My name is Simeon, and I have been refined through the furnace of forbearance. I had a promise stored away in the confines of my heart for many years. A confidence; an assurance; a hope; a revelation. All of this from the very Spirit of Yahweh. You see, I had the great promise of looking incarnate salvation straight in the face. Israel’s consolation. The Messiah. The Lord had promised that I would not see death until this promise had been fulfilled before my eyes. And, oh, how it’s fulfillment was so sweet.
Yet, between the birth of the promise and its consummation, there were great days of angst. You know the feeling, don’t you? The promise is received. The fire of faith is white-hot in your soul. Then a week goes by, and then a month, and a year; your hair starts to grey. Your skin starts to wrinkle. Your bones begin to ache. And things grow dark. Do you know what I mean, friend? Do you know this feeling? Do you know the feeling of a promise received from our great God, but then the tides of time beat on your shore, grating away at the foundation of your hope? I knew this feeling.
You see, friend, rarely do we hear of the between days. Those twenty-four hour cycles of waiting. When all one can do is cling to what one knows is true about the promise-making God while his promise remains unfulfilled. This is my story.
How did I wait on this promise-making, delaying God? By constant reminder. How David’s songs soothed my soul! It seemed as though David’s song voiced the words that were in my heart that I could not speak. I can’t begin to number the times that I reminded myself of this great confidence he had: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14) This was my song. Because it seemed that all I had was a promise. And yet, I believed that I would see that promise. My stumbling, weak hope was set steadfast on the sovereign God of Israel.
And so, in the weary days when the promise had no vigor, I reminded myself. In the temple, in the Spirit, my faith was refined through hope deferred. Do you know this, friend? Have you felt the tender hand of our Father who is never slack on his promises, but also never premature on his delivery? This is our great God. The one who gave our people 430 years of silence until the cries of John in the wilderness. All of this according to plan; all of this by great orchestration. No promise unfulfilled; and no child of his unpurified by patience.
But, friend, when I held the promise in my arms for the first time – when my heart sighed in great relief while holding the Messiah of the nations – I knew that I could die. For I had looked upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I had tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Yet, I did not just see and taste his goodness in the moment the was promise fulfilled. I had seen it in the waiting. The Spirit of God was upon me, giving me faith in his promises during the weary days of lost hope. When my faith was gone, I knew that my God held my right hand and was the one who helped me (Isaiah 41:13). I have seen Israel’s hope with my own two eyes. And I have seen Israel’s hope with my heart, as well.
So, friend, take advice from an old man who will soon die. Wait on the Lord. He is never slack, yet never premature in his fulfillment of his promises. Yet, be sure of this, he will keep the promise he has made. For his promises are always “Yes” and “Amen” in that child that I held in my arms. If you ever doubt God’s promise to you that he has made in his word, think of me. Think of my days of waiting. Even more, think of that child. The Messiah. Who grew, and lived the life of obedience that I could never live (no matter how hard I tried!), and then died for all my moments of weak, silly unbelief. And his resurrection speaks to you and I. It is the great, “Yes!” to the promise. Believe, believe, believe! You shall see salvation, perhaps at a distance for now. But soon, face to face.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen you 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” -Luke 2:29-32