Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

December 27, 2020  

Pastor Joel Plisek

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:22-40


If anything, the year 2020 could be entitled the year of waiting. We waited to hear if we had a job. We waited to get our job back.  We waited to see how mom and dad, parents, grandparents, and children were doing.  We waited in line for food.  We waited to find out the state of our 401K. We waited to find out who the President was.  We waited to buy toilet paper.  We waited to burry our loved ones.  In many ways we are still waiting.

The old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait,” but I want to ask, when does that start? For those who are feeling this way I have a story for you.  It is about two people, Simeon and Anna, who are both examples of faithful waiting even though it took many years for joy to become a reality.   The coming of Christ involved all manners of waiting on God. A young maiden, a dying man and an old widow all model hearts yielded to God.

The tale of Simeon and Anna is a tale of grace. Anna’s name means “grace,” an early reminder by Luke that his gospel is a story of God’s free gift of self to us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna are recognized and graced by God. That is why the aged Simeon, over a long period of waiting and from the numerous children brought to the temple recognized God’s salvation in Christ.

Simeon and Anna waited for years for the coming of the Messiah. In Simeon’s case, the center of his joy was the privilege of being God’s servant, and in return, God let him see the salvation of the world as it dawned. Simeon saw the baby Jesus as the fulfillment of all the hopes and dreams of the Jewish people throughout the years. In the Old Testament, God promised Moses that a prophet would come who would be unlike any other prophet. God promised David a son who would reign forever. God told Isaiah that a son would be born of a virgin and he would be called Emmanuel-God with us. The Prophet Micah predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Anna was an eighty-year-old widow who stayed close to the temple and served God through fasting and praying. In return, God blessed her by allowing her to see the Savior of the world as a tiny, newborn baby. God fulfilled the promise he made to Simeon that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. When God fulfilled that promise, Simeon uttered the words “O Lord, now thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which hath been since the world began.”

Simeon and Anna are symbolic and representative figures. The world has never been without people like them, people with a forward look in whom there burned a great hope, people on tiptoe, the flame of freedom in their souls, the light of knowledge in their eyes, living in hope and expectation that a great day was coming when wrong would be righted, when justice would be done, when God would reveal his arm and bring salvation to mankind. One night over two thousand years ago, the Word became flesh in a baby born in Bethlehem. One day, it will become flesh again when Christ returns to set up his kingdom here on earth.

Simeon also told Mary of the suffering and death Jesus would have to endure for all of his people. Most people thought of the redemption of Jerusalem and God’s people in terms of freedom from Roman rule, but some had a vision of an even greater redemption-a vision of spiritual renewal. God’s salvation is for all of us, but not all of us will accept it, just like some people did not accept Christ and his teachings and salvation. Those who reject Christ are already condemned.

God’s salvation doesn’t mean that we will never suffer troubles, illness, rejection or death. It happened to Jesus. It happened to Mary. It will happen to us, but if we endure hardships with faith, we will have a great future. It takes faith to know a blessing from God. It is the joy of celebrating God’s goodness in the midst of our chaotic, suffering world.

As life passes us by, how do we grow old in such a way to end well and finish awaiting Christ’s message, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” Since many of us will end our earthly pilgrimage alone with our spouse preceding us, how will we finish when we will be alone and old for some of those years? We are never too old, weak or sick to make a difference. Our attitude and behavior will make a difference. Like Anna, God will guide us to share the story of Jesus with everyone we meet.

We have also been told of the coming Christ. Like Simeon and Anna, we are heirs of a promise. We are prompted by the same Spirit. We long to see the same face. To do so successfully, we must wait forwardly, patiently, and vigilantly. When we look at Jesus’ face, we will know that it is time for us to repent and come home to our heavenly Father, just like Simeon knew it was time for him to go to his heavenly home when he saw the face of the baby Jesus.

Waiting is not easy, but God is working in and through us while we wait. A great example of this is a man who was born on the 12th of February 1809 in a one-room log cabin with a dirt floor on a farm in Kentucky.  He grew up to be a man of rugged determination. And although he had less than a year of formal education, he succeeded in becoming a lawyer.

However, he REALLY wanted to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world and so entered politics.  He believed that if he was going to have the maximum impact, he would have to become president of the United States.  However, he tried, and he tried – and he failed and he failed.  In fact, his list of failures was embarrassing:


1832 Lost job and was defeated for state legislature

1833 Failed in business

1835 His fiancée died

1836 Had nervous breakdown

1838 Defeated for the position of Illinois House Speaker

1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress

1846 Elected to Congress but lost renomination in

1849 Rejected for the position of land officer for Illinois

1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate

1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice-President

1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate

But in 1860 he was elected President of the United States.

You have probably guessed that I was talking about Abraham Lincoln, the greatest of all American Presidents.  His persistence paid off. I’d have given up long ago, but Lincoln persevered.  He did not allow setbacks to deflect him from his goal.  His setback helped him face our countries most trying times.

We have just come through the seasons of Advent and Christmas, and during those seasons we, like Simeon and Anna, had to wait and prepare for the coming of the Messiah. God works in a time zone where a day is as a thousand years. For those who have walked the long road of faith, who have held the long cord of life in their hands and felt all its frays and burrs, but also found it very sturdy, for those who have waited on the Lord while holding on for their lives, they have received the reward of joy.

As we think about this New Year may the word of this poem “the ABC of Trials” bring you hope as we move forward.  There is a lot of truth in these words and if we would live by them, 2021 would start on a much better path.


Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain,
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame.
Even when the times are hard,
Fierce winds are bound to blow;
God is forever able—
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love;
Joy would cease to be.
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee.
Move out of “Camp Complaining”—
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone.
Quit looking at the future,
Redeem the time at hand.
Start every day with worship;
To “thank” is a command.
Until we see Him coming,
Victorious in the sky,
We’ll run the race with gratitude,
Exalting God most high.
Yes, there’ll be good times; and, yes, some will be bad, but…
Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!


I am praying that in 2021 we would experience God in a new and powerful way. Amen!