How many times did His disciples see Him perform a miracle only to marvel the next time something amazing happened? For example, after Christ fed the 5000 with a few loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:15-21), the disciples just could not believe it when they saw Him walking on the water not even a day later. This happened time after time, miracle after miracle. If I were the Savior, I feel like I would be fed up by this time. "When are you guys going to get it?" type of frustration here. Throwing up your hands and wanting to throw in the towel and leave kind of frustration here.
But the Savior, in the way that only the Savior can(and maybe Elder Holland because that guy is amazing), He patiently loves His disciples, gently rebukes them when they need a course correction while trying to "get it", and explains things in different ways until they do "get it". What is it, exactly, that He needed them to get? The same thing He needs us to get...that He is the very Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, and the only One who can stand as our Advocate before God. He wants us to get that it is because of Him that we are able to repent of our sins and be with our families forever. He wants us to get that He asks us to obey certain commandments and do certain things because those are the things that will keep us close to Him and far from Satan.
Just as He patiently waited on His disciples to "get it", He offers that same patient waiting to us. That doesn't mean that He doesn't need to give us a swift kick in the pants sometimes to get us going back in the right direction (AKA cleansing the temple, not once, but twice). But even as He is offering that swift kick, He is patiently waiting until we "get it", even if it takes years...and a million swift kicks in the pants.
Enduring to the End
Another part of my studying and pondering about patience made me realize just how important it is to patiently endure to the end. Whether it is enduring to the end of a day, the end of a semester, the end of an illness or challenging life experience, or enduring to the end of my life, that all takes patience. That process of enduring patiently is hard, but it has also brought change and growth in ways that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to experience that change and growth.
"Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls. Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls.
Change is hard, and growing and stretching hurts, but I have never gone through a trial and when I reached the other side said, "Well, that was a waste of time." I have sometimes lamented over the fact that going through the trial probably took a lot longer than it needed to because of my lack of patience and humility, but I have never been ungrateful for a growing experience.
Becoming Like He is...AKA "Goals"
I think Elder Uchtdorf summed it up nicely in his talk "Continue in Patience" in the April 2010 General Conference:
"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. ...