We live in a society that craves speed. We want overnight delivery, high speed Internet access, short lines in stores, and fast food. Well, maybe we should scratch the fast food. Most of us would trade speedy service for healthier and higher quality food. But, in general, waiting doesn’t rank high on our list of favorite activities; and patience is a virtue we appreciate in other people.
Simeon, on the other hand, waited for years just to spend a few minutes with Jesus.
25 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Luke 2:25-35 (NIV)
Simeon had probably been “waiting for the consolation of Israel” for many years, perhaps most of his life. As we saw a few days ago, “the consolation of Israel” refers to the comfort God had promised to bring to His people through the Messiah. God had told Simeon that he would not die before he saw the Messiah, and Simeon believed God. He trusted that God would fulfill His promises to His people in general, and to Simeon himself specifically.
When God finally fulfilled His promise, Simeon praised God, blessed Jesus’ parents, and gave a short prophecy to Mary. That’s it! Simeon could depart this world in peace, knowing that his wait had been worthwhile.
Simeon’s willingness to wait was rooted in his faith in God. He waited for God because he trusted Him. God is willing and able to deliver whatever He promises, so we can trust Him; and the more we trust Him, the more easily we can wait for Him.
Reflection and Discussion
- Do you ever have difficulty waiting for God?
- Do you see any connection between your patience and your faith in God?
You keep Your promises. You kept Your promise to Simeon, and we know You will keep Your promises to us. But even though we believe You are true to Your word, we sometimes grow impatient. Please forgive us, and please strengthen our faith in You. By Your grace may we be so sure of Your faithfulness that we will have no difficulty waiting for as long as You ask us to wait.