Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s almost 2019! Wishing you and your family love, joy, peace and hope as we begin a new year. Blessings to you!
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Luke 2:25-26 – NIV
Do you like to wait? Are you one of those good people who stands calmly in that cashier line waiting patiently for your turn at the register? If so, I commend you. I fear I was not particularly gifted with the attribute of patience. I’m going to blame it on genetics as there is a streak of impatience that runs boldly through my family!
I know I am not alone in this particular character trait. Most of us hate to wait. We want what we want when we want it. Right now. No delay.
After all, we have things to do, places to be, tasks to accomplish. Waiting in line burns up precious time, time we could have spent on some other crucial task. We have expectations to address, deadlines to meet. Our time is important and we don’t like to be inconvenienced.
But sometimes, God asks us to wait. He always hears our prayers, continually listens to our pleas for help, and His heart is soft toward our struggles and sorrows. Sometimes, there is an immediate answer to our cries for deliverance. More often though, we are made to wait.
When our prayers fail to glean immediate results, we think God has forgotten us or that He no longer loves us. Such assumptions are erroneous. Indeed, God has a plan for the dilemmas of our lives. It’s just that His plan unfolds in His time, not ours.
No one understood that better than Simeon. He had to learn to wait.
Simeon was a man of devout faith. He practically lived in the temple, worshipping The Lord day and night. Simeon had a heavy heart for the salvation of his people. Without fail, his daily prayers lifted up the welfare of his kinsmen. The suffering around him tugged at his heart, burdened his soul. He prayed for deliverance from the troubles of this fallen and sinful world.
And God answered Simeon. He told him to wait.
Still, God did not stop with the directive to wait. God made Simeon a promise. The Almighty promised Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah. The Lord did not answer with an immediate solution. Rather, He confirmed receipt of Simeon’s prayer request and informed him that he would be required to wait. Oh, and patiently, I might add.
How did Simeon handle this divine response to his ardent pleas? He accepted it on faith. He believed that somehow, some way, some day, God would fulfill His promise. In the meantime, Simeon would just have to learn to wait patiently.
Imagine Simeon’s joy when he looked up from his prayerful stance and saw Mary and Joseph bringing their little boy to be consecrated at the temple. Years had gone by without a word from the Most High. Suddenly, Simeon’s waiting was over. His heart skipped a beat. His soul soared with unbridled joy. This was the Christ Child. This little boy was the long awaited Messiah.
How did Simeon know this? How did this man of prayer recognize Jesus as his answer to God’s long awaited promise? Because Simeon kept his faith alive. His heart was open to receive God’s messages. His faith opened his eyes, and his eyes saw the Divine.
What about you and I? Are you petitioning God about some problem in your life? Are there difficult circumstances for which you desire deliverance from? Are you waiting for an answer which has not yet come?
Sometimes, we have to wait while God works. While God does answer some prayers immediately, there are others that He chooses to address eventually. Still other prayers will be answered eternally. While we don’t know why God allows some painful circumstances to linger, we do know that our God is faithful in His love for us.
When we must wait, we don’t do it alone. God waits with us. He works behind the scenes to orchestrate our circumstances, to bind things together for our ultimate good. All the while, The Lord never leaves our side.
How will we respond to the call to wait? Will we tap our foot and strum our fingers impatiently? OR will we simply keep the faith?
I know what Simeon would tell us. He would smile brightly, his eyes gleaming with joy and say, “Keep the faith. Hold onto your hope and one day, surely one day, you will see the Light!”
Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke 2:27-32 – NIV
O Most High, O God of Grace and Glory, hear our petitions, listen to our cries for help. O Lord, we find ourselves facing difficult circumstances and we seek Your deliverance. Yet, we know that sometimes we must wait while You work on our behalf. We know that there is pain and heartache because we dwell in a sinful and fallen world. Nevertheless, You do not leave us to face the problems of this life alone. Help us to feel You at our side. Open our eyes to Your promises. Remind our hearts of Your saving Grace. Help us to find comfort in Your Great Faithfulness as we remember Your most gracious gift to us, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.