The word patience or patient appears more than 80 times in the scriptures. It is a Christ-like virtue. If we want to become like Christ we need to develop patience.
What is patience? Preach My Gospel says it ‘is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated or anxious.’ When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully:
And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls. (Alma 17:10 –11)
Patience is being steadfast despite opposition difficulty or adversity: Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. (Alma 26:27)
At a time when persecution intensified toward the newly organized Church, the Lord said to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” (D&C 24:8.)
Patience in affliction and adversity means to persist firmly and never forsake what we know to be true, standing firm with the hope that in the Lord’s due time we will understand what we don’t understand now. In the words of Joseph Smith, “Stand fast, ye Saints of God, hold on a little while longer, and the storm of life will be past, and you will be rewarded by that God whose servants you are, and who will duly appreciate all your toils and afflictions for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 185.)
It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. We need to trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises in his own due time. Elder Neal A Maxwell taught that patience is being “willing to watch the unfolding process of God with a sense of wonder and awe – rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.”
Patience is related to hope and faith – you must wait for the Lord’s blessings to be fulfilled. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than his. Either way we are questioning the reality of God’s omniscience” (Ensign, Oct. 1980, p. 28).
Why is patience important?
“A certain amount of impatience may be useful to stimulate and motivate us to action. However, I believe that a lack of patience is a major cause of the difficulties and unhappiness in the world today. Too often, we are impatient with ourselves, with our family members and friends, and even with the Lord. We seem to demand what we want right now, regardless of whether we have earned it, whether it would be good for us, or whether it is right.” (Patience, a Key to Happiness by Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 1987)