Waiting Forwardly: A Day to Anticipate
by Max Lucado
“Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him”
(Luke 2:25 TKB, emphasis mine).
Let’s take a look at Simeon, the man who knew how to wait for the arrival of Christ. The way he waited for the first coming is a model for how we should wait for the Second Coming.
“The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen him—God’s anointed King” (v. 26 TLB).
You’ve got to wonder what a message like that would do to a person. What does it do to you if you know you will someday see God? We know what it did to Simeon.
He was “constantly expecting the Messiah” (v. 25 TLB).
He was “living in expectation of the salvation of Israel” (v. 25 PHILLIPS).
He “watched and waited for the restoration of Israel” (v. 25 NEB).
Simeon is a man on tiptoe, wide-eyed and watching for the one who will come to save Israel. Studying each passing face. Staring into the eyes of strangers. He’s looking for someone. He was waitingforwardly. Patiently vigilant. Calmly expectant. Eyes open. Arms extended. Searching the crowd for the right face, and hoping the face appears today.
Such was the lifestyle of Simeon, and such can be ours. Haven’t we, like Simeon, been told of the coming Christ? Aren’t we, like Simeon, heirs of a promise? Are we not prompted by the same Spirit? Are we not longing to see the same face?
First, we must wait. Paul says “we are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently” (Rom. 8:25). Simeon is our model. He was not so consumed with the “not yet” that he ignored the “right now.” Luke says Simeon was a “good man and godly” (2:25). Peter urges us to follow suit. Hope of the future is not a license for irresponsibility in the present. Let us wait forwardly, but let us wait.
But for most of us, waiting is not our problem. Or, maybe I should state, waiting is our problem. We are so good at waiting that we don’t wait forwardly. We forget to look. We are so patient that we become complacent. We are too content. We seldom search the skies. We rarely run to the temple. We seldom, if ever, allow the Holy Spirit to interrupt our plans and lead us to worship so that we might see Jesus.
It is to those of us who are strong in waiting and weak in watching that our Lord was speaking when he said, “No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. . . . So always be ready, because you don’t know the day your Lord will come. . . . The Son of Man will come at a time you don’t expect him” (Matt. 24:36, 42, 44).
Simeon reminds us to “wait forwardly.” Patiently vigilant. But not so patient that we lose our vigilance. Nor so vigilant that we lose our patience.
In the end, the prayer of Simeon was answered. “Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God; ‘Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant, die in peace, as you said'” (Luke 2:28-29).
One look into the face of Jesus, and Simeon knew it was time to go home. And one look into the face of our Savior, and we will know the same.
When Christ Comes: The Beginning of the Very Best
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado