Patience and purpose
A Christian Science perspective: Lessons in patience in finding fulfilling employment.
I’ve always heard the saying that patience is a virtue. While this is true, I’d personally never found myself willing, nor able, to display the characteristic very well in my life. Most often, things were supposed to go on my time and my sense of how it all should occur.
There had been a period of time when I was seeking employment and began to find the search exasperating. I didn’t want to just find any job, I wanted to find what I affectionately called a “lifelihood,” or a job that felt purposeful and fulfilling – a field of work in which I was motivated by more than just a paycheck. As my search lingered on, my patience began to run out.
However, one day I reread something in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, which says: “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (p. 506). For whatever reason, my attention became fixed on that paragraph, and I actually left the book open to that page on my coffee table for about two weeks and read it several times a day. It was as if I knew there was a profound lesson for me there.
In response to this inner knowing, I became more aware of other writings about patience and timing I came across. In the Bible, Psalm 31 says, “My times are in thy hand” (verse 15). I couldn’t help recognizing that often it was my own “hands” I put my times in, not God’s “hands.”
So I decided it would be wise to put into practice what Jesus said, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Who best to be an example of demonstrating oneness with God than Jesus! And he encouraged us to walk in his footsteps. When faced with persecution, obstacles, and even crucifixion, Jesus continued onward in following God’s leading. It became clear to me that the reason Jesus was so strong in his persistence to follow God was because he recognized that he was at one with God (see John 10:30).
I also appreciated a statement in Science and Health that says, “Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded” (p. 584). Again, it didn’t say that time is measured according to me. It was at this point I began to grasp that most often it was not that my desires, such as rewarding employment, were necessarily wrong. What I needed was to purify my desires and humbly see how God would “create in me a clean heart” (Psalms 51:10).
Another favorite passage, one I prayed with from Science and Health, says, “[S]o shall the spiritual idea guide all right desires in their passage from sense to Soul, from a material sense of existence to the spiritual, up to the glory prepared for them who love God” (p. 566).
When you look up the word “passage,” one of the definitions is to make a way through an obstruction. I interpreted obstructions to be any impure motives that might be lurking in my desires. How good to know that the spiritual idea would take any obstructions of selfishness, or my will, through the passage to purify them from the material sense to the spiritual.
I began to gain a deeper understanding of what God was unfolding in His way; not my own. The ending of that sentence on page 566 also says that once our desires go through the “passage from sense to Soul,” they go “up,” or go higher, to the glory of God. And if we know God loves us, we also know that means divine Love gives us all the peace, joy, and radiance that glory consists of.
Suddenly, this scripture, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:7), didn’t seem so scary or difficult for me to do anymore. I finally began to truly grasp the words Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health that state, “When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path” (p. 254). I believe the word “righteously” was what I had skipped over in the past by behaving as if my timing, or preconceived ideas, were somehow more insightful than divine Mind’s.
Thanks to this deeper understanding, I’ve not only found rewarding employment, but also a deeper understanding of God.