(Luke 2: 25-29) 25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.”
Patience is hard to come by these days. Everyone is in a hurry, and we are all spoiled by our fast food culture. We are so used to instant gratification that any amount of waiting seems to bring out the very worst in many of us. I remember when Taco Bell installed little timers outside of their drive-through windows so you could see how fast they could get your order thrown into a bag, out the window, and subsequently in your face. People would get angry after just one minute passed without getting their food… Really? Yes, really. That’s the way of the world. We think we know what we want…and we want it NOW! Essentially, we are all kind of bratty. When someone makes us a promise, we latch onto it with a death grip and we don’t let up until it is fulfilled. We nag, complain, guilt and whine about it until it morphs from a blessing into an assumption or even a demand . No longer are we grateful and willing to wait. We equalize waiting with insult and inconvenience, and as a result we get downright moody when we have to do it. The outcome? Rash decisions, road rage, fights, cheating, lying, stealing, taking matters into our own hands…need I go on? It’s all rooted in impatience, and a lack of patience indicates a lack of trust. If we can’t wait for something, our motives are selfish, and we don’t trust the process. When we say to God, “I will wait, and pursue You all the while,” we are showing Him that we trust Him…and His process.
You know the old adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Well…it does. Waiting doesn’t have to be all sadness, misery, and solemn expectancy. Waiting can be fun. When I was a little girl, my parents would take all five of us kids school shopping at one time. They had it down to a system. Just outside of the mall entrance to Belk (or maybe it was JC Penney…I digress…this was thirty years ago) there was a great, big fountain and a Peanut Shack. Dad would entertain us kids, while Mother would take us in the store, one at a time, to shop for our clothes and shoes. Pretty smart, if you ask me! Dad would let us get a small bag of nuts or candy to snack on, and he always seemed to have enough pennies in his pockets and games in his mind to keep us occupied. Waiting with Dad was fun. Before we knew it, we were done and headed back home with very little drama and/or tears involved in the process. It took some smart thinking, team work, patience, and love, but the waiting was endured with grace.
Well…life is much the same. You may have to wait your entire life for a promise, or it could happen tomorrow. Either way, we must remain righteous and devout, as Simeon did. He hung onto the promise of the Messiah…eagerly anticipating, yet his righteousness remained intact. He was patient…for a LONG time…and in the last season of his life, the Lord led him to a temple where he was able to witness the fulfillment of that promise…and further still…he was able to hold that promise, the baby Jesus, in his arms! What a reward for a life spent waiting…gracefully…patiently…and trusting the process fully.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to trust You enough to be patient with Your plan. In a world of hasty, grumpy people, I want to be set apart…smiling while I wait. Amen.