Originally published Thursday, 02 July 2015.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:25-35
Simeon had been given a unique and special promise. Sometimes the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts to wait for a specific way God would reveal Himself, but I think most often we are called to allow the Lord to work freely without the constraints of our expectations. Simeon had to wait a long time to see the Lord’s promise, but ultimately we are all called to eagerly look for the Consolation of Israel; to lean in and watch expectantly to see how Jesus will show up.
In my prayer life I have often asked the Lord to show up in certain ways. “Lord heal this person of her disease,” “Rescue this marriage,” “Provide a really good job for so-and-so.” And for years when the prayers that were legitimate requests were left, seemingly unanswered, it deflated my faith. But looking back I’ve seen that sometimes He was right there in the midst of the situation, just differently than I had prayed, but no less there.
In the strained marriage, God might not have come in and radically changed the situation or the spouse that I had been praying for; but He’d given precious daily grace to the other spouse and used the trial to draw his/her heart to Him. Without the pain of their marriage struggle I’m not sure the one spouse would have felt the need to draw close to God. For the one whom I’d prayed healing over, the Lord used their pain or illness to slow their life and draw them into Him. The person who needed the job, the Lord provided daily bread for and the “free time” that their previous career had filled was spent seeking the Lord and reaching out to others. Jesus indeed showed up. He was worth waiting for. But He doesn’t always (or usually) come in the way we might have expected.
The Jews were looking for a conquering King, not a baby born in a stable. They were looking for leaders with pomp and circumstances, not the anointing God sent on a man in camel-hair clothes who lived on the outskirts of town heralding the coming Messiah. They sought the sign of riches (for surely that was God’s approval on a person) and missed the richness of joy, peace, hope, and love in Christ. They wanted to see power and signs, and they missed experiencing the resurrection power that Jesus would offer them through His sacrifice on the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Now, not all the people missed these things. Some had eyes to see and ears to hear. Their hearts waited rightly to see the Consolation of Israel. Like Simeon, we might be old and gray before we see our precious Lord’s presence amidst whatever/wherever we wait for Him, but He will be worth the wait. May God’s grace establish your faith in Him deeply so that you won’t miss it when He shows up - however and wherever He shows His hand.