Have you ever felt like your life has been put on hold? You know, like when trying to talk to someone at the utility department; or getting an attorney to call you back AFTER you’ve paid them their retainer (no, I haven’t been charged with a crime or being sued!). Well, that was me yesterday. And I must be honest with you–I didn’t handle it very well. Unless, you consider getting impatient handling it well. And this morning, here is the Passage that The Spirit put me to mind:
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,Luke chapter 2, verses 25 thru 32; from the New Living Translation (NLT)
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!”
What? A verse from the Bible that’s all about Advent and Christmas? Preacherman, don’t you know it’s not the right season? Let’s take a quick detour before I get back to today’s reflective thoughts. Where is the rule that states you can’t read about The Incarnation except during Advent and Christmas? It must be some “unwritten” rule because I ain’t found it yet! Talk about how culture influences us the wrong way! Geez, Louise! OK, back to the main highway.
Being put on hold is annoying and frustrating. I don’t know what consultant told them that elevator music would calm the caller down–but they lied. But then there’s that voice: “All of our customer service representatives are busy handling other calls. Please remain on the line and the next available customer service representative will be with you.” Oy vey!!! And there are moments, times, and situations where it seems that life–even God, Himself–has put your life on hold.
Maybe it’s the impending divorce. Waiting to recover from surgery. The upcoming court date. And if you’re a Tribal Member of the United Methodist Institution, it’s the waiting to be set free. Yesterday it felt like I was on hold for hours–but it wasn’t. And that attorney? After 5 calls, she returned my call. But if you are waiting, then think about Simeon. God promised him that he would see The Messiah before he died. Simeon never wavered; at least as far as we know. He was steady and steadfast; being put on hold didn’t change his mind about God’s faithfulness. Let me say this again: The waiting did not change Simeon’s mind nor heart about the faithfulness of God!
Need more than one example? Abraham and Sarah were put on hold 40 years for the birth of Isaac. Rebekah was put on hold 25 years for the birth of Jacob and Esau. Joseph was put on hold 13 years. Moses was put on hold 40 years to lead the Hebrews out of slavery–as a sheepherder for his father-in-law. Caleb and Joshua was put on hold 40 years before entering The Promised Land–even though they believed and trusted God. David was put on hold 15 years to be crowned a king. And even after The Resurrection, the disciples were put on hold 50 days before the Holy Spirit arrived to live in them!
What I’m telling you, and what I had to tell myself again and again yesterday–life doesn’t put us on hold indefinitely, nor forever. God is faithful! Just don’t give up! And if you need a song to sing instead of listening to that God-awful elevator music, try this one on for size: