From Proverbs 23:18.
There are times when we’ve been waiting on God a long time but have not seen the manifestation of our hope. This proverb is reassurance that indeed there is a reward for waiting, and what we earnestly desire will materialize. God rarely does things on our timetable but if He promised, He will bring it to pass. This takes me to a story of a certain man in Israel who knew what it meant to wait.
During the reign of Caesar Augustus over Israel, there was a temple priest who lived in Jerusalem called Simeon. Like most people of his nation, he was oppressed by the Roman occupation. The Romans ruled over and mistreated Israelites. They paid tax (to Rome) in their own homeland. They did not have a sense of national identity and soldiers often extorted money from them. It is one thing to be oppressed in a foreign land; it is another when it is your own country.
So Simeon did what most of his countrymen did. In his younger years, he prayed to God to deliver his nation from the occupation. Several years passed however and nothing happened.
The priest did not lose heart, he kept believing. Still more years passed and he started to grow old. Nevertheless he held on to his faith. It is around this time that he got a visitation from God. With this visitation came a promise that he would see the Salvation of Israel (who was the Messiah) before the end of his life. The man was naturally delighted and continued to wait. However he still grew much older and stared to wonder if he would ever witness the fulfillment of God’s promise. All that changed however on one ordinary day.
Joseph and his wife Mary brought their baby to Simeon for purification according to the custom of the law. And immediately he saw the Child, God revealed to him that the long-awaited petition had been granted. The Messiah was before him! He 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” (Luke 2:29-32).
It had taken time, the wait had been long, there were seasons of doubt but as He always does, God fulfilled His promise. It is worth a mention that although Simeon probably expected an earthly king in the mold of Solomon, he got much better. The King of kings and Lord of lords whose kingdom is eternal. He expected one who would save Israel but he got the Savior of the world.
It is easy to get discouraged when you wait so long. And although God seldom does things in the way or time we expect, He always keeps His promises. Think of how many have given up waiting when the answer to their prayer was just about to happen! Imagine Simeon had gotten angry with God and stayed away from the temple that day. He would have missed the answer to his prayer. Let us have patience and believe God because He is faithful.