Many times in our lives, we come face to face with many difficult situations. We stand at the crossroads of life wondering which direction we should take. At this junction, the crossroads offers us an opportunity, to make a life changing decision that could affect the rest of our lives. Once again, we ask ourselves, which direction should we take? Our thoughts begin to take us on the journey that we initially set out to experience. As our minds begin to roam in the great distance, our patience begins to grow thin. We question ourselves again and ask, why have we been led to this point? Our not knowing sometimes brings fear, and fear fills us with anxieties, that hinder our perspective in knowing that that God has our backs and led us to this crossroads in order to teach us the patience we need to carry us through to our destination. At this point, we need patience to develop within us.
Developing patience first starts within our minds, our thoughts, and our thoughts become things. You must now intentionally commit to observing delayed gratification for a better end. Patience is having the ability to delay immediate gratification for a greater good. Developing patience also means bettering your character. In addition, your patience allows you to assess a situation with greater clarity yielding to the best possible outcome. It can allow you to see the completion of a thing or the completeness of it. It is a position of wisdom to have great patience in all matters.
Now listen carefully how the word of God begins to teach us how to develop the necessary patience’s that will take us to our destination:
- Developing Patience ] By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:1-5 The Message Bible)
Here is how some of the other sources describe the word patience. “Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or pro-vocation without acting on annoyance anger in a negative way; or exhibited in forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer term difficulties. Patience is a level of endurance so one’s character can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being in steadfast.”
Now let us look closely at how patience fits into three of our religions spears, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Let us begin with Christianity:
In the Christian religion, patience is one of the most valuable virtues of life. Increasing patience is viewed as the work of the Holy Ghost in the Christian who has accepted the gift of salvation. While patience is not one of the traditional biblical three theological virtues nor one of the traditional four cardinal virtues, it is one of the seven virtues, alongside chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, kindness, and humility.
In the Christian Bible, patience is referred to in several sections. The Book of Proverbs notes that “through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone” (Proverbs 25:14-16, NIV); Ecclesiastes points out that the “end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:7-9, NIV); and Thessalonians states that we should “be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good for each other and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, NAB). In the Epistle of James, the Bible urges Christians to be patient, and ” see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,…until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7-11, NAB). In Galatians, patience is listed as one of the “fruit of the Spirit”: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”. (Galatians 5:21-23, NIV). In Timothy, the Bible states that “Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life”.(1 Timothy 1:15-1
Patience and fortitude are prominent themes in Judaism. The Talmud extols patience as an important personal trait. The story of Micah, for example, is that he suffers many challenging conditions and yet endures, saying “I will wait for the God who saves me.” Patience in God, it is said, will aid believers in finding the strength to be delivered from the evils that are inherent in the physical life.
In the Hebrew Torah, patience is referred to in several proverbs, such as “The patient man shows much good sense, but the quick-tempered man displays folly at its height” (Proverbs 14:29, NAB); “An ill-tempered man stirs up strife, but a patient man allays discord.” (Proverbs 15:18, NAB); and “A patient man is better than a warrior, and he who rules his temper, than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32). The emotion is also discussed in other sections, such as Ecclesiastes: “Better is the patient spirit than the lofty spirit. Do not in spirit become quickly discontented, for discontent lodges in the bosom of a fool.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8-9, NAB).
Patience in Islam is one of the best and most valuable virtues of life. Through patience, a Muslim believes that an individual can grow closer to Allah and thus attain true peace. It is also stressed in Islam, that Allah is with those who are patient, more specifically during suffering. Some of the Quran verses about patience urge Muslims to “seek God (Allah)‘s help with patient perseverance and prayer” (2:45) and “give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere” (2:155-157). The Quran states that Muslims should “Persevere in patience and constancy” (3:200) and “be steadfast in patience” (11:115). It notes that “No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune.” (41:35).
As well, the Quran states that “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, And the Angels, and the Books, and the Messengers; To spend of your substance, out of love for Him, For your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; To be steadfast in prayer And give in charity; To fulfill the contracts which you have made; And to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity And throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.” Qur’an 2:177
The Muslim faith believes that without a good spirit while enduring, the struggle will not bear its full reward, thus, Patiently persevering, striving and going forward, despite the difficulty, is the pinnacle of behavior during challenging times. Through every difficulty, Allah promises, there will be found relief upon its conclusion. Instead of wanting to skip challenging times, and avoid them, Allah is teaching that the way to the easing, is through, the difficulty. It takes patient perseverance, or enduring with a good spirit still intact, in order to reap both the internal and external rewards of struggle.
In closing, let us look at this word patience from a Philosophical Perspective:
In Human, All Too Human, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that “being able to wait is so hard that the greatest poets did not disdain to make the inability to wait the theme of their poetry.” He notes that “Passion will not wait”, and gives the example of cases of duels, in which the “advising friends have to determine whether the parties involved might be able to wait a while longer. If they cannot, then a duel is reasonable [because]…to wait would be to continue suffering the horrible torture of offended honor…”
Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.
Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
French dramatist, novelist, & poet (1802 – 1885)
How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees.
Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 – 1616)
There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails.
French saint & bishop of Geneva (1567 – 1622)
Patience is the greatest of all virtues.
Cato the Elder
Roman orator & politician (234 BC – 149 BC)
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
Austrian (Czechoslovakian-born) author (1883 – 1924)
Now grab hold of your patience, and get on board this train, because the next stop is success. Are you ready?