Patience is one of the themes that we’ll be talking about this month on the blog as well as the radio program Mormon Channel Daily.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “Dictionaries define patience in such terms as bearing pain or sorrow calmly or without complaint; not being hasty or impetuous; being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.” Patience is a very difficult attribute to develop in our lives—mainly because it can take a long time with a difficult experience. And while many could think that being patient is simply passively waiting for the Lord to grant us blessings or circumstances that we desire, it is actually a very active pursuit toward a goal, mentally and spiritually.
Patience Is a Trial of Faith
Faith is a verb. It is actively putting into practice the things we believe in our hearts. When our patience is tested in unpleasant circumstances, it is our faith that will save us. We are told in the scriptures that there must be “an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass.” The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon said that “ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience.” The righteous opposition we can bring to a negative experience can be our faithful selves. If we choose to diligently seek God and continue developing our own testimonies, times that try our patience will end up strengthening our faith. As President Thomas S. Monson said, ‘The future is as bright as your faith.”
Patience Is Hope in the Future
Having hope brings an optimism and righteous expectation for our future. If we know God loves us, we know He will provide for us when we do our part to follow Him. No matter how bleak a situation may look at the moment, we should not get discouraged—we should hold to hope and know that Father in Heaven has great things in store for us, someday. While Joseph Smith was unlawfully imprisoned or beaten several times, he never lost patience with those who harmed him. He had a bright hope that his future, as well as the future of the Church, would be better because of the important work he was constantly engaged in to bring it to pass. The Apostle Paul said to the Roman Saints, “We glory in tribulations … knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.”
Patience Is Happiness
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin explained how impatience can be linked to unhappiness: “I believe that a lack of patience is a major cause of the difficulties and unhappiness in the world today. Too often, we are impatient with ourselves, with our family members and friends, and even with the Lord. We seem to demand what we want right now, regardless of whether we have earned it, whether it would be good for us, or whether it is right.” Conversely, the Savior is a perfect example of how patience can bring happiness. In the midst of His trials and suffering on the earth, He forgave easily, followed the Lord in all things, and looked for ways to create happiness and love in His circumstances.
Developing patience allows us to focus on the future with hope and faith, while diligently seeking guidance and wisdom from the Lord. In doing this, we will become more whole and “perfect,” like our patient elder brother, Jesus Christ.