‘Are we there yet?’ Waiting with expectancy when the road is unclear
December 2020
By Jenny Baker in Canada — 2020 has been a different sort of year. Nothing went according to plan and we still wait for life to return to any sort of predictability or normalcy. I feel as if I am on a long road trip and keep asking, “Are we there yet?” I don’t want to wait any longer!

I wouldn’t mind waiting if I were better at it, but I am horribly impatient. It’s not something I’m proud of. Based on past (and present!) experiences, I realize that I have always been discontented with waiting, so I’ve usually come up with plans to get my way accomplished faster. 
Waiting seems inefficient and most of us fight against the fact that we have little control while we wait. And yet, in life, we often wait—sometimes for a very long time, and sometimes with very precious things at stake, such as health, relationships, ministry or provision. During all this waiting, what are we supposed to do? 
As I have given thought to my impatience in waiting, God has drawn my mind to the account of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. The Jewish people had been waiting hundreds of years for the Messiah to come. There are 400 years between the accounts recorded in the Old Testament and the New Testament, where this account takes place just after the birth of Christ. 

Simeon had not only been waiting his entire life, but his parents', his grandparents', his great-grandparents’—well, you get the picture! I love that Simeon had been given the promise by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. What a promise—such hope! And yet, he was not told when that would happen. He wasn’t given a date so he could count down the days, months, years—only that it would happen before he died. I wonder if he had days where he wondered if he would simply live forever?

So what did Simeon do in his days of waiting? The Scripture doesn’t tell us a lot about Simeon, but we do know that he was just and virtuous. He sought to be like God and he was devoted to him. The Message describes Simeon as “a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel.” We also see that he was attentive in listening to the Holy Spirit—both to receive the promise and to go to the temple courts when the Spirit moved. Simeon was listening for God’s voice, and he was willing to obey when it was time to take action. 
The Holy Spirit was undeniably at work within Simeon, speaking clearly and leading specifically.  Simeon recognized this divine voice who revealed things that no man could know apart from God. When he saw Baby Jesus, he praised God and blessed the whole family. This blessing was profound and eloquent, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Simeon did not just express thanks that his time of waiting was over. He pointed all those in hearing distance to Christ and the salvation he would bring for the peoples of the world. The waiting that Simeon endured was not a bump in the road. It was the time he spent studying God and listening for his voice, so at the appointed time, he could actively obey and share the good news of the Messiah’s arrival.
At that very moment of Simeon’s declaration, a prophetess named Anna approached Jesus. Anna, like Simeon, was dedicated to God and his message. She was at least 84 years old, and had been a widow for decades. In her waiting, we are told that she never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. What a godly way to live! That day, she was able to meet her Saviour and she thanked God. This thankfulness did not come out of this one-time event. This came from years of worship, spending time with God. I can’t imagine the joy she felt! Like Simeon, she told all those who were looking for redemption about the arrival of the Messiah. 
Simeon and Anna were faithful in looking and listening for God’s movement while they waited for the Messiah to come. They trusted that God’s way and timing were better than their own. I believe we are to do the same as we wait.
As we enter 2021, let’s be listening and watching for God with prayerful expectancy—passionately longing to know who God is and what he has for us to do. While we wait for “normalcy” to return, may our tightly gripped plans be replaced with open hands, and our impatient hearts filled with worship. May we be found to be waiting well, in his presence, and about his work.

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Jenny Baker
Jenny lives with her husband and two children in Northern Canada. She serves as North American Regional Representative on SEND’s Women's Ministry Team.