to inspire you and encourage you, I quote from a past apostle.
“I bear witness to you today our Heavenly Father is an almighty God because he has eternal patience with us. God lives; he loves us; he hears our prayers; he answers our prayers; he answers the prayers of the faithful; he hears the prayers of the repentant. God can be found if we have the patience to seek, knock, ask, and listen.” --Marvin J. Ashton
He taught by example as well as by word some simple items to focus our attention on in our attempt to become patient.
“I would plead that we understand it is not our role to be self-condemning. I like to think when we are taught “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” that it has direct reference to us and our relationship with ourselves. We should not judge ourselves. We should teach ourselves patience—patience to believe in ourselves, patience to motivate ourselves, patience to believe that God and I can do it. When necessary, lean on the truth “I am a child of God.” God and I, with patience on my part, can do it. I remind you we do not have to worry about the patience of God, because he is the personification of patience, no matter where we have been, what we have done, or what we, to this moment, have allowed ourselves to think of ourselves. Two of Satan’s greatest tools today are spreading impatience and discouragement. Drugs, moral misconduct, violent protest are merely extremely evidences of internal impatience on our part.
I share with you this night, my friends, this fact. When you have hours and days of a feeling of inadequacy, when you are inclined to say, “I don’t have much going for me; no one cares about me,” I bear witness to you that an eternal truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the value of the individual. God will not forsake you.”
Some of you may wonder, “What can I do to make my life stronger?” One of the greatest ingredients for a strong, enduring, vigorous life is patience.
I humbly pray we will realize the great opportunity we have to practice patience with God, with neighbors, with family, and with friends, and with self. Never forget, man is that he might have joy. I bear witness to you, we can have joy only as we practice patience.
I conclude with the lyrics from a favorite song.
“Even IF” by Mercy Me
They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain,
Well, good thing.
A little faith is all I have right now.
But God, when you choose to make mountains unmovable,
Oh, give me the strength to be able to sing, “It is well with my soul.”