Luke 2:25-35 (NIV)
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. 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.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
God makes a promise to Simeon, so he appears in the temple to behold Christ’s manifestation. Luke tells us that Simeon is a devout and religious man, living with the promise from God that he would not see death until his eyes were cast upon the Messiah Himself.
While God’s promise is awesome to receive, it is frustrating to endure. There is a reason that Aristotle said patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. The time a promise is first articulated to you and the time it comes to fruition could be a mighty long time as we can see was the case for Simeon. But no matter how long Simeon had to wait, he knew that God hadn’t forgotten.
It’s hard to wait for our dreams and exercise patience in this instant, everything world. It’s hard enough waiting for a website to load or our lunch to finish heating up in the microwave. We want instant spirituality. Instant faith maturation. Instant spiritual manifestation.
Maybe you aren’t passively waiting, either—maybe you’re praying, attending church, forgiving your enemies, waking up and giving God praise. God owes you, right? But still, He is making you wait. The text shows us that God is powerful enough to do some things immediately, so why hasn’t He given you what you want? Evidence shows us He can. We see it when our neighbors have their desires fulfilled. We see it when our friends receive all that they asked from God—even when we asked the same of God at the same time and we’re still waiting.
If God makes you wait, you have to offer patience and endurance, knowing that He hasn’t forgotten. You might struggle not to shout when you see Him fulfilling your same desire in another person. Instead, you need to shout because He is working it out. He is lining everything up, just as He lined everything up for Jesus’ arrival. Don’t deny your feelings of anger, frustration, nervousness, and jealously. God knows you’re struggling. Open up to Him. Go to church anyway. Pray anyway. Be kind anyway. Be patient anyway. Keep believing God and keep making an effort.
You might think you can wait a little longer if God would just tell you why you’re waiting. Let me ask you this: did God tell Simeon why he was waiting? No, He didn’t. When patience can’t feed on confirmation, it has to rest on God’s providence.
We don’t know why God makes us wait, but patience is an offering we give God as an expression of gratitude. Simeon remained faithful while anticipating the coming Messiah. He felt blessed to be trusted with a vision and a promise that required patience. We would all do well to do the same.
Sometimes the waiting ends up being more important than the outcome. Sometimes we grow more by the waiting than we do by the receiving. Perhaps waiting is the gift He gives you.