Saturday, January 21, 2017

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on living life with patience

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"Patience is not indifference. Actually, it is caring very much, but being willing, nevertheless, to submit both to the Lord and to what the scriptures call the 'process of time.'
"Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than his. Either way we are questioning the reality of God's omniscience....
"There is also a dimension of patience which links it to a special reverence for life. Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe—rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.
"Too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising! So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we won't be....
"Patience is, therefore, clearly not fatalistic, shoulder-shrugging resignation; it is accepting a divine rhythm to life; it is obedience prolonged."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Patience," BYU Devotional address, November 27, 1979; see Ensign, October 1980, p. 28
Click here to read the full Ensign article
Click here to read or listen to the BYU devotional

In his wonderfully articulate way, Elder Maxwell shares his very personal thoughts about what he calls the "pedestrian principle" of patience, a quality he himself desired to develop more in a greater measure. He points out the connection between our personal faith in God and the ability to be patient; as we truly trust in Him, we will also trust in His timing and know that things will work out in due time. Our impatience to have things our way, in our timing, suggests we unwisely think we know better than He does. I love the suggestion that we should eagerly watch God's unfolding purposes in our life "with a sense of wonder and awe":

Another very thoughtful description is to liken patience to "obedience prolonged." We are willing to continue to trust God and follow His path for us because of the love, faith, and patience we feel for His purposes. It's that willingness to "endure to the end" that shows our true commitment.

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