Good Things Come…
As far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a husband and father, or more accurately said of my younger heart and desires, I have wanted to have a wife and children. Even back to my earliest memories of childhood I recall walking a stroller equipped with an infant doll, playing daddy and mommy with my little prospective wife Lawnie, the daughter of a sister in the church that my mother visited. When I was but three years old we moved away from her and once I came to the realization that I would see her no more my quest to find the perfect wife continued. I liked playing games and fishing, wrestling and riding bikes, just like any of the other boys, but my interest in finding just the right girl was always in the forefront of my mind. I had very little patience for waiting and I think I made a few little girls in my elementary school classes a bit uncomfortable when I proposed marriage a little prematurely. After some rejections, and even a couple of brief school yard marriages, I came to understand that while I was anxious to have a wife and family, I had a lot more to learn before I was ready to be a husband and father.
Thinking of my quest to learn patience in youth for finding my sweetheart, and all the blessings that would come with her, I am drawn to an old English proverb, “All things come to those who wait.” Perhaps waiting and patience has a virtuous side and is not just for torturing and prolonging the agony of the anxious? I have never been one for waiting patiently, but I have learned that there is an order to things and it takes patience and long-suffering to see it through to wondrous blessings.
I have never been one for waiting patiently, but I have learned that there is an order to things and it takes patience and long-suffering to see it through to wondrous blessings.
Like so many things we learn in life, without working through the integral parts of progression, taking the time to observe and fully comprehend during lesson learning phases, we cannot with completeness and full appreciation understand what we have gained once we have it. What good is it to work so hard and fast earning something, if when we obtain it we neither understand nor have the energy in reserve to enjoy it? It is like working and stressing so hard to leave on a vacation that by the time you get to the shores of some sunny beach you just want to sleep it off in the hotel room.
The life of the Prophet Joseph Smith was certainly a life and lesson in learning patience. Brother Joseph’s whole life was spent in refinement and learning lessons through experience, most of which were excruciatingly hard. Early in his ministry and work the Lord spoke to Joseph about the need to be patient in his labors to build the kingdom of God. While he was translating the Book of Mormon, the Lord cautioned Joseph to work within his means, or the means and strength with which the Lord provided him. “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:4). Not overdoing it, rushing, or stretching ourselves too thin is good counsel for all.
“Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided…; but be diligent unto the end.”Doctrine and Covenants 10:4
There is a caveat to that counsel which is also important to remember. While we do not want to overdo what we are doing, we need to be diligent to do it even until the end. Proclaims the Lord, “…but be diligent unto the end.” We must not rush or go beyond our strength in accomplishing the tasks that the Lord has for us, nevertheless we need to accomplish them, diligently.
United States President Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” This play off of the old English adage would remind us that while waiting patiently is important, we must be willing to do the work, and do it with the energy with which we have been blessed. Sitting around and waiting will never accomplish what could be done if one patiently works with inspiration and perspiration to accomplish the things that can and need to be completed.
“Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”President Abraham Lincoln
Twentieth century author Napoleon Hill wrote, “Plan your work and work your plan.”
We can make plans for ourselves, God has plans for all of us, but unless we work these plans with patience and diligence we may never see completion or obtain the joy of opportunities fulfilled. It is like having a dream of planting an orchard of fruit. If you lay around and dream all the time you will never have the fruit to eat. On the other hand, if you rush out and buy a truck load of trees, but you have not prepared the soil nor installed the irrigation to nourish those trees, you still may never taste of the fruit of your labors. Make a plan, discover the Lord‘s plan in your life, and then work those plans in patience and diligence, until the end.
It is like the righteous desire of Hyrum Smith to go out and preach the gospel and share God’s word with his fellow man. The Lord knew in His wisdom that Hyrum was not yet ready, but needed a plan, and needed to work that plan. “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:21). Hyrum did follow that plan, he learned God’s word, his tongue was loosed, and the Spirit upheld him until the end.
“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”Doctrine and Covenants 11:21
There is a plan for us. There are many good plans that we can make for ourselves, and then there is an even greater plan that the Lord has prepared for us to work in conjunction with all of our righteous desires.
I first set eyes on Monica when she was 14 and I was 18. We were formally introduced when she was 17 and I was 21. It took me until I was 24 before I could persuade her to marry me. She was not a blessing that could be rushed. We had to find the Lord’s greater plan for both of us to be able to become the husband and wife that we have become for one another, and the work goes on. Every day I thank my Heavenly Father for this refining process through which He is teaching me patience, and more importantly, teaching Monica patience. Yes, good things come to those who learn patience and work hard under the tempering guidance of the Lord. He has blessed me with the best wife and the best children. I pray, plan and work to be the husband and father that they so deserve. May we all see God’s great plan in our lives, and while running not faster nor laboring more than we have strength and means provided by Him, be diligent unto the end. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.