Patience

October 6, 2006

In general conference one of the speakers suggested a careful study of patience.  He suggested a good way to do it would include going to the topical guide in the scriptures and look up every scripture under patience. 

As a side note, I think it’s important to say that when I was a teenager, and even in my early twenties, the thought of looking up every scripture under a certain topic was absolutely repulsive.  Who would want to do that much work?

Anyway, I have had these kind of invitations before from my mission president.  And, since it is one of my goals to always follow the council of my ecclesiastical leaders, I felt it important to do this little project.  

I’m not even half way through what amounts to about 45 minutes effort, but my attitude is already changing.   For one thing, I’ve suddenly noticed that I have a problem with looking to the future in a very impatient way.  It’s funny because at the beginning of the week, when Kayeleen and I decided to work on our patience, I pridefully thought I’m a pretty patient guy already.  I doubt there will be much for me to learn from this week’s goal.  While having that kind of attitude I was constantly surfing the web, looking for potential jobs, speculating about future finances, wondering about where I would be in 2 years, 5 years, and beyond.  I had a very anxious feeling most of the time.

It was reading through the writings of the apostle Paul that really started to get me thinking.  It took several verses before I started to actually try to apply the advice to myself and look for ways in which I could improve.  I asked myself “what is Paul saying here?  What is he trying to communicate?”  I also was thinking about a few verses I had read earlier, where Jesus told his apostles that some of them will be killed, and then says that not even a hair shall perish.  

Obviously this seems impossible at first glance, but it also seems clear to me that Christ had a larger perspective than just our temporal existance.  He knew that, although we will all die, we will all live again.  Christ was more aware than any of them of just how carefully their paths were being laid out.  He knew that, because they had given thier lives to the Lord, He was directing thier paths and they need only trust in him and be patient.

It all ended up clicking in my head.  It came together in my mind as a kind of idea and principle:  Anxiety is not patience.  We must remember that if we 1) have faith to obey the Lord, and 2) be patient – life will work itself out.  It may not be exactly what we expect, but it will be for the best.  We obviously need patience to be able to “wait to inherit the promise” and we need to have faith enough to trust that even if death is the future, it’s not the end. 

Kinda gloomy on the ending there.  But the point is that if we’re going to trust in God, we need to just trust in God then be patient.  He’ll take care of it while you do your best.

Well, I feel better.

-Greg 

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