Every Thought Captive

Consolation and Expectation

Comfort, comfort My people, says your God.  
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, 
and cry to her  
that her warfare is ended,  
that her iniquity is pardoned,  
that she has received from the LORD’s hand  
double for all her sins.  

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And 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 and said,

“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.”  

Isaiah 40:1-2; Luke 2:22-32

“Do not try to console me!” exclaimed a boy in my family after a disappointing exam score. At that moment soothing words irritated rather than helped. It was what it was!

A new year is opening. But does some constraint reach into those yet-to-be-lived days? Are grief, loneliness, or a sense of failure clouding expectation? Have you hoped for change in a person or situation – or in yourself – so long, that you are tempted to think, “It is what it is?”

Thousands of years ago a man named Simeon lived with expectation. We don’t know his age or occupation, but we know Simeon was devoted to God and would have known the prophet Isaiah’s direction from God to “Comfort, comfort My people,” to “speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1-2).

Isaiah looked far ahead of his own time to the LORD’s coming to His people, to Messiah, who would accomplish His people’s deliverance, far beyond any political victory. Messiah would accomplish their deliverance from sin’s penalty and from sin’s hold over them. And that rescue would eventually be followed by a majestic day when He would return in power to renew and rule over the world.

This truth framed Simeon’s expectation and how Simeon approached a new year, or a new day. God had also given him a special, gracious insight; through the Holy Spirit, Simeon knew he would see Messiah. He took God fully at His word, and he would go every day to the Temple in Jerusalem to see if, that day, he might meet “the Consolation of Israel,” the promised Deliverer, Redeemer, Shepherd, and King. Simeon went to the Temple because he knew this Great One, as an infant, would be brought there to be presented to God. This expectancy and faith in God and His Word buoyed Simeon’s spirit and repulsed frustration.

In Simeon’s time as in ours, evil seemed triumphant. Israel’s people were held under the iron grip of the Romans. Violence could break out at any time. Religious leaders who should have also been expecting Messiah seemed eager only to maintain their positions. But Simeon knew that “it is what it is” would become the reality God had revealed, and every day he expected God to do all that He said.

And so, on the day when Mary and Joseph came to present Jesus to His Father in the Temple, God brought Simeon to them. He held Him in his arms, and praised God, “for my eyes have seen Your salvation.” God poured out gracious revelation through Simeon, that this salvation was “prepared for all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

Your loving Father in heaven has a new year and new days for you of healing and renewal despite the sorrow, sickness, and rebellion in the world. He will keep His promises even as hardship enters our lives. His consolation is not just sweet words but covenant certainty. He has fulfilled His promise, and the Savior has come. Forgiveness and new life are real. Live and hope in them! Messiah Jesus calls us to come to Him when we “labor and are heavy laden,” and He gives rest. Expect to see through Him all God’s promises fulfilled. And keep looking—He is coming back, and maybe this is the day.  

About the Author

Photograph of Neatice Warner

Neatice Warner

Neatice grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is married to Terry and has 2 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, and 3 grandsons. Neatice is privileged to teach the PCPC Women's Early Morning Bible Study; her passion, along with her family, is God's Word and the joy of seeing God's people transformed by His Spirit through that Word.