"They also serve who only stand and wait" John Milton
Listening, is intimately linked to waiting, but waiting is not exactly my favorite activity. Today’s quote about waiting comes from one of my favorite poems. I don’t know about you, but I love to read about waiting far more than to I like to experience it. Milton wrote this poem, Sonnet 19 (On His Blindness) because as his vision failed, so also did his hopes, ambitions and opportunities in life (or so he thought.) Though the poem does have a nice ring to it, what in the world does it mean? What kind of service would it be if our waiter at the restaurant, just waited. I want my food, my refill and my check in a reasonable amount of time. I am not all in on the guy or gal who is simply hanging out, leaning against the wall or hiding in the breakroom! But then I recalled a man in the Bible whose entire life’s ministry was to wait. His name was Simeon.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Luke 2:25-26 ESV
Imagine an entire lifetime of waiting. Simeon grows up and watches other young men starting their careers, launching out into successful businesses or leading large congregations. His friends may stop by for tea and as they sit and visit, they ask him, “So, Simeon, what are your plans for this year? When are you going to get started on something new?”
But Simeon’s answer was always the same. “I am waiting for God’s Messiah and His consolation for us as His people.”
“But can’t you do something else in the meantime? Isn’t there anything you want to do or places you would like to visit?” But Simeon simply nodded his head and quietly trusted God while he said his prayers at the temple – week after week, month after month and year after year. Decades passed and yet Simeon’s hope did not grow dim and God told him to hang in there, because one day it would come to pass as sure the sun comes up in the morning. Simeon’s life reminds me of the proverb, –Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
Are you waiting like Simeon? Are there dreams and hopes that God has planted in your heart that seem as far away as the other side of the moon? God has not forgotten you. If He has planted His promise in your heart, He knows what He is doing, and He will be faithful to make it grow in His own time. Just as God did for Simeon, the day will come when Jesus places in your arms all that He has promised you and then, just like Simeon, you will have a song and a joy that no one else could give you! And by the way, John Milton wrote his most famous work, “Paradise Lost” after he became completely blind by dictating it to others. John Milton, like Simeon, was standing and waiting, but He wasn’t just standing around!