When Patience Isn't Enough
Are you having difficulty with patience at this time in your life?
"I can't take it anymore!"
"This is just too much!"
"When will it ever end?"
"How am I going to make it?"
"There is just no light at the end of this tunnel!"
As Christians, we are taught that trials and difficulties are meant to refine, strengthen, and exalt us.
We are often reminded, "In your patience, possess ye your souls" (KJV* Luke 21:19). The New Testament is filled with instances of Paul teaching the people in his letters that there would be trials and afflictions in their lives, but that the gospel of Jesus Christ would give them the ability to develop patience and endure.
...Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.— James 1:3-4
Trials are hard
When trials are long and hard, we may find that patience is just not enough. When our prayers are not being answered in the way that we expect, we begin to wonder why. Doubts fill our minds, and we become inundated with thoughts like:
"I'm not good enough."
"No one cares about me."
"God doesn't even love me."
"If I were a better person, this wouldn't be happening to me."
It is at times like this that we doubt our own sense of self-worth. We may even begin to question if there is really a God in the heavens. We search for meaning and purpose, and sometimes we find them. Other times we do not. We may be called upon to endure horrendous things, including injustice, misunderstanding, and heartache.
When these kinds of things happen, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that our trials and difficulties do not change our worth in the sight of God, rather, they affect our ability to feel the love that He has for us.
We may even be tempted to turn away from God and become angry and bitter. That only leads us to unhappiness and sorrow. How much better it would be to allow our trials and difficulties to become a catalyst that leads us to search for and find God.
Patience comes after faith
The thing that we misunderstand, is that patience comes only after our faith has been tried and tested. For some reason, we get it turned around. We think that we have to be patient in order to have faith while we are experiencing trials.
Rather, it is just the opposite. We have to muster our faith before we obtain the patience to endure our trials. It takes faith to look to a being who, for the moment, seems to be a far distance away. It takes faith to believe that God does care for and love us when we find no ready evidence that this is true. It takes faith to continue to pray when we don't feel like we are getting any answers to those prayers. It takes faith to keep on believing that God will help and guide us, and that all things will work together for our good.
As we exercise our faith in God we begin to see a different picture of what we are experiencing. Humility becomes a key ingredient. Rather than asking "Why me?" or "Why now?" we seek to know what we can learn and do with what we have been given.
...doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.— Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Faith helps us to overcome
Faith is the very thing that helps us to overcome. Our trials bring out the worst in us. We grieve the future that we have lost, the people that we will never see again, and the dreams that have been shattered and torn. We lose hope in what we know will never be.
Our trials also bring out the best in us. When we realize that we don't want to be broken and shattered for the rest of our lives, we look to God for healing and comfort. We find that as we seek Him, our fears are swallowed up in the love we feel emanating from Him. His son, Jesus Christ, descended below all that we might rise above. It is only in and through our trials that we gain a small glimpse of the sacrifice that was made for us.
Faith allows us to be patient
We are God's children. He will do all in His power to help us return to him. When our own children are having difficulties, we do not love them any less. We do our best to teach them the skills that they need to know.
It is the same with God. He continues to love us, no matter what we are experiencing. However, He cannot help us until we reach out to Him in faith. His help may not come in our time or in the way that we expect, but it will come. He does not withhold anything from us that we need. His love is never ending, and He desires our peace and happiness.
When we doubt our own sense of self-worth, we lose sight of that love, and distance ourselves from Him. In our trials and difficulties, this is easy to do. Like a small child learning to walk, we stumble and fall, and think that because God allows us to feel that pain and frustration, He does not love us. On the contrary, He loves us enough that He allows us to experience growth and progression through the things that we suffer and learn.
When we have faith in this plan that He has for our development, we are able to have the calm endurance that allows us to experience patience in the process. We will not know and understand the full details of how this works until we return to His presence. Then our eyes will be opened, and we will see what it is that He is trying to do for us.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity.— 2 Peter 1:5-7
Patience allows us to endure successfully
As we exercise our faith in our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, we grow in our ability to be patient in our trials and difficulties. We find strength that we didn't have previously. We are able to adjust our attitude from negative to positive, and look for the good in our situations.
We find ways to build others rather than tearing them down, and are uplifted ourselves in the process. Indeed, the key to finding additional patience is to look in faith to Him who knows all and has experienced all, that we might live.
*KJV - All biblical scripture references in this hub are taken from The King James Version of the Bible, as published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more information see www.lds.org.
© 2016 Denise W Anderson