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Archive for the ‘Patience’ Category

As a young man, President David O. McKay prayed for a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. Many years later, while he was serving his mission in Scotland, that witness finally came. Later he wrote, “It was an assurance to me that sincere prayer is answered ‘sometime, somewhere.’”

We may not know when or how the Lord’s answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I testify, His answers will come. For some answers we may have to wait until the hereafter.

– Elder Robert D. Hales, Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done, October 2011
* * *

“If God answers your prayer, He is increasing your faith.
If He delays, He is increasing your patience.
If He doesn’t answer, He knows you can handle it.”

– Unknown

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A friend raised the question whether Job was a real person. My understanding and belief is yes, he was real.

* * *

Ezekiel refers to Job along with Noah and Daniel.

Ezekiel 14

[14] Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

[20] Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

* * *

James draws upon the example of Job to comfort the suffering, proving the point that God is merciful. He commends the endurance of Job.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)

* * *

Doctrine & Covenants Section 121 gives a prayer and prophecies written by Joseph Smith the Prophet while he was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, dated 20 March 1839. The Prophet and several companions had been months in prison. Their petitions and appeals directed to the executive officers and the judiciary had failed to bring them relief.

The Lord answers Joseph Smith’s prayer:

[7] My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

[8] And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

[9] Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

[10] Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

* * *

The Book of Job teaches many important lessons.

Job’s suffering explains why developing character is more important in God’s eyes than the trials and pain we experience.

* * *

Centuries ago the man Job—so long blessed with every material gift, only to find himself sorely afflicted by all that can befall a human being—sat with his companions and uttered the timeless, ageless question,

If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14)

He later answered his question:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:25-26)

* * *

If any of us feels our challenges are beyond our capacity to meet them, let us read of Job. By so doing, there comes the feeling, “If Job could endure and overcome, so will I.”

Job was a “perfect and upright” man who “feared God, and eschewed evil.” Pious in his conduct, prosperous in his fortune, Job was to face a test which could have destroyed anyone. Shorn of his possessions, scorned by his friends, afflicted by his suffering, shattered by the loss of his family, he was urged to “curse God, and die.” He resisted this temptation and declared from the depths of his noble soul, “Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

Job became a model of unlimited patience. To this day we refer to those who are long-suffering as having the patience of Job. He provides an example for us to follow.

– President Thomas S. Monson, They Marked the Path to Follow, October 2007

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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Naaman was a captain of the king of Syria’s army. Naaman had leprosy, a terrible disease, according to 2 Kings 5.

The maid of Naaman’s wife said unto her mistress, “Would God my lord were with the prophet (Elisha) that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”

The king of Syria then sent Naaman to the king of Israel, but the king of Israel was displeased.

Naaman next went to Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” He further complained “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?”

Naaman’s servant then pleaded, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”

Naaman then went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to Elisha’s instructions. His flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

* * *

This story provides many lessons. Naaman needed faith, humility and obedience in order to be healed.

Naaman was not healed after dipping himself the first time. Nor was he healed the second time. He was still a leper even after the sixth time,

What if Naaman had become discouraged or impatient and left the river after the sixth time?

But Naaman persisted. Finally, he was healed after the seventh time.

We should all consider ourselves as if we were Naaman. We must be persistent in obeying the Lord and patient while we await promised blessings.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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I have several weaknesses of my own. I often have fatigue. And I have a borderline case of Asperger syndrome.

But the purpose of this message is not to dwell on my own condition. Rather it is to present scriptural insights.

* * *

The Apostle Paul taught:

2 Corinthians 12

[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
[8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
[9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
[10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

* * *

Even the prophets and apostles had weaknesses.

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

Noah became drunk after he left the ark and had planted a vineyard.

Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, each time claiming that Sarah was his sister.

Jacob played a trick on Isaac in order to get the birthright blessing.

Jonah at first refused to go to Ninevah. So he was swallowed by a whale.

David sinned with Bathsheba.

Peter denied knowing Christ three times.

Thomas doubted that Jesus had been resurrected.

* * *

President Thomas S. Monson tells the following story:

Many years ago, while attending a church conference, I noticed that a counselor was blind. He functioned beautifully, performing his duties as though he had sight. It was a stormy night as we met in the office situated on the second floor of the building. Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder. The lights in the building almost immediately went out. Instinctively I reached out for our sightless leader, and I said, “Here, take my arm and I will help you down the stairway.”

I’m certain he must have had a smile on his face as he responded, “No, Brother Monson, give me your arm, that I might help you.” And he added, “You are now in my territory.”

The storm abated, the lights returned, but I shall never forget the trek down those stairs, guided by the man who was sightless yet filled with light.

* * *

John 9

[1] And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
[2] And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
[3] Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

* * *

Jesus Christ taught:

Ether 12

[27] And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

* * *

Isaiah 40

[29] He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

[30] Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

[31] But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

* * *

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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Here are some more thoughts on enduring trials and tribulation . . . .

Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us.

-Elder Robert D. Hales

* * *

President Thomas S. Monson wrote:

“Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”

My friend Raphael wrote, “Even though tough moments abound, our focus is on the crown that awaits all those who will endure.”

“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share His eternal glory in union with Christ, will Himself perfect you and give firmness, strength, and a sure foundation.” (I Peter 5:10)

There is more to life than facing hardships, however. There is much joy available even in this troubled world.

The very first verse in the Bible is:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

President Monson also wrote:

“God left the world unfinished; the pictures unpainted,
the songs unsung, and the problems unsolved,
that man might know the joys of creation.”

May you find joy in the creative exercise of your talents, especially as you serve your fellow man.

And may the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you,

Tom Irvine

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Adversity is a common theme in the scriptures.

Jesus taught “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

James declared “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)

Paul proclaimed “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” (Romans 5:3)

Paul further described his trials.

2 Corinthians 11

[25] Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
[26] In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
[27] In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
[28] Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
[30] If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

* * *
Over the years, I have struggled with and against my own set of tribulations. I have fallen vastly short of the heroic examples set by Job and Paul in patiently enduring adversity.

I have experience prolonged rumination over my own trials, especially those resulting from negative encounters with authority figures.

* * *
As Christians, we often pray to our Heavenly Father that He will deliver us from adversity. There is merit in these prayers.

But perhaps we should pray instead that the Lord will help us understand the purpose of our tribulation.

We should ask ourselves “What is the lesson to be learned from this vexing experience?”

When we understand and accept the purpose, then the trial may depart from us. But even if the adversity persists, we will at least have peace.

* * *
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
– William Arthur Ward

Our petitions to the Lord should be for guidance in adjusting our sails.

* * *
My wife and I recently completed a course for depression based on a program developed by Dr. Neil Nedley.

Dr. Nedley is both an M.D. and a devout Christian.

Yes, I firmly believe we should all exercise, eat properly, study scriptures, and follow the other steps which Dr. Nedley has wisely taught.

We should all try our best to lead happy and healthy lifestyles.

But I also believe that rumination can serve a useful purpose.

My own rumination has sharpened my mind and help me to define and develop my own value system.

I am beginning to be grateful for the painful experiences that I have had.

I would never have chosen these experiences, but I must have needed them in some way.

* * *
Aristotle taught in the fourth century B.C. “that all men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics, even Socrates and Plato, had a melancholic habitus; indeed some suffered even from melancholic disease.”

Jesus Christ himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)

He lamented:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37).

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