Waiting Patiently (13-01-21)
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.
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." (Luke 2:25, 27-32)
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors." (Luke 1:46-48, 54-55)
Waiting can be both a time of excitement and a time of anxiety. It can require both faith and patience. The emotions that accompany the wait for a holiday differ from those that accompany the wait for exam results, a hospital appointment or the birth of a child. Sometime the waiting time is relatively short, at other times it is longer or even unknown.
The birth of Jesus followed a time of waiting, as reflected by the words of three people. Simeon and Anna had each waited many years to see the child they believed to be the fulfilment of the promises made to Isaiah around 700 years previously. Mary, who on the one hand had only waited a relatively short nine months for the fulfilment of the promise, relates the birth of Jesus back to a promise given by God to Abraham around 2,000 years earlier.
God had made promises to his people throughout history and God had neither forgotten his promises nor his people. God is faithful to his word, even if his timescale might be different to ours.
Is there something you have been waiting for, something you have been hoping or trusting that God will bring about? Don’t give up, God is faithful, and he has not forgotten you, however long you seem to be waiting.
As a nation we wait for the rollout of a vaccination programme. For all of us this represents liberation from the scourge and restrictions of a virus, but individually it might mean different things. For some it means spending time again with children and grandchildren, for others it means meals out, or trips to the theatre, parties or foreign holidays. In the meantime, let us wait patiently, trust God, and look forward to the promises being fulfilled.
Father God, to whom a day is as a thousand years, give me the patience and the faith to trust you for the things I long for but cannot see. And when they appear, give me a heart that rejoices in your blessings and in your faithfulness.
Lord, I come before your throne of grace