Patience is often associated merely with the passage of time. We might feel, for instance, that being patient means waiting for God to do something, or enduring suffering, or biding our time until some process is completed. Through the study of Christian Science, we find there is much more to patience. We find that in its highest sense it's an active, powerful quality from God, divine Mind. It's not an uncertain waiting, but expresses a confident stand for God's impeccable care and ability to heal. Patience allows us to feel genuine, spiritual peace and fulfillment.
God, divine Love, knows His creation to be, even now, what He has created it to be—spiritual, perfect, harmonious, intact. Man, God's spiritual expression, never knows a moment when health, joy, happiness, and peace are not his. He is never in danger, never anxious or afraid, never discouraged or disappointed. God's image and likeness reflects the perfection of God. Man knows no evil, no false, carnal mind. Truly, the real, spiritual man is God's own manifestation of Himself. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy states, "To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death." Science and Health, p. 567.
So, why is patience necessary if God's spiritual perfection is effortlessly revealed in man, right now? Because material sense doesn't discern this wonderful fact. It accepts a counterfeit, material concept of existence. The carnal mind (or mortal mind, as Christian Science terms it) suggests that life is material and far from perfect—that it includes hardships to be endured. Christ Jesus referred to this so-called mind when he spoke of the devil as "a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44. God, the only true Mind, knows that spiritual perfection is right now! He knows man as His expression, wholly satisfied. He knows man includes no evil or debilitating conditions.
To be patient is to lean on and yield to the nowness of spiritual perfection. This yielding is a vibrant and receptive state of thought that says in effect, "Dear Father-Mother God, show me what you are and how you have really made me to be." When we express patience, we're rejecting the parade of lies that mortal mind would put forth. Then the false, material beliefs that would manifest themselves in illness, limitation, or any form of trouble can be cast out of thought.
Patience is a Christlike quality, which gives us the ability to recognize and feel that we are Mind's satisfied idea. Patience brings spiritual fulfillment; it expresses God's joy in His creation. The divine Mind is even now pleased with its expression, man, who reflects all that God is. As the father in Christ Jesus' parable said, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." Luke 15:31. Divine Mind rejoices in and cherishes the ever-present majesty of true being. The Christian Science textbook states: "Deity was satisfied with His work. How could He be otherwise, since the spiritual creation was the outgrowth, the emanation, of His infinite self containment and immortal wisdom?" Science and Health, p. 519.
Patience helps us fulfill the demand for spiritual growth—helps us yield to and learn the spiritual truth that we express God.
Whenever we seek to understand, lean on, and affirm the perfection and love of God, this makes us more receptive to the spiritual evidence of health and harmony. Although patience is sometimes needed as we pray, a time frame is not a prerequisite to healing. Patience helps us fulfill the demand for spiritual growth—helps us yield to and learn the spiritual truth that we express God. In James we read: "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.
If healing does seem to take time, this will annoy us only so long as we believe evil's cry for identity. But the perfection of God is already present where evil seems to be peddling its claims. Therefore, there is no need to push God for healing. God is already the Mind, Life, and substance of all. We need not give validity to a trouble that God never created. Instead we can, with patient prayer, rejoice that Mind is right now expressing its perfection through its spiritual idea, man—our only true selfhood.
Patience puts the brakes on mortal mind's claim to reality. It allows us to understand better what Mind is eternally presenting of its own perfect idea, man. The paradox to human thought is that the more patience we express, the more instantaneous healings we can expect, because we are yielding to spiritual sense. Jesus instructed his disciples, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35.
As we learn that man is God's perfect child, Mind's idea—what Mind knows of itself—we're able to be more patient with others as well. The carnal mind, with its claim of many minds and egos, is the illusive cause of all hatred, misunderstanding, envy, annoyance, even war. Rather than give validity to mortal mind, we can instead patiently cherish the spiritual truth that man expresses the one and only Mind and is therefore satsfied. This will allow us to be receptive to the spiritual evidence of God's love, goodness, caring, harmony, peace, unity.
Impatience, and a rigid determination to change and correct others or to personally take charge of situations, in effect deny the fact that God is pleased with His creation. This type of closed thought causes us to act willfully instead of wisely. It resists yielding to God's will and denies the opportunity for spiritual regeneration and progress.
If a healing is delayed, we may have unknowingly been waiting for God to do something about a material condition. Yet in reality man expresses God's harmony and wholeness here and now. Trouble yields before Christ, the saving power of God. Discord has no foundation, no source. God doesn't know it, create it, or allow it.
Patient labors and a patient life give potency to our prayers. Patience opens the door to demonstrating our real identity as divine Mind's loving idea. Mrs. Eddy writes, "To be a great man or woman, to have a name whose odor fills the world with its fragrance, is to bear with patience the buffetings of envy or malice—even while seeking to raise those barren natures to a capacity for a higher life." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 228.
In the face of every difficulty, we can turn to God, feel His peace, and awake to discover what He is always revealing in us, the spiritual perfection with which He is eternally satisfied.
The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you,
and keep you from evil. . . . And the Lord
direct your hearts into the love of God,
and into the patient waiting for Christ.
II Thessalonians 3:3, 5
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