The Season of Waiting. Longing. Yearning
Waiting. Longing. Yearning. Seeking.
Christmas. The story of waiting coming to a close. The Messiah promised. People waiting. People longing. The Messiah has come. Emmanuel God with us. The birth of the Christ brings the waiting to an end. Jesus the Christ is born. The Messiah has come. The waiting is over.
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.”
So Simeon waited. Simeon waited because he was promised that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah. Simeon waited. Simeon believed in the promise that was given to him and therefore he waited. As I have read and reread this passage of scripture, I wondered. How difficult was this wait for Simeon? How long had he held on to this promise? How did he handle the wait? Did he run to the temple every day? Did he camp out at the temple for days and nights? Did he ever get discouraged? Did he ever wonder if this promise was really a promise or just something he thought up and where he put his hope?
Have you ever waited for something that you have been promised? I think of a child that is promised by his father that the father is going to take the son fishing. So with high hopes the son waits and waits but the father never shows up. As the son thinks about his dad’s broken promise his heart is broken. Have you ever had your heart broken over a broken promise?
I wonder if Simeon had ever experienced a broken promise. Because I don’t know how long Simeon waited or lived out this waiting, I am both appreciative of this story and a little bit skeptical about his waiting. Here’s the thing. I am actually relating my own experience to Simeon waiting and trusting God’s promise and putting this story, this historical story through my broken grid. My broken grid of broken promises, broken dreams, broken desires. I often feel as if I’m in the Charlie Brown cartoon and I’m Charlie Brown and Lucy is saying come on Charlie kick the football and as Charlie runs up to kick the ball, Lucy pulls the ball away. I wonder is my faith to small? Or have I been so tainted by my human failings and others that I have a hard time waiting on God’s promise for my life. Am I the only one here that feels like this?
These past few months, actually this past year has been a long, long time of waiting. Waiting on the Lord to speak. Waiting on the Lord for direction, for the where of my life. Waiting on the Lord to actually show me the way. I often wonder is it me? Is my grid so tainted that I am having a hard time believing in God’s promise for my life? What is His promise for my life? What is His promise?
Through this lonely, dark, season in my life this I do believe is His promise for my life and yours. Not a bed of roses. Not a pile of money. Not a perfect life. Not having it all together. Not perfection. Not easy street, but this: “That I will never leave you or forsake you.” Through the imperfect. Through the darkness. Through the broken promises. Through the mess that I made. Through the mess others have made. Through the honest mistakes and the not so honest mistakes. Even with my sin. Even with my small faith—“I will never leave you or forsake you.” And that statement is what I hold to. A promise. A promise to be there. To be there daily. A promise to never give up on me or you. A promise not conditional on me or you. “I will never leave you or forsake you” Never.