Patience: A Precious And Rare Virtue

marshmellows

TheDiscipleMD

One of the great blessings afforded to us by living in modern times is the ability to be able to not only read inspiring messages that come from the Lord’s servants, but technology now allows us to hear their voices, see their faces, and feel of their spirit again and again as they deliver words of wisdom and counsel. Adherence to their words can lead us to a richer and more meaningful life. Thus it behooves us to go back from time to time, and revisit messages that they have delivered in General Conference sessions. Sometimes we find, that messages delivered several years ago which didn’t strike a chord in our hearts, now does. Perhaps our circumstances have changed, or experiences and new challenges have arisen in our lives. How wonderful it is that both the written and spoken words are now recorded for our benefit. We need to remember to re-visit the texts of conferences past. We will always find something of value.

Such was the case the other night as I re-read the words of a talk given by President Dieter Uchtdorf in the priesthood session of April, 2010 General Conference. He spoke on patience and it’s virtues and importance in our lives. I well remember the story he told that night of a Stanford University study regarding children and marshmallows. For many, including myself, stories can easily be remembered. What is sometimes forgotten is the message of the story. As I reread the talk I was less impressed with the story and more impressed with the overall message. I share a part of it with you.

“Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter. Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace”

Then he gave this counsel:

“I learned that patience was far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort. There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!” (“Continue in Patience”, April, GC, 2010)

The words of President Uchtdorf that struck a chord with me is the part about being “active” in our patience. I guess I never thought that being patient was an action trait to have. But I now understand that it can be, if applied properly in my life. “Patience is not passive resignation” he said. That’s an outstanding thought.

All of us are “waiting” for something, because it seems that when that “something” finally arrives, another “something” is still on our “waiting” list. And the list is always changing and rearranging. But one thing is for sure, the list is never empty. I’m sure that no matter how old you get in this life, the need to patiently wait for “something” always exists, even if that “something” is death itself. I conclude with some final words from President Uchtdorf. He said:

“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”

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