A truly God-loving individual will never allow the strain of suffering and adversity to overwhelm him.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”, wrote Russian author Leo Tolstoy. As the famous saying goes, all things come to those who wait long enough. Yet, patience is a virtue that not all of us are blessed with. It is a lifelong spiritual practice as well as a way to find emotional freedom .It is the ability to keep calm in the face of disappointment, distress or suffering. The virtue is associated with a variety of positive health outcomes, such as reducing depression and other toxic emotions. Patient people are found to exhibit more social virtues like empathy, and also more likely to display generosity and compassion.
There is an old Dutch proverb: “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.” True patience comes from the acceptance of the unfolding of time. Most of the time we don’t realise that we are in the world of time. Rather than being content with the present moment we are rushing from one moment to the next, from one situation to the next. In our hastiness, sometimes, a lack of trust, dissatisfaction with simply being awake in the present moment.
“He who can have patience can have what he will,” said Benjamin Franklin. The road to achieving salvation is not an easy road. We will find many obstacles along the way, which serve to both strengthen and reinforce our faith, or to weed out the weak hypocrites. Patience is one of the most potent traits for moral redemption.
A truly God-loving individual will never allow the strain of suffering and adversity to overwhelm him. He conceals it in its heart and does not seek the sympathy of others. Sufferings are meant for expiation of one’s sins as well as to test one’s forbearance.
There is a high cost to impatience, and in many ways the costs outweigh the benefits. As Marcus Aurelius writes in Meditations: “All men are made one for another: either then teach them better or bear with them.”
Patience is a neglected skill that requires us to do nothing but wait things out. It also allows us to be calm no matter what happens and to react positively to unfortunate circumstances that could be beyond our control. Patience needs to be cultivated through rigorous practice.
We measure success with instant results and feel entitled to expect everything quickly. The world has not only forgotten the virtue of patience, but treats it as a weakness. Patience has been superseded by its distant cousin — perseverance — which implies some enterprising action and has received more plaudits in the self-help world.
The fast-paced, have-it-now demands of the day may suggest to us that patience is antiquated, and willing to listen to what the other person was trying to communicate; to put the person’s needs before mine, be selfless, be patient — for patience to be healing and effective, it must go beyond a human sense of waiting or willfulness. It must be something of the divine, the qualities of God that are fundamental to life itself — to all of our lives.
In his famous poem Upon A Snail, John Bunyan writes of how a snail’s seemingly slow but determined progress suggests of its unlimited patience: