And Now for Something Totally Unexpected

The moments that change your life often aren’t what you expect them to be. In 1996 I met my wife. When you are younger, you expect moments like this to be big and flashy and obvious and romantic. Clouds parting, angels singing, that kind of stuff. Nope. The woman who would one day be my wife walked up to me and asked my if I knew what a “moose lick” was. When I said, “No,” she licked her hand and wiped it down the side of my face. I didn’t even know her name. Now this is not something my wife normally does to people. It happened because some girls she was investing in dared her to do it at a Young Life Camp where we were both counselors. Still, it was totally unexpected. It left me speechless (which is really rare for me). Of all the ways I could have thought of to meet the woman I would marry, that wasn’t one of them. But it was perfect. It was us. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was exactly what I needed.

In the Gospel of Luke we learn about a man named Simeon. He had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. For centuries, faithful men and women in Israel had longed to see God’s promised salvation but had died with only the hope of what was to come. Simeon was told that he would see what others had longed for. We can only imagine what he was expecting. In what glory and majesty would God bring forth the Savior? How strong would this warrior be who would save His people? How much wisdom would He possess? We can only imagine the anticipation that must have lived in Simeon’s heart as he awaited the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Then one day the Holy Spirit led him to the Temple for the promised meeting. I am guessing that Simeon was expecting a lot of things when he imagined his encounter with the Messiah. I doubt that holding a baby in his arms was among those things. Simeon had been promised something grand beyond his wildest imagination and it was fulfilled in the utmost simplicity and humility. This was completely unexpected. But it was perfect. God was with us in the best way possible. In a way that would threaten no one and welcome all. And Simeon did not miss the perfection of God’s work.

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

Simeon’s heart saw the true glory of what God was doing. He saw the truth that is almost always at work in God’s plans for our salvation. God is always faithful to fulfill His promises, but He almost always fulfills those promises in ways we never expected. In surprising, simple, humble, perfect ways.

Read Luke 2:22-35

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Good stuff, right?!

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