Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. (Luke 2:25 NIV)
In our lives we want to accomplish things as quickly as possible. The same is true with our library systems; we want to receive information sources immediately. As Christians, we pray and receive promises from the Lord, but most of the time, we want those promises right away. Sometimes we find it hard to wait. My wife and I know this firsthand. In January 2021, we traveled to Nigeria. As we were preparing for our return trip to the States, our COVID-19 tests came back positive. We had to wait for 14 days for additional tests, which came back negative. The waiting was hard for us and for our kids, who were in the U.S., waiting for our return.
In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke much is said about the Holy Spirit, filling and coming into some of the individuals mentioned – Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. Chapter two tells us about Simeon, upon whom the Holy Spirit rested and who was given the promise that he would not die before he had seen Jesus. We don’t know how long he waited, but setting an alarm clock for the time wouldn’t help. He had a “spiritual alarm,” the Holy Spirit, so he could wait as long as it took. When the time came, the Holy Spirit moved him to go to the temple, and there he found and took Jesus in his arms and praised God. Another person in the same chapter was Anna, a prophet. She kept on doing what she knew would pay off – “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (Luke 2:37 NIV). Her waiting was rewarded. She also saw the Lord and gave thanks to God.
Just like Anna, waiting can mean doing, like continuing to do what we are already doing. Not so long ago, I spent two years working in a town far from home and would only travel back to be with my family one weekend in three weeks. I knew it wasn’t sustainable to be that far from my family, so I kept on praying and being engaged with my regular extracurricular activities. Some of these activities were attending campus chapels, Sunday school classes, and Sunday worship services. In God’s own timing, the waiting period was over. We finally moved to the town in which I was working and were able to be together.
As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, who helps us through our waiting periods. We can use the time we wait in reading and studying the Word of God, and spending more time in prayer. We can also wait together, much as Simeon and Anna waited at the temple, “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25). When we are together and empowered by the Holy Spirit, God gives us the patience to wait on Him.
Doyin is the Electronic Resources Librarian at Houghton University in Houghton, NY. He has been an ACL member since 2018.