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The Art Of Waiting

Luke 2:25-32

25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,    as you have promised.30 I have seen your salvation,31  which you have prepared for all people.32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

John 5:1-8

5 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda,[a] with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.[b] 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

It’s Christmas time, therefore I have immersed myself in Christmas time scripture. How could you not? Christmas is a special time of reflection of our savior's birth and we should enjoy celebrating Emmanuel, God with us, during this season. Though also, as I read through the life journal scriptures for the week, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to examine a unique contrast in the gospels. Simeon in Luke 2, and the unnamed paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5. Though these scriptures depict unrelated events, the men involved contrast two different approaches to waiting upon the Lord to fulfill the desires of their hearts. The man at the pool of Bethesda is found waiting on divine healing to intervene in his life. Simeon waited upon the coming of the messiah and a fulfillment of a promise from God to lay eyes upon Jesus before his own death. These two men, both waiting for their day of breakthrough, display how waiting on the Lord can either lead us closer to Jesus or closer to ourselves and thus eventually to be consumed by our own brokenness. Both of these men spent a lifetime in their season of waiting, but only one of them prospered in their waiting season. 

Let's start with Simeon. Simeon was expectant of the promise of God being fulfilled for His life. He was eager and actively searching for an encounter with God with each day that passed during his waiting. While one would think that this sort of eagerness and searching would produce exhaustion and disappointment in Simeon’s life, it actually had the opposite effect. Actively searching for Jesus when He was not able to be found prepared Simeon to recognize Him when He finally appeared. Simeon's eagerness in his waiting period actually made Him more aware and prepared for when Jesus finally did appear. He did not allow His heart to grow weary during the days of not receiving his promise. He stayed expectant and full of hope that each day could be the day of breakthrough. In essence Simeon's waiting period drew him closer to God and made him more sensitive to his need for Jesus’s presence in his life. For this Simeon is recorded in the Gospel Luke as a prophet and mighty man of faith. Because Simeon guarded his heart from growing weary in the season of waiting, he was rewarded, and edified through the waiting season. 

On the other hand, the man at the pool of Bethesda had a different waiting experience. His waiting caused him to grow weak, tired and disappointed. During this season of waiting on healing, this man’s heart fell into the sickness of hopelessness. This caused the man to grow dangerously comfortable with his disease, and produced in him a victim mentality in the way he viewed himself within the world around him. It became so bad that he was numbed to the fact that the healing he needed and was waiting upon was standing before him, in the man, Jesus. When we lose hope in the idea that God could show up and change everything in an instant, we become unable to recognize when His presence does show up. Hopelessness causes us to question God when He does intervene and teaches us to blame everyone else but ourselves for our lack of faith in God’s ability. This man’s condition can certainly be attributed to the fact that he was searching for healing in the wrong place. Though at this point Jesus’s reputation as a healer was well known in the region, still the man had no idea who he was speaking to when Jesus came to confront him. By not guarding his heart in the waiting season, the man at the pool of Bethesda was led into making his brokenness his identity. Jesus’s only remedy to the condition of this man's heart was to command him to take responsibility for the condition of his heart. “Pick up your belongings and walk yourself out of this condition”. As the man submits to God's word, grace empowers him to walk into freedom. As much as this is a miracle of Jesus healing a lame man's legs, this is also Jesus healing a broken man's heart of disappointment and despair. Jesus is reversing the effects of the man’s poor stewardship of the waiting season. 

All of us have areas and situations in our lives where we are waiting on the Lord to breakthrough with His promises and power. How we steward hope within our hearts during seasons of waiting shapes the way we are able to receive God when His presence and power becomes available in our lives. If we have cultivated hope and eager expectation in the waiting then we will become sensitive and ready at the time of His appearance. If we allow disappointment and hopelessness to overwhelm us then eventually we will allow our brokenness to blind us from his love. We have to remind ourselves every day that when we find ourselves still waiting, we also must teach our hearts to trust and expect His promises. As we do this, we will inevitably prepare ourselves for the day and time that He appears. 


Pastor John.

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