I received a letter from a reader who is also a dear friend. In this letter he comments on last week’s article, “Patience”. I preferred to present it to you as is:
Dear esteemed brother, Bishop Ermia,
May God bless you!
Greetings from your loving brother. Having read your article, “Patience”, I found myself interested in sharing some unforgettable verses which I find comforting in my trials and tribulations. May God reward you!
God, the Almighty, says,
“O believers! Resort to patience and prayer: for God supports the patient (153); do not say that whoever is killed for God is dead. Nay, they are alive, but you do not feel them. (154) We shall test you with some fear, hunger, and scarcity in people and fruit; but bear the patient good news (155): for if disasters alight on them, they say, ‘We’re but God’s creation and shall return to Him.’ (156) These deserve God’s blessing and mercy, and these are the obedient. (157) [holy Quran, al-Baqarah]
I do thank my friend for his message, emphasizing that patience is a human thing. All humans toil patiently to achieve success. Likewise, the wronged and pained bear patiently until the tribulation is alleviated and a new hope is inspired. Thus, patience becomes a virtue lauded and taught by religions. Prophet David writes in the Psalms, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes…” Also, St. Paul writes in his first epistle to Timothy, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” This idea is emphasized by St. James who writes, “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.” In Hud Chapter (Surat Hud), we read, “Be patient: for the pious are rewarded.” In the Bees Chapter (Surat al-Nahl), we read, “Be patient; be still before God. Do not grieve from them, and be not troubled by their schemes.” Also, in al-Tur Chapter (Surat al-Tur), we read, “Be still before God’s will for We do see it all; praise your God when you wake up.”
Patience requires that man believe that whatever he encounters is but temporary and is sure to change. Life is change. Trust in the just God. Resort to him in everything: for patience makes you resist hardships. Here I recall what a poet wrote about patience:
Be patient: for the better comes soon
Whoever trusts God will emerge sound
Whoever believes in God shall have what he desires
Another poet wrote:
If a hardship alights, then persevere
The best weapon is patience to bear.
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center