Hebrews 6:12 "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
This verse has never stood out to me before, but today I find it intriguing because I have been feeling pretty lazy. I've been comparing myself to a cat and wondering which of us would be getting more done, or which of us would be happier about what we were getting done. The cat probably wouldn't be upset with itself for spending its days lounging on the windowsill.
I don't like waiting to hear back from jobs I've applied for. I wonder if I will ever hear back at all. I wish they would at least guarantee a "no" so I could move on. The temptation in the meantime is to cross over into this sort of mind-laziness and just give up, turn to despair (this sounds so melodramatic).
This passage strikes me because on the surface, it doesn't seem like there are many differences between the way that laziness looks and the way that faith and patience look. I could be sitting on my windowsill drinking a cup of coffee and you wouldn't know which one I was wearing that day. I have always thought that the opposite of laziness was doing everything you could think of all at once. If you don't want to be lazy, you have to get up and move, get going, generate as much energy as the Tennessee Valley Authority.
But it doesn't say that. The verse doesn't say, if you're tired of waiting for something, here are all the things you need to DO to get it. Waiting can be one of the most passive and difficult things to do, because it means doing nothing. We've already done everything we can do towards getting what we want, and now we have to wait for someone else to do something. This is so hard for me! I want results and I want them NOW. When we are in a situation of waiting, we can respond with attitudes of laziness or we can respond with attitudes of patience and faith.
When I think of the word patience, I see this woman who is about fifteen years older than me, and she's a little bit weathered, but she has this smile on her face, this small little smirk in her eye like she knows something. She's the kind of mother who says, "Oh, ok," knowingly to her children's wild ideas and you know she's wise. She doesn't mind the waiting because she has belief, the faith element. She is secure, whatever comes. I love that the word "inherit" is in this verse because who ever did anything to earn their inheritance? "Inherit" takes the focus off of us and our "doing" and puts it back on the Father who is the giver of our inheritance.
I realize that I am talking about waiting for a job, while a lot of other people are waiting for things that are a lot more heartbreaking to wait for-- a child, to be loved or in love, a sense of belonging, to be seen and valued as a person of significance. Through patience and faith, God offers us a peace that we cannot manufacture on our own. The peace doesn't take away the desire or the felt pain, but it takes the worry and fretting out of it. This is the gift or the fruit of patience and faith, and this is what doesn't look any different from our conception of laziness. This is the look of the woman. She isn't disturbed and running around, frantically trying to put things in order. She is calm and her heart is at rest. She could be sitting and reading a book like one of those "typical lazy people."
It is tempting to say that you can't wait patiently if you don't have faith that God will come through in the end, but hopefully, what we learn through this exercise is that it isn't about us getting what we want. If "God coming through" means that I get exactly what I wanted every time, there is a problem. The second gift of patience and faith is that we are more focused on God than we are on ourselves. We are closer to him through calling out to him from a place of pain and longing. We believe and know that he has the power to answer us, however it looks when he does, and, turning full circle back again, this gives us the courage to have faith and patience.
I will always remember this quote, "There's no music in the rest, but there's the making of music." In music, there are notes where sound is produced, but there are also rests where no sound is produced. Although sound isn't produced in the rests, the pauses are necessary for the music to sound the way that it does because music is made of sound and the absence of sound. Waiting for something you really want can suck. But, waiting is also an opportunity to receive rest from God, to stop doing and try to be for a while. To listen.