Book One, Lesson Seven

Book One, Lesson Seven

Patience

" In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:19
Affirmation
How gracious is Thy presence in the earth, О Lord! Be Thou the guide, that we with patience may run the race which is set before us, looking to Thee, the Author, the Giver of light. 262-24

[Based on Edgar Cayce readings 262-24 through 262-26]
Introduction
God is the God of patience. All nature declares this. It is written in the rocks, the caverns, the hills, and the valleys-yea, deep in the heart of the earth. It is no less written in the souls of people by Him who has shown Himself to be long-suffering, forbearing, and willing, though it takes ages, for all to come to the knowledge of the light.

Patience is an activity of the God-mind within each soul. Its expression involves mental, physical, and spiritual thought and action. Through patience we learn to know self, to measure and test our ideals, to use faith, and to seek understanding through virtue. Thus all spiritual attributes are embraced in patience.

As we exercise patience day by day, we know how well we have put into activity the lessons learned from past experiences. Patience puts all the virtues into action. With patience we become channels of blessings to others -serving not in our way, but in His way-not once, but as long as there is need of service.

Value of Patience
Patience is a test of our development. Manifested in our daily lives, it shows whether we have used or abused the opportunities presented during former experiences. What great understanding results when we exercise this attribute!

It is through patience that we get a better understanding of the Father and His relationship to His children. It is through patience that we get a better understanding of the crosses that we bear day by day.

One that is without crosses has ceased to be of notice and is no longer among the children. We may be called upon to bear not only our own crosses but those of others. If we would approach the Throne, we must come leaning upon the arm of a neighbor we have helped. This manifests our relationship to each other.

Patience, as nothing else, shows growth. We often find ourselves so able to meet some difficult problems that we feel we have solved them before. Doubtless we have, again and again. At other times we are not able to cope with problems not nearly so intricate. Why do we have such experiences? If we fail in meeting these in the right spirit and find ourselves beaten, do we not act the parts of weaklings? As we realize our mistakes, we become ashamed that we lost hold of ourselves, and resolve that we will profit by the mistakes. Because of these experiences, we should ever afterwards count ourselves happy to endure, and be more willing to wait until we are better understood, and until we can better understand. It is the lessons learned through patience that in the end strengthen and help us; then we become examples to others. Something, too, has taken place within us, for something is written that the hand of time cannot efface. We have found a pearl of great price to be set in the soul, where it will remain through all eternity!

How kind is the wise provision of the Father! He gives to us each moment just what we are able to use. We cannot use aright that which we do not understand. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."1 As we do our bit to make His promises real by showing our neighbors that we understand their burdens and are ready to help them bear them, we become more and more able to know the love of the Father and more conscious of our own growth.

The beauty of the soul shows in the life of individuals who have patience. This comes to those who have a constant, prayerful attitude for a purposeful life. In order to have this beauty of the soul's expression, it is necessary that we forget ourselves. It is not altogether an outward growth but an inward one, too. It is the result of introspection, which is the foundation of deep meditation. Love is manifested in every word and act, even as it was in those of the Master. So, through patience let us magnify His attributes in our experiences. There is nothing to regret in exercising patience-there is everything, in the loss of it. We are building for eternity. Results do not always manifest at once.

One individual relates the following experience: "I was called upon to pass through a great trial. My supply of patience and endurance seemed to become more and more depleted as the days went by. Beginning to realize, at last, that I was only an instrument-a channel through which God's will was being manifested-my strength and courage gradually returned until, without fear, I faced the issues at stake and came to a clearer and better understanding of the problem. It was worth all to have patiently waited and to have felt His presence."

His presence with peace is the promise to us who with patience endure the crosses that are set before us day by day.

Means Through Which Patience Is Gained
In patience we become aware of our presence before the Throne. Let us seek often, then, to awaken our inner selves. With patience this may be accomplished. If we lose hold on ourselves, through the lack of patience, there is the opportunity for the entering in of those things that would make us afraid. In waiting we have the promise that His strength is sufficient for us. There is no danger of defeat, and there is no cause for fear. It is necessary, however, that we be in perfect attunement with our ideal, if we are desirous of possessing this virtue, patience, that is so necessary for our spiritual growth. There may come many harassing experiences that would seem to separate us from the Maker, but each experience has its reward. As we seek, let us know that the Comforter, who will come to us at all times, is near, and we will never be left alone.

The understanding of His laws will come, little by little, as we apply what we already know. The development of patience requires prayer and a constant watch upon ourselves, lest we be off guard and let slip an angry word or a quick retort, causing someone to stumble. Think on these things. Selfishness retards our progress in gaining patience. The recognition of this means the taking of a bold step, but a necessary one, if we would have that patience with others that we are desiring for ourselves. Lose self in Him; find self in service. Lose self in Him; find self one with the Father. The step is magic, the realization divine, when every act, every thought, and every word is so actuated by the spirit of patience that others will endeavor to emulate our example. This becomes the natural experience to the heart that recognizes God in everyone.

In the trials that arise day by day, our patience is tested. We begin to grow as we overcome and put behind us each new obstacle. Passive submission will not suffice;„our patience must be an active, growing force which rises to meet each new trial. Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth and purgeth every one, for corruption may not inherit eternal life, but must be burned up. Let us know that our God is a consuming fire and must purge everyone that would be one with Him.

We overcome only through patience. We develop by pressing on, by expending spiritual energy, and in so doing we open the way for God to lend the sustaining strength of His presence in times of trial and tests that come to all.

How may we more perfectly live the life that we may through patience gain the better understanding? By applying what we know day by day. The Spirit does not call on us to live what we do not already know and understand. In doing there comes the knowledge and the understanding for the next step. When should we begin? Today, for "Now is the accepted time," we read. Let us enter in through faith and with patience wait for the next step. Those of us who make ourselves unworthy of being tried are unworthy of being trusted for the entering in.

It Takes Patience to Run the Race
The trying of our faith worketh patience, we are told in Scripture. Day by day, step by step, the race is run. When we think our patience is entirely exhausted, then we have lost patience with ourselves. What a hell it becomes if we become impatient with ourselves! How quickly we must hasten to analyze ourselves and make the necessary corrections and adjustments! Influences from within are stronger than from without; thus our higher selves stand ready to help, if we are really anxious to set ourselves right. What an opportunity for growth and a closer approach to Him! Let us live just today, as if the race were ended, the work completed-as if upon this day's endeavors depended the fulfillment of all of His promises. If we expected the Master, the Christ, to dine with us today, what would we have to offer as the fruits of our lives, our thoughts, our acts, or our deeds?

Patience is a virtue that has no vacation. How watchful we must be, lest malice or censure creep in, and we lose everything for which we have striven! We are called upon at all times to lay aside those things that hinder, and to run with patience the race set before us. The race must be run, for it is the way back to the Father. Let us be thankful that we do not have to run alone. "I am the way... no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Only the activity of patience, with trust in Him, will enable us to meet all trying conditions and rise above each new barrier.

Personal Experiences
"When I have gained an understanding of true cooperation necessary for each activity and have lost sight of self in service, then I have the knowledge of His presence abiding within, and more and more I express patience-the patience that feeds my soul. I can walk and work and wait peacefully in Spirit and know all is well!"

Patience is the chief cornerstone of soul development. It is, moreover, the watch set at the gateway leading from the physical body to the soul. With it we not only meet the weaknesses of ourselves, but are able to estimate the strength found in developing various attributes of the soul-love, faith, and hope. What we are, what we have been, and what we intend to be are shown more in the patience we exhibit than through any other virtue. It shows just how we have stood the tests in the past: how we have met and conquered them, or gone down in defeat before them. Patience shows just what our development is: whether we are ready to bear with others and overlook their shortcomings, or are primitive in thinking that our way is the only way to truth and real understanding.

"In your patience possess ye your souls!" "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" When we possess this priceless gift, received from the hands of the Father, shall we, in order to assert our rights, pay so high a price that we would give our soul in exchange for self-aggrandizement?

There may be much to bear before we can have the title to the possession cleared in our minds, but through patience in each trial we become stronger for the next. The Master was asked. "How oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him-till seven times?" The reply was, "I say not... until seven times, but until seventy times seven!" Is seventy times seven built within us? Are we ready to bear and forbear until the end, or ready to give insult for insult, blow for blow? Are we not, by our 1ack of self-control, showing only how far we are failing to measure up to the standard we have set for others? Much is buried deep within these souls of ours, much that we should know. As we more and more exercise patience and put into practice what we know, we will grow in grace, knowledge, and understanding. Lord, direct us in the patience of the Christ!

As we understand more perfectly what it means to be a channel of blessings to others and become more aware of the presence of the Father, greater patience will find a place in our lives.

"Be patient; stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh," we are instructed. When? This is the time- today. The time draws nigh for each of us to become more aware of the necessity of magnifying His presence through the patience we have with our fellow humans, in order that He may be glorified in us through the promise of the Father. For "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my little ones, ye have done it unto Me."

Then let our prayer be expressed in these words:

How gracious is Thy presence in the earth, О Lord! Be Thou the guide, that we with patience may run the race which is set before us, looking to Thee, the Author, the Giver of light. 262-24