Waiting Like Simeon

December 21, 2011


I am so glad my son does not yet understand the excitement that comes from opening a gift, or at least he does not remember. Most of the time he just meanders around the tree pointing to certain ornaments (including the one he made this year). Very rarely does he even tough one of the gifts.

 

 

Think back to when you were a child. It first starts with the month of December finally coming. It is now just 25 days until Christmas. Then the tree goes up. It is only a matter of time before those beautifully wrapped, or not so beautifully wrapped, gifts appear under the tree.

Then school gets out and maybe there is the first snow. All of these things make the anticipation worse. Remember just wanting to know what was in each gift? Perhaps you crept out of your room after your parents were in bed just to feel on or shake it. If you were really courageous you may have torn off a piece of the paper to see if you could figure it out, then put the gift back down with the torn piece toward the floor.

Some of us do not get any better with time. We love surprises. We love to get what we asked for or maybe even what was promised to us. But most of us do NOT like to wait. We may agree that the anticipation made the surprise better after we get it but up to that moment it just drives us crazy!

When I think about waiting a long time I have recently begun to think about an account in Scripture that happens just after the birth of Christ. In Luke 2:25-26 we find this:

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

The Holy Spirit told this man that he would live until he saw the Christ! Although in this passage we are not told the age of Simeon a few verses later we get the idea that he may be up in age. In verse 29 he says, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,” implying that he is ready to die. If he were younger, this may not have been his wish. I imagine a younger man acting like most of the young men did when they came in contact with Jesus. They went and told others.

Simeon may very well have told others about Jesus, but that was not his focus. He was ready to die.

It is also not told to us how long Simeon waited, but we get the idea that he had been waiting for awhile. All he desires is to see the Lord’s Christ. He lives and waits in anticipation for this glorious appearance.

Can you imagine how he felt? The one thing he desired more than anything, he has to wait years to get.

How would we respond to that? I’ll tell you how Simeon responded: He continued to live a life pleasing to God.

In the first verses I quoted we are told that Simeon was righteous and devout. This man continued to live a holy life before God. He did not wallow in self pity because, “God has taken forever to give me what He promised.”

What an amazing example. I am not saying that God always waits a long time before fulfilling His promises, but sometimes He does. His timing is perfect!

Abraham and Sara waited their whole lives to have children. Hebrews 11:12 calls Abraham “as good as dead.” What a great description! Zacharaias and Elizabeth were the same way, waiting their whole lives to have a son (I know God had not promised them this but it was the desire of both of them).

Sometimes we must wait to receive what we want, or what God has promised us. What a wonderful blessing, to be able to consider ourselves worthy of God’s timing! Not to mention we are in some great company.

I understand that it is hard sometimes, but we cannot allow the difficulty to lead us astray. Can it be said of us that we have been “righteous and devout” as we wait for God’s promises?

Believe me, it will be worth the wait!

What other examples do we find in Scripture of people waiting for God’s promises? Was it worth their wait?

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