Though I often stumble as I amble because I am an old man,
today I could run like the youth and fly like an eagle. (Isaiah 40:31)
I have seen the salvation of my people!
He came in flesh, wrapped in linen, carried by a virgin.
Oh, the miraculous grace of my Lord!
Oh, His kindness that He gave sight to my faith.
Oh, the wonder of how this baby will save my people and more than I can imagine.
Oh, the heartache his mother will bear, his father will not be able to spare her from.
I endured a fitful night of sleep, woke early, and felt I must go to the temple right away as the Spirit led me. As I watched precious parents parade into the temple with lambs, or turtledoves and pigeons for those of meager means, I spotted Him and my heart quickened as God’s Spirit moved within me, opening my eyes to see His Promised One.
I stood for a few moments, taking in the scene before me. So long have I waited. So long have I prayed. Shamefully I recall my doubt when the years stretched on without answer. Yet, despite my doubt, the Lord has proven faithful. Tears stream unabashedly down my beard as my eyes drank in the long-awaited sight of the Messiah.
His mother so attentive to His cry, His father so attentive to His mother, and I marveled at the miracle of it all.
How many have waited for this day right along with me, and yet, as I looked around at the crowd, my heart broke with agony.
They do not know! The ONE we have waited generations for is here, in our midst! Yet, they carry on. Oh Lord, make them see, I breathed.
The priest accepted their offering, 2 turtledoves, the offering marked out for the poorest of the poor. (Leviticus 12:8) Emotion flooded me as I realized Yahweh’s powerful grandeur lay before me wrapped in peasant flesh. Here. He was here with us.
And suddenly, overwhelmed by the Spirit, I moved forward with eyes only for the small, poor, sacred family of three as they left the altar. I approached, gently inquiring if I might prophesy over their child. They eagerly handed Him over as though they knew already what I was going to say. Had they been visited, too? Did they know Whose tiny fingers gripped theirs? Did they see how the One who held all things together was now being held by them? Unfathomable!
Nevertheless, I took this boy, just eight days old, raised him in the air and proclaimed by the Spirit,
Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have
seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples—a light for
revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel.
I returned the boy to His parents, having held the Author of Life in my hands. Though my tongue had now stilled from the Spirit’s work, my heart continued in prayer as my soul lifted to heights I’d never experienced.
The wait was over, Hope was here!
Yes, this baby will bring joy, peace, and salvation, but His life will also perplex, anger, and confuse others. He will not rise on the accolades of all, nor fall from the targeted anger of those He offends, but He will live out His destiny.
And now I have lived out mine. You promised, my God, that my faith would be given sight. You promised I would see Your Salvation.
You promised I would see the Messiah.
You promised, and though it felt like I might have misheard you at times for the longing of it, and the waiting for it, You have kept your promise. You have kept Your word.
You are faithful!
Here I am, an old man fulfilled in your kept word.
Here I am, a man whose life has been devoted wholly to you, satisfied and finding it all worth it.
The questioning, the doubting, the mocking at times by my own?
All worth it.
You kept your word.
You are worthy.
For those who have yet to experience You and Your faithfulness,
may Your grace be upon them.
For sweet Mary, whose heart will near break in two at the fulfillment of your word,
may Your grace be upon her.
For Joseph, just a man called to raise the Son of Man,
may Your grace be upon him.
For all those who will question the life of this baby, the far-reaching grace of His life,
may Your grace be upon them to believe.
For those who will be questioned in their belief because they do not fit the mold of your Promised people,
may Your grace be upon them to persevere in hope.
For those who will condemn and betray this Messiah because He is not who they want Him to be, may Your grace be upon their souls.
Have mercy, dear God, upon all
just as You have had mercy on me.
And, now, I am at peace.
However much longer my days, I know a peace that nothing can pierce for my hope has been realized. Give this peace to all who may look upon the eyes and life of this baby and hope as I have, now, and for all time to come. Amen.
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