"Simeon . . . was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was on him. . Anna, a prophetess . . spoke of him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem" – (Luke 2:25, 36, 38.)
Here we have the mark of a waiting believer. "Just," righteous in all his conduct; "devout," devoted to God, ever walking as in His presence; "waiting for the consolation of Israel," looking for the fulfillment of God's promises: "and the Holy Ghost was on him." In the devout waiting, he had been prepared for the blessing. And Simeon was not the only one. Anna spoke to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. This was the one mark, amid surrounding formalism and worldliness, of a godly band of men and women in Jerusalem. They were waiting on God, looking for His promised redemption. And now that the consolation of Israel has come, and the redemption has been accomplished, do we still need to wait? We do indeed. But, will not our waiting, who look back to it as come, differ greatly from those who looked forward to it as coming? It will, especially in two aspects. We now wait on God in the full power of the redemption, and we wait for its full revelation. Our waiting is now in the full power of the redemption. Christ said, "In that day you will know that you are in Me. Abide in Me." The Epistles teach us to present ourselves to God as "dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ" (Rom. 6:11), "blessed... with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). Our waiting on God may now be in the wonderful consciousness maintained by the Holy Spirit within us, that we are accepted in the Beloved, that the love that rests on Him rests on us, that we are living in that love, in the very nearness and presence and sight of God.
The old saints took their stand on the Word of God, and waiting, hoping on that Word, we rest on the Word, too - but, oh, under what exceedingly greater privileges, as one with Christ Jesus! In our waiting on God, let this be our confidence: in Christ we have access to the Father. How sure, therefore, we may be that our waiting cannot be in vain.
Our waiting differs, too, in this, that while they waited for redemption to come, we see it accomplished and now wait for its revelation in us. Christ not only said, "Abide in me" (John 15:4), but also "I in you" (v. 4). The Epistles not only speak of us in Christ, but of Christ in us, as the highest mystery of redeeming love. As we maintain our place in Christ day by day, God waits to reveal Christ in us in such a way that He is formed in us, that His mind and disposition and likeness acquire form and substance in us, so that by each it can in truth be said, "Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
My life in Christ up there in heaven and Christ's life in me down here on earth - these two are the complement of each other. And, the more my waiting on God is marked by the living faith, I in Christ, the more the heart thirsts for and claims the Christ in me. The waiting on God, which began with special needs and prayer, will increasingly be concentrated, as far as our personal life is concerned, on this one thing: Lord, reveal your redemption fully in me; let Christ live in me.
Our waiting differs from that of the old saints in the place we take, and the expectations we entertain. But, at root it is the same: waiting on God, from whom alone is our expectation.
Learn one lesson from Simeon and Anna. How utterly impossible it was for them to do anything toward the great redemption - toward the birth of Christ or His death. It was God's work. They could do nothing but wait. Are we as absolutely helpless in regard to the revelation of Christ in us? We are indeed. God did not work out the great redemption in Christ as a whole and leave its application in detail to us. The secret thought that it is so is the root of all our feebleness. The revelation of Christ in every individual believer, and in each one the daily revelation, step by step and moment by moment, is as much the work of God's omnipotence as the birth or resurrection of Christ. Until this truth enters and fills us, and we feel that we are just as dependent on God for each moment of our life in the enjoyment of redemption as they were in their waiting for it, our waiting on God will not bring its full blessing. The sense of utter and absolute helplessness, the confidence that God can and will do all, are the marks of our waiting as of theirs. As gloriously as God proved Himself to them the faithful and wonder-working God, He will to us, too.
“My soul, wait only on God!”