Simeon held the key to my needed paradigm shift. Who’d have guessed?
This year has been especially tense between the Lord and me. His answer to my prayers of almost a couple of decades seemed so minimal, so like He’d given me the dregs of His abundant riches.
I was deeply offended that His response was so underwhelming, considering the need at hand.
Somehow, some way, I knew that the lack was on my part. That I was missing something.
For the last month or so, while I was crying out to Him, telling Him how much I missed Him, I was unwilling to sit with Him…to hear His heart.
Somewhere in His response was a sharp rebuke for me. Of this I was certain.
And I didn’t want to hear it, so
I’ve been hiding.
I love His tender patience with me, though. His willingness to pursue me when I’m hurt and confused by what He is (or seems to not be) doing.
This was a serious matter, this breach in our relationship, and He was not content to let it go. Love found a way to get through to me. This morning, He used Amy Bailey’s sermon at The Stirring today to reach me.
The lack was on my part – but not in a “shame on me” kind of way. It was a misunderstanding of the simplest truth of all.
Sometimes “yes” wears a diaper.
I didn’t want an “infant” answer. I wanted one fully grown, sporting a beard, and ready to roll.
His “yes,” however, came as a baby. Such a tiny thing that I nearly missed it.
This is not unlike Simeon of old. We find him in Luke 2:25-35.
He was waiting for the Consolation of Israel. It would seem, from the text that he was an elderly man, for it was revealed to him that he would not die before He’d seen the Lord’s Christ.
Although Israel needed a mature answer to their problems, Simeon had eyes to see that their Answer was here before him…and in a diaper!
Undaunted and un-offended that God would say “yes” in such a way that it seemed foolish to believe, Simeon blessed the Child, and glorified God for His faithful fulfillment of promises spoken long ago.
While Simeon would not live to see the fulfillment of these promises, he believed they would happen, nonetheless.
Scriptural hope is not like wishing: “I hope this or that will happen.”
Hope, as the Bible defines it, is the confident expectation we are to carry that God will do what He said.
It is based on the One who never changes (James 1:17). His purposes never shift, never waver, and never change.
From Simeon I learned:
1. It is important to listen to God. As Simeon went about His day, the Spirit told him that the answer would arrive in the temple that day. He was alert.
2. He embraced Jesus. The answer to his prayer came in the form of an infant. Nevertheless, he wrapped his arms around the Answer.
3. He carried hope – confident expectation – in the fulfillment of God’s promise. He knew it would come in his lifetime. I doubt that a baby dedication was exactly what he expected, but he was okay with that!
4. Even though a baby wasn’t what Simeon had in mind, he recognized this Child as the promise and glorified God for His response to Simeon’s prayers.
(Although this is going long, I want to finish this thought in one post. Don’t miss the next part!)
Sometimes the answer to our greatest need comes in the tiniest way – seemingly inadequate to that which has ensnared us.
In time, however, the “infant” answer will mature – and will be more than adequate…by far surpass…our small expectations.
In Time…that is the key.
This is where my relationship with the Lord got “stuck” this year.
When He answered my prayer, I expected a “full-grown” one. Instead I received a helpless “infant.”
It came with diapers, and will need to be nurtured and tended until it reaches maturity.
That will take time and participation.
The difference between my expectation of what the answer would look like and the one I actually received is the extent to which I have been offended with God – and why I stiff-armed Him for so long.
Who, after all, hangs their hope on a baby?
I didn’t understand that sometimes the answer is the “man-sized” yes, while at other times, I will have a part to play in the maturation process required for the thing to come to pass. Mary had to change diapers and feed the little Guy.
I will need to grow before I am capable of receiving the fulfillment of His promise, too.
Growth will be needed…and that will take time.
Oh Lord, that I would cease to cast aside Your answers to my prayers simply because they are delivered in their infancy…instead of holding out only for the “grown up” responses I expect.
Give me eyes to see – and just enough foresight to comprehend the vast and glorious “yes” that it will become…in Your time.
I’m sorry for the many times I’ve rejected Your “yes” because it didn’t come full-grown, and fully operational. I see now that this is for my benefit, that I may grow up along with the promise and be able to receive the full blessing You intend for my good.
Thank You for comprehending my distance…the why behind the what of my hiding, and relentlessly pursuing me until I will draw near to You once again.
You amaze me!