When was your last waiting-room experience? Mine was a couple weeks ago at the doctor’s office. The space was bright, warm, and comfortable. After checking in, one could read from the stack of magazines, catch a show on the flatscreen, scroll through socials, or just stare out the window to pass the time. But the waiting was compulsory. No one in the room got around it, and the delay was almost certainly longer than any of us would have liked. There’s something in us that wants life to happen according to schedule—our schedule. Often, our waiting is linked to an appointment that we’ve made. We’ve agreed to see so-and-so for such-and-such at an agreed-upon time. But if that time passes, we wait, and the longer the wait, the more agitated we become.
What if you knew you had an appointment of sorts with the most powerful person in the universe, but it wasn’t set on a calendar? What if you were told that you would have an audience with the King of Kings but given no date or time—told only that it would be sometime before you die? That’s what happened to Simeon.
“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” (Luke 2:25–26).
How’s that for a waiting-room experience? Imagine waking up every day wondering, Will it be today? No doubt the promise revealed by the Holy Spirit was memorable and compelling. But surely there were moments when Simeon felt the weight of waiting for the one and only, the singular source of salvation for humanity. How did he persevere through the agitation that comes with knowing the end of the story but having to live with the uncertainty of the in-between? I can only conclude that Simeon’s devotion was rooted in the person with the plan, more than the plan itself. Perhaps he didn’t presume to have an opinion on the timetable or particulars— maybe he was able to treat them as the domain of divine sovereignty. Simeon was joyfully content to see it all unfold before his eyes, confident that the one who promised would do just as he said, at the perfect time, and for the good of all who “have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
What a gift it is in this season to see the arrival of God’s salvation through Simeon’s eyes. I want to wait well, as he did, full of assurance that the King will return just as he promised. He keeps his appointments. And on that day, we will depart in peace, joining a great cloud of witnesses, face-to-face with our salvation (Rev. 22:1–5).
Monty Waldron is married with four children and started Fellowship Bible Church in 2000.
This article is part of The Eternal King Arrives, a 4-week devotional to help individuals, small groups, and families journey through the 2023 Advent season . Learn more about this special issue that can be used Advent, or any time of year at http://orderct.com/advent.
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