This morning, one of my children told me that I am somewhere between an adult and an old lady. Thanks, son.
Even though I am definitely not an old lady yet, I realize that I am aging when the suffering around me seems to be increasing weekly. The naive sense of invincibility that characterizes youth has been chipped away at, uncovering a deeper hope for the day when all things will be made new. This past year, friends have lost babies, parents and jobs; but they have not lost hope. Our eyelids are growing heavier with tears, but they are straining through the reality of suffering to see the coming hope. Just like Simeon. This is a poem I wrote six years ago, but applies even more so today to our lives and the lives of those we love.
Straining to See the King
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, this he knew too well,
Waiting for the consolation of which all the Scriptures tell.
Simeon, in the Temple of the Lord, daily watched and waited
For the Savior he was to meet before his life on earth abated.
The Holy Spirit had filled him and promised him this peace,
Lighting in his soul a burning hope that simply would not cease.
His young, sharp eyes with age grew dim, straining still to see
The Word of God he so revered, the Messiah who would be.
His hands once strong now feeble, in old age still fought to cling
To the Spirit’s promise that his eyes would see the coming King.
He was known to be devout and righteous; his life had proved this true; Yet there he was still waiting while his remaining days were few.
His weary eyes were tired, but even more so was his heart,
Longing to see the Lord’s anointed and thence in peace depart.
Had he heard it wrong? Was the promise merely hopeful delusion?
Had decades of faithful service and waiting led only to confusion?
Interrupting his wrestling, two simple Nazarenes drew near,
Carrying their newborn son, filled with deep and reverent fear.
They came to obey the custom, but for a lamb they could not pay,
So for the firstborn’s consecration, two pigeons would be offered today.
Simeon saw the approaching family and knew without a doubt,
This was the Christ, the Chosen One, Who the Word had told about.
At once his eyes glittered and his tense heart was finally at rest,
As he held the fragile baby so close to his shaking chest.
Looking to God, as tears streamed down his wrinkled cheek,
He praised the One, who being strong had willfully become weak.
God sent the promised salvation; He had been true to His word;
This child would open His kingdom to Gentiles who had not heard.
By grace Simeon was able to understand what so few others could;
This child’s perfect life would bring him to a shameful cross of wood.
Though they would make a sacrifice to consecrate him that day,
He would be the final sacrifice; the price of our sin he would pay.
They stood holding Him in the Temple, a building firm and sound,
Yet His body was the true temple razed to be raised from the ground.
Simeon’s frail hands lifted up the One who would be lifted high,
The One who would live a perfect life only our death to die.
The Redeemed hugged the Redeemer in an embrace of humble love,
For this was Jesus, God come down, the Provision of Peace from above.
Hope deferred may make the heart sick, this Simeon could tell,
But Desire coming is the tree of life; Jesus makes all things well.