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Great Expectations

If Simeon only knew what was going to happen in his life today![1] For years he had been waiting and watching expectantly for the Messiah, the One who would fulfill all of their hopes and dreams; who would protect them; who would love them and guide them.

Somehow he felt he should go to the Temple today, and he always tried to heed that quiet, inner voice that prompted him. As he strode through the milling throngs, he began to feel an excitement—as though something important was about to happen. What is it, Lord? Where do You want me to go? What are You telling me? "Look, Simeon. Over there."

Parents were standing in a line holding newborn infants,patiently waiting their turn for the rite of circumcision. "Go over there, Simeon. The fourth couple in line." Simeon hurried toward them and as he reached out to touch the infant, he knew—oh yes, he knew! "Ah, Lord God! He has come! Messiah has come! Now I can die in peace! I have seen Him! Praise God!" Joseph and Mary—needless to say—were speechless.

Anna, the prophetess, was praying just a stone’s throw away. This was her life—praying and fasting—waiting and watching expectantly. What did Simeon say? I couldn’t hear very well. Did he say He has come? She made her way quickly to where Simeon was standing with the baby in his arms, and immediately she knew. "Oh, Lord God! How wonderful! Thank You, thank You. Listen to me, you people—you who are watching and waiting! Your vigil is over! He has come! He has come!"

Yes, the vigil was over. He had come and Simeon’s disturbing, prophetic words to the wondering mother would be fulfilled: " . . . your very soul will be pierced by a sword." Ah, Mary, Mary. You found favor with God[2] —but in this fallen world where men live you found no favor. You found rejection and loneliness and pain and your heart was impaled on Calvary’s cross.

The baby in Simeon’s arms became our God on the cross. He came. He lived. He died. He was raised. He conquered.

And now you and I wait and watch expectantly.

What does it mean to "watch expectantly"? First of all you have to believe. Then "expectantly" becomes a part of your life. Long years ago Simeon and Anna had heard that Messiah was coming. They believed and so they began their unending vigil—waiting and watching expectantly.

I don’t mean that we wait and watch expectantly for His imminent return. Of course we’re excited about that event![3] But until that day comes, we still have to face today and tomorrow. I mean we wait and watch expectantly to see what He’s going to do in our life today—our life tomorrow.

What are we waiting for? What are we expecting? Well, for one thing, we don’t have to depend on our own frail resources for facing our today’s and our tomorrows.[4] We don’t have to be destroyed by the frustrations, the broken dreams, the shattered vows. He said He would fight those battles for us.[5] Do we really expect Him to do that? When we put on our helmet and head for the front lines, are we watching expectantly for Him to take over? Reallyexpecting? He has come! He has conquered!

Hindsight helps our foresight tremendously! Remember that man who deserted his family, left them to fend for themselves and lived an adulterous, degrading, sinful life for years? Remember what happened? How his life changed? And now he passionately tells others about what Christ can do? Can we expect something like that to happen again? Oh, yes! We believe it. We wait and we watch—expectantly.

Do you know that we actually believe there’s no such thing as an irreparable disaster? that there is no barrier too foreboding? no circumstance beyond His power? We believe that and so we wait—expecting. Our hearts may be torn with grief, our bodies may be screaming out with pain, everything that we hold dear may have been snatched away from us, but we are still waiting and watching expectantly. How? Because He has come and no expectations are too great.

We aren’t prisoners. We aren’t victims. Yes, we live in a fallen world where men fail us and use us and grind us under their heels as they ruthlessly crawl up the ladders of the world. But the world can’t imprison us. The world can’t destroy us. How do we know that? He said He had conquered the world for us, that He had robbed it of power to harm us.[6] Do you believe that? Really? Then you can expect Him to conquer your world for you.

We desperately need love and we’ve tried every way we know to get the people in our world to love us—our dad, our mom, our wife, our husband, our kids, our family. And then one day we remember: "He said He loved me with a love that surpasses human understanding.[7] Do I believe that? really believe it? Then—(with trembling heart and cautious hope)—can I expect Him to fill this need?" Yes.

Do we have enough hope to live beyond the disappointments of this world? If we have hoped in Christ in this life [world] only, we are of all men most to be pitied.[8] Our hope is far greater than this world. Our hope expels the drudgery of this world. Our hope exceeds all of our dreams—He told us to expect this.

Do we have enough love to triumph over those who inflict pain, who hurt us and deceive us and walk on our dreams? Yes. You see, He is love and He lives inside us.[9] Our love Source is inexhaustible! We expect that from Him.

Simeon and Anna’s long vigil of waiting and watching expectantly is over. Ours begins every morning: Lord Jesus, there’s no way that I can face this day, so I give myself to You and trust You to face every moment for me—through me. I know You love me—beyond my wildest expectations. I gratefully receive Your love. I accept You—not only as my beloved Lord and Savior, but as my very life. Incredible! My Life! Please use me to reach out to others today and to tell them about Your love, about Your indwelling Spirit, about Life!

He has come. Now, expect great and mighty things from our risen Lord Jesus Christ. He is waiting and watching us expectantly. You see, He, too, has great expectations.

Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes (Eph. 3:20 TLB).

[1] Luke 2: 25-38

[2] Luke 1: 30

[3] Rev. 22: 20

[4] John 15: 5 II Cor. 3:5

[5] II Chron. 20: 15(b), 17(a)

[6] John 16: 33 (AMP)

[7] Eph. 3: 17-20 (TLB)

[8] I Cor. 15: 19

[9] I John 4: 8, 12

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.