“God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year.”
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 82)
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- 7 months ago
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Patiently waiting for an answer
HOLLY B. SUHI
From the January 11, 1982 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
* Photo – Courtesy of allposters.com
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, teaches that “longsuffering,” rendered “patience” in many modern translations of the Bible, is a fruit of the Spirit.1 What benefits can patience bring to the practicing Christian? Let me tell you about my experience.
At one point in my life I felt the need for new direction in my career. I turned to God for an answer and soon felt a growing conviction that a certain type of work evidenced His plan for me. But somehow I did not feel peaceful about taking the initial step and so was reluctant to proceed in the midst of mental turbulence.
In my daily prayer I earnestly turned to God, trying to see that He was the only possible influence in my life. Over and over again I endeavored to yield self-will and worries to God’s will and His care for every facet of my career, including my present employment and my anticipated work. For two years I waited for His direction. (That is to say, I waited for Christ’s impress upon my heart, which would cause me finally to know without a doubt what was to be done and when to do it.)
One day I, like Job, dared to reason with God. “Two years is a long time to wait,” I pleaded. “Why don’t I have an answer from You, dear Father?” Suddenly, a lesson I had learned through a recent healing came to mind, and then I remembered others from the year before. At once I had the insight I needed: God, divine Life, had been answering me all along. It wasLife itself that was speaking and teaching. My original intuition about the new work I wanted to pursue was correct, and Life had been preparing me for it. The work I had already been performing suddenly provided me an undreamed of opportunity for spiritual gain, service, and travel.
Christ Jesus illustrated, through his sublime patience and progressive demonstrations of spiritual power, that divine Life prepares us for holy work by providing us with daily opportunities for growth—steppingstones to the next divine requirement. Though the next step in our progress Spiritward may not be placid, each circumstance provides those very challenges necessary to promote our spiritual growth. Life’s demand on us is to work out our own salvation through individual growth and progress.
Life, which is also divine Love, does not fail to answer our desire to know God and His will. He prepares our hearts to hear His message. Some of the qualities I needed to cultivate were patience and the humility required to be obedient to God’s perfect directing. Human will superficially desires to obey the divine direction—but according to its own timing! Human waiting is far different from holy patience. Human waiting may include apathy, or anxiety based on fear of mistakes, while holy patience includes serenity born of the knowledge that God’s will is already done. Holy patience includes the active acknowledgment that man at each moment manifests God’s plan. There is no other plan. There are no mistakes in His plan. Therefore no circumstance can separate us from Mind’s accurate direction, Love’s harmonious arrangement, or Principle’s perfect guidance.
In an address on obedience Mrs. Eddy writes to her students: “God is the fountain of light, and He illumines one’s way when one is obedient. The disobedient make their moves before God makes His, or make them too late to follow Him. Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance.” 2
What about those situations when circumstances force us to make a decision before we feel peaceful about it? We can begin by recognizing that, as I learned, a divine impelling may not feel humanly comfortable—and is sometimes upsetting to others. The peace we seek is aninner conviction that a certain course is in accord with the divine plan. If after praying we are still uncertain, we then choose, guided by our most noble and selfless motives, that route which appears to offer the world the best service we can provide. We can be calmly confident that if the decision turns out to have been incorrect, divine Love will provide the opportunity to reverse the decision and to proceed along the path now made clear.
If we are sincere in our desire to hear from God, and sincere in our desire to follow, we will grow in our ability to discern the next step.
When we wait patiently for the unfoldment of God’s holy plan, human circumstances bow to divine dominion and life on earth begins to manifest heaven’s harmony. What could possibly bring more profound satisfaction than to become a representative through which the world comes to know God—His plan, His direction, His magnificent spiritual idea? That must be why Paul encouraged holy patience in the early Christians. That is why it is so important for today’s Christian Scientist to wait patiently for the unmistakable call of God.