From Dr. Kathy: These are challenging days in America and much of the world. We need to be patient and to trust God. I’m grateful for this reminder my friend Steve writes about here: God never forsakes His people and always keeps His promises. God is patient with all people and is working according to His timetable, not ours, to accomplish what is best for all. After you read this, I encourage you to share it with your children.

PATIENCE – the state of being able to remain calm and not annoyed when waiting for a long time; maintaining an inner peace when dealing with problems or difficult people

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry,” Psalm 40:1

Scripture Text: Luke 2:22-35

Waiting has always been and will always be one of the most difficult things to do. When one’s heart and mind are full of anticipation or longing, it is challenging to endure the time as it passes. That was the situation for Israel as they awaited the arrival of their promised Messiah. They longed for the one who was to be King in the line of David, their greatest king in history. They anticipated the Sent One because prophecy said that he would bring good news to the poor, heal the broken hearted, free the captives, deliver prisoners, comfort those in mourning, and usher in his kingdom that would have no end.

Yet, over four hundred years passed by since the last of the prophets had given those encouraging words. Not since Malachi prophesied sometime between 425-450 B.C. that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and be preceded by Elijah had there been a prophetic word. Day after day passed by until most of Israel forgot or gave no attention to the promises of God.

Yet, in Jerusalem, there lived an elderly man, Simeon, to whom God had given an individual promise in his heart by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit promised him that he would not see death until he had first seen the Messiah born. Simeon had not forgotten God’s prophecies or promises. He was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” It was not an act of coincidence or luck that he happened to be in the Temple the day Mary and Joseph arrived to offer sacrifice according to the Jewish custom. The Holy Spirit was upon him, so “he came in the Spirit into the Temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God.”

The beauties of this story are evident both with God and Simeon:

  • God never forsakes His people and always keeps His promises. God is patient with all people and is working according to His timetable, not ours, to accomplish what is best for all. 
  • Simeon demonstrates how we should endure during periods of waiting. He was righteous and devout and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Scripture declares that the righteous live by faith. Simeon was living every day trusting in God to fulfill His Word and care for him in the meantime. His faith in God and God’s promised Messiah, like Abraham, was accounted to him for righteousness. He was devout; meaning he continued faithfully to serve and worship the Lord according to the knowledge given to him. He did not make excuses that it had been ‘forever’ since there had been a good message at the synagogue. He was not self-righteous in abiding by law or by outward works or gratuity. Rather, he genuinely worshiped the Lord from his heart and therefore God abided with him through His Spirit. He sought the presence of God.

Taste Test: 

Practice waiting! It might be fun to be spontaneous and carefree, but it also beneficial to teach ourselves to be patient. In light of our culture, where people want everything instantaneously, patience has to be nurtured. Show your children the difference between ‘fast food’ and gourmet prepared meals. Explain the old adage “haste makes waste.” Thank goodness, not everything takes a long time, but there are some things worth the waiting. It took Michelangelo over four years to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It took the Borglums over fourteen years to carve Mt. Rushmore. 

Find a project that you can do as a family together that takes time. Work on it a little at a time so that you can enjoy the process and do quality work: landscape the yard, repaint, build a playground, or write a book. The choices are endless.

Scraping the Plate:

Read Psalm 40 again, giving attention to the work of salvation described in verses 2-3.

  • How does ‘waiting for the Lord’ fit into our trust in the Lord? 
  • Does verse 4 imply that if we do not wait in faith for the fulfillment of our salvation from God in Jesus, we will probably ‘trust in’ or ‘lean upon’ false ideas that man has conceived? 
  • Does the psalmist ending with a plea for God not to delay His deliverance mean that he was impatient or does it demonstrate the psalmist’s trust and dependence on God? 
  • Share your thoughts with each other.

Biscuits and Gravy:

Ability begins with effort in learning. Skill is developed over time and with continued effort. Therefore patience is a necessary quality in accomplishing the purposes of God.

Today I posted a devotional from the book Steve Baker wrote, O Taste and See Each devotional is related to one or more of the core needs I teach and write about often, including in my book, Five to Thrive He has seen their importance and wanted devotionals as another way of helping parents and children meet their needs in healthy ways.

Steve Baker and his wife, Joyce are two of my thought-leaders. They work closely together. Steve has served in ministry for almost 40 years. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. Steve has a passion for families, mentoring believers, and discipling parents to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.