I pray out loud. It keeps my mind from wandering and I’m better able to focus when I can hear what I’m saying. It’s also interesting what I learn from simply hearing the words that I say. I have used Portuguese when I am praying in private since the start of my mission almost 11 years ago.
I recently heard myself pray, “Dá-me esperança enquanto espero.” Give me hope while I wait. I paused. And I thought about what I had just said. For some reason I had never realized before that one way to say “to wait” is also a way to say “to hope.”
Espero. I wait.
Espero. I hope.
Ever since I have been thinking about the relationship between waiting and hoping.
I have waited for many things that I have hoped for. I waited and hoped for a chance to go to college, to serve a mission, to get a job, to go to college (again) (and then again). I waited and hoped and prayed for the blessing of marriage. I hope for the good things in life and I wait for the timing to be right for them to come into my life.
In the priesthood session of this year’s April General Conference President Uchtdorf gave a talk titled, “Continue in Patience.”
Patience – the ability to put our desires on hold for a time – is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter.
Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace. (emphasis mine)
Many times in my life I have prayed for patience. I’ve needed patience as I’ve dealt with different people and situations. Many nights on my knees I have prayed “Dá-me paciéncia.” Give me patience. The saying, “Lord give me patience and I want it right now” has adequately described my level of patience at different times.
Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can – working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. (emphasis mine)
And for me now, as I find myself praying for hope more often than patience, it is also a prayer for the faith to understand that, “Heavenly Father [has] a purpose in requiring that His children wait.” It is an exercise in faith, faith that has been rewarded time and time again, that when things happen according to the Lord’s schedule they work out for the best.
My hope is in the Lord. “The promises of the Lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain.” And so it is a well placed hope. A hope that can sustain me through the waiting.