Patience is often thought of as a quiet, passive trait, but as President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “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 … even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”
Supplement: Read the following excerpt from Elder Robert D. Hales' talk, "Waiting Upon the Lord: Thy Will be Done" from the 2011 October General Conference.
I have often pondered, Why is it that the Son of God and His holy prophets and all the faithful Saints have trials and tribulations, even when they are trying to do Heavenly Father’s will? Why is it so hard, especially for them?
I think about Joseph Smith, who suffered illness as a boy and persecution throughout his life. Like the Savior, he cried out, “O God, where art thou?” Yet even when he was seemingly alone, he exercised his agency to wait upon the Lord and carry out his Heavenly Father’s will.
I think of our pioneer forebears, driven from Nauvoo and crossing the plains, exercising their agency to follow a prophet even as they suffered sickness, privation, and some even death. Why such terrible tribulation? To what end? For what purpose?
As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord.” Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, “all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good.”
Does this mean we will always understand our challenges? Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, “O God, where art thou?” Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When financial hardship befalls a family, a father will ask. When children wander from the path, a mother and father will cry out in sorrow. Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Then, in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying, “Thy will be done.”
What, then, does it mean to wait upon the Lord? In the scriptures, the word wait means to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, long-suffering, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end.
To wait upon the Lord means planting the seed of faith and nourishing it “with great diligence, and … patience.