Patient Waiting


Quietly and patiently to wait often seems the hardest of all the tasks we might be called upon to undertake. Yet how often the command to wait — to be still and to know — occurs throughout the pages of the Bible and in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy.

To wait doesn’t mean to sit idly by with folded hands. The words of the Psalmist, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” show that there is plenty of work to do in our waiting!

The qualities of patience, humility, courage, loving-kindness, right activity, perseverance, all are called into use during the waiting time. To “be still, and know that I am God” involves more than merely saying the words. It means to silence the temptation to believe in a power other than God; to quiet fear; to “renounce aggression, oppression and the pride of power,” as Mary Baker Eddy tells us in Science and Health; to seek to understand God more fully; and to be willing to allow Him to lead and to guide, even though it be along stony paths.

Before every great service to mankind, there has been the period of waiting, or preparation. Before Moses was ready to lead his people out of bondage, he had his years in the desert, where he did not idly allow the time to drift by, but where his thought and heart were being prepared for the work before him. David, tending his father’s flocks, was acquiring the needed courage, resourcefulness, fearlessness, and childlikeness, that later enabled him to meet and conquer his foes and to be Israel’s great king. Jesus was thirty years preparing for his three short years of ministry. Are we willing to go with him forty days into the wilderness, that we may overcome in our own consciousness the thoughts that are unlike God, in order to come forth and obey His command to do His works? In the light of these examples, need we grumble if we, too, are called upon to have our period of waiting and preparation for the work that God has for us to do?

The human mind often argues that if we were only in some other place, in another environment, with different people, in other work, how much easier it would be to progress. We all have to learn, however, that it is necessary for each one to solve his problem right where he is; that each must demonstrate what he knows of good — and see the good — in his present situation. A loved hymn tells us, “Beneath thy feet, Life’s pearl is cast.”

We must be “faithful over a few things” before we can be made ruler over many. David was a faithful shepherd before he became a king; Joseph was a wise steward to Pharaoh before he was made ruler in Egypt; Jesus was a carpenter before he became our great Way-shower; Mrs. Eddy labored patiently many years before she brought forth our textbook and established the Cause of Christian Science.

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