What a wonderful Sabbath Day. As happens so often, the messages presented in Sacrament Meeting were the exact things I needed to hear. The last few weeks of school can try the patience of the most patient of teachers, and this year was no different. I felt like so many things were happening that I had no control over, and I was becoming impatient with the situations I was facing. I wanted (and still want) answers to some questions, and I didn’t want to wait. Like a little child who wants to eat (or whatever) NOW, I had bombarded the gates of heaven for answers, NOW. Looking back, I realize I received the answer I needed, even when I didn’t appreciate it as I should. My answer was, “I won’t ask you to do more than you are able.” Still, patience was lacking.
The Lord’s timing, as always, is perfect. School ended on Thursday. Today, the topic of the speakers was patience. The Spirit touched my heart, and I found comfort and hope in the words quoted from Pres. Uchtdorf in the April, 2010 conference:
“Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand on our lives until long after the trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.
Patience is a godly attribute that can heal souls, unlock treasures of knowledge and understanding, and transform ordinary men and women into saints and angels. Patience is truly a fruit of the Spirit.
Patience means staying with something until the end. It means delaying immediate gratification for future blessings. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word. It means resisting evil, even when it appears to be making others rich.
Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19) Ultimately, patience means being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord” (1 Nephi 2:10) every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. In the words of John the Revelator, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and … faith [in] Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12)
Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls. (Luke 21:19) Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls. (Luke 21:19, footnote b) Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. This was true in the time of the Savior. It is true in our time as well, for we are commanded in these latter days to “continue in patience until ye are perfected.” (D&C 67:13)
The great Saguaro cactus of the southwestern desert of the United States is only 1.5 inches tall after 10 years of growth. That cactus is a creation of God’s hand. If He is willing to wait so long for that cactus to grow, He will be patient with me as I grow. The lesson I need to learn is to be patient with myself and with His timing for me.