How long is too long? Sometimes why does it take so long for God’s promises to come to fruition in our lives? When are we suppose to give up on His promise?
Well according to Simeon’s example – never.
At some point on Simeon’s timeline God interjected a promise to him. The promise, “Simeon would not die until he saw the Lord’s anointed.” The Bible does not say how old Simeon was when he received this promise. It just says the Holy Spirit had revealed to him this promise. Until that time the promise was given until the time Simeon actually held the promise, Simeon waited on God to act. But in his waiting, he didn’t just sit around twiddling his thumbs. Simeon wasn’t inactive while waiting on the promise. On the contrary, he spent his days being a righteous and devout man of God. This meant he searched through the scriptures. He read the prophecies of Isaiah, Micah, Daniel. He knew the laws of God written down for him in the Torah. He looked for the Messiah each day as it came and went. And because he did these things the Holy Spirit of God was upon Him.
I recently received a promise fulfilled. It seemed a lifetime between the time I received the promise to the time of its fulfillment. At times I lost hope. At times I became despaired. Many times I lost my grip on the promise. But see the fulfillment of God’s promises don’t depend on my grip. They depend on God’s faithfulness. Whatever He says it will happen. This is what Simeon knew, and it is what I sometimes loose grasp of.
Can you imagine Simeon’s joy and exultation as he actually held God’s promise in his arms. Holding Jesus that day in the Temple courts was a tangible affirmation to Simeon that God’s Word will never return to Him void.
Over 2000 years ago Jesus promised, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-4 NIV.
Those words were spoken to His closest friends, but they were recorded for us to transcend time. As these same friends watched Jesus rise into the sky after He had been resurrected, they were quite confident this promise would be fulfilled at sometime in their lifetime. That time has come and gone. As it has in each succeeding generation. So what are we to do with this promise? Give up on it?
Certainly not. As the Lord is teaching me. Hold onto the promise. Don’t sit and twiddle my thumbs as I wait for it to be fulfilled. I must be proactive in the fulfillment. Study scripture. Observe the signs of the times, and preach the gospel both in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
What can you do to hold onto the promises of God?