Patience in action
Does it seem contradictory to talk about patience and action together? Does it seem particularly challenging to be patient when there's deep desire to dom something about such world situations as the American hostages in Iran?
We might answer, Yes, if patience is thought to mean standing by idly, or wasting time, or feeling helpless -- or worse, hopeless.
In today's fast-paced world of urgencies, it's almost quaint to talk about the need for patience. But there is exactly that need, whether in personal daily life or in world affairs.
There's a need for the patience that listens payerfully for God's guidance befor making a decision. The kind of patience that persists until something is learned and gained from each tribulation. The kind of patience that curbs anger and resentment, replacing them with compassion and forgiveness.
No man faced greater provocation to feel hatred and resentment than Christ Jesus. Yet he patiently taught and proved the power of God, Love, in daily life. If we truly accept him as our Way-shower, then we will turn to his example and teachings in all situations -- no matter how trying, or how justified, we think our revenge might be.
In his parable of the sower and the seed, n1 Jesus described the seed on the good ground as "they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
n1 See Luke 8:5-15.
Trust patience is not naive. It's not blind trust in the unknown. Neither is it inactive. And it does bring forth fruit.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane facing certain death, the world would never have benefited from the glory of his later resurrection and ascension had he impatiently decided not to face the ordeal before him. Mary Baker Eddy n2 defines "Gethsemane" in the Christian Science textbook as "patient woe; the human yielding to the divine; love meeting no response, but still remaining love." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 586;
Which way will we let ourselves grow -- toward hating or loving, toward feeling humiliated or humble, toward cursing or praying, toward impatience or patience? No one says a Gethsemane experience is easy. It wasn't for Jesus. But his example enables us to know what to think and how to pray.
One of this newspaper's news correspondents has said: "We seek to help Monitorm readers see and understand other people of the world as those people understand and see themselves." Much has been written toward that end regarding Iran in the Monitor'm s news and commentary columns during the last year.
Have we, as Monitorm readers, been patient enough to learn? Further, it is appropriate for us to use the Monitorm as a gauge, indicating the events that most need our prayers. We should emerge from the hostage experience with more comprehension and even compassion (some of the fruits of patience) than we had at the start.
To be patient means to place trust in God's caring control. We can daily nurture this trust until its impact is felt in our own lives and also in world affairs.
We start by learning more about God -- not as an enlarged father figur likely to take sides, be either kind or angry, and who generally leaves us on our own to stumble along. But God as an all-loving Father-Mother. Creator of a spiritual, perfect universe. Willing and able to guide our steps toward resolving conflict, healing hatred, experiencing freedom.
"When we wait patiently on God and seek TRuth righteously," Mrs. Eddy explains, "He directs our path." n4
n4 ibid.,m p. 254.
In many Bible passages, patience is in good company. For example, when Paul wrote to the Romans, he urged that they be "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer." n5
n5 Romans 12:12.
Godd advice for us today. Good activem advice: rejoice, be patient, pray. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise . . . I Kings 8:56