Patient -- or just waiting?
Patience is a word with many shades of meaning. To those who seem to have an inclination toward imm patience, it's the ability to temporarily suppress a sometimes overwhelming desire to speed up slowness and rail at stupidity. To those of more stoical bent, it's the ability to endure all kinds of misfortune (including impatient people) without losing one's composure.
In both cases, waiting is involved. But is either waiting the type Paul had in mind when he said, "Be . . . patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer"? n1
n1 Romans 12:10, 12;
Surely he must have envisioned that quality of patience exhibited, say, by a skilled craftsman: a woodcarver, perhaps, or a sculptor. Such an individual, confident of his skills, is not conscious of waiting at all. He is not constantly suppressing a wild desire to finish the job with a few hasty blows, because his developed sense of craftsmanship exerts dominion over his emotions. He sees mentally what is there to be uncovered, and he knows how to go about uncovering it. He has learned from experience that is craftsmanship will develop the product in an orderly manner and at a pace that is right for the job.
Nor is he content to spend hours longer than is necessary, letting his mental concept become clouded by fear or confusion, or letting a lower standard of craftsmanship creep in to make fourteen chisel cuts do the work of two. No gap between concept and execution is allowed to appear, to translate itself into unnecessary waiting. He works with expert efficiency, knowing that, without both a clear concept of the product and the expert chiselign that brings that concept into view, no work of art will appear.
Praying with the same kind of patience is the only way we can bring into view the perfect man that God created. To pray efectively, we need a clear concept of the perfect man. And we need a sense of craftsmanship -- a sense of love for the beauty of what we're uncovering, coupled with the precision and dominion that come with cosntant practice and overshadow any sense of waiting for something to happen. If we're conscious of waiting, we're not "continuing instant in prayer." We've allowed our concept -- or our love for it -- to become confused; or we've laid down the chisel.
What is the concept tht underlies effective prayer? God is Spirit, and His likeness is spiritual; complete and unchanging; pure, immortal, infinite, and perfect. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God," says John," "and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." n2
n2 I John 3:2;
To see ourselves as nowm the unlimited children of Spirit, our concept must exclude materiality -- the claims of dissatisfaction, inharmony, pain, suffering , and incompleteness that obscure our real being from view. We must see the perfect spiritual man and the apparently missing qualities that are really there. But we can't really see or love this tru concept without wanting to pick up the hammer and chisel of prayer. And we can't want to lay them down until each obscuring limitation has been patiently removed.
"Prayer cannot change the unalterable Truth," writes Mary Baker Eddy, n3 "nor can prayer alone give us an understanding of Truth; but prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us into all Truth." n4
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 11.
Sick?Discouraged? Unemployed? Don't merely suppress impatience or be stoical. See the harmonious attribute of health, joy, or activity that is really there, now;m and deny the reality of any material condition that seems to obscure what God has created. Let every thought and action express the love and precision that belogn to us nowm as Love's children. Let your patient craftsmanship remove the material sense of obstructing error. Then the real attribute will appear -- without any sense of marking time. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? Job 24:1