Seeking and waiting. On the surface, these two terms seem to be more opposite than alike, however, they both have a few things in common. They are both active and intentional; they both require time, perseverance, and patience. Now one may not ever really be 100% sure of when the eventual result will materialize or what it may look like, but there is no doubt that personal growth will come through the journeying.
Simeon is an interesting study. He was a righteous man, a devout man, and the Holy Spirit spoke to him, told him that before his days were numbered, he would see the Messiah, the Savior, the one who would redeem Israel. What do you do with that kind of promise? Well, the Scriptures tell us that he waited, but when looking at the original Greek, the idea is better characterized as looking intently, with purpose, with anticipation, with a calm expectancy, not wanting to miss. He didn’t know when, he didn’t know how, he just knew it would happen. Faith, that God would be true to His promise. And then one day, one starry night, it came to pass. A child was born. A son was given. The Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. The Prince of Peace. The Everlasting Father.
As we approach this Christmas season, having already endured a season that has forced us to slow down, to stay put, to reconsider, it provides us with a golden opportunity to wait on and seek the Lord. He has been speaking to me lately about the need to seek out, press into and wait for His redemption process to be worked out in my life. Areas that on the surface may not have looked in bad shape, but below the surface there were signs of deterioration. He used some rust spots on the roof of my car to bring some things to light. Someone warned me that if I did not take care of these spots that I might be dealing with a bigger issue in the Spring (ie – a big leak). They told me how to put a stop to the rust. First, I would need to grind away the rust, then add a gel rust remover followed by a rust converter, then add body filler, sand, and paint. When I began the grinding, I saw the flaky brown debris powder away. It took no time at all. I cruised through all of the spots. No more orangey brown, and it took so very little time. It wasn’t til my neighbour dropped by to see what I was doing that I learned something very important. He showed me that I had just removed the surface rust, that there was still a blackish rough, pitted scale. When surface rust is left unattended, it penetrates further, causing more damage. I would need to use a lot more persistence and elbow grease to grind that away until the shiny, bare metal remained. If I simply covered it up, I would be sealing in the rust and it would continue to penetrate the roof. That pitted scale was stubborn, and because I had allowed it to get to this point, it was a time-consuming struggle to get it all cleaned up, longer than I would have ever expected that is for sure. But it was the right thing to do, and the only way of truly dealing with the issue at hand.
This really got me thinking of my own life. What kinds of attitudes, behaviours, grudges, sins have I been so quick to ask forgiveness for, to clean off the surface rust, but have not fully put to death? Things that I recognize needed to be surrendered to God, but then got busy, preoccupied, lazy, and so allowed them to linger, go unnoticed but continuing to eat away. So like the psalmist, I began to appeal to the Lord, and persist in waiting for what he wanted to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” And whatever you show me, may I take the time to let you grind it down to the bare metal. Help me to slow down and not rush the process, whatever it looks like. Looking intently, with purpose, with anticipation, with a calm expectancy, not wanting to miss the redemptive work you need to do in my life. The redemptive work you desire to do in my life. Like Simeon, I long to see the Savior continue to redeem my life as I work out my salvation, allowing him to sanctify my life.
The Christ child is worth waiting for: Wonderful COUNSELOR, MIGHTY God, Prince of PEACE, Everlasting FATHER. And Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. This Christmas season, let us desire, seek, wait and allow an increase of His ruling in our lives, in our hearts, His redemption, daily, weekly, one issue at a time until His work is complete, to the praise of His Glorious grace.