When have you had to wait for God’s work to be done?
The Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona, Spain, has been under construction for more than 135 years. When the cornerstone was put in place, Chester A. Arthur was president of the United States and Queen Victoria was the monarch of England. For all that time, Sagrada Familia has been wrapped in scaffolding and cranes, and workers have been trying to carry forward the vision of its architect Antoni Gaudi, born in 1852.
The next step in the construction of the church will be the completion of its final spire: A 550-foot high “Tower of Jesus.” This tower is scheduled to be completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of the architect’s death.
Gaudi trusted God’s future when he began work on Sagrada Familia (Spanish for “Holy Family”). So did Simeon and Anna when they met the Holy Family — Joseph, Mary and Jesus — in the temple in Jerusalem.
Simeon was a righteous man who “eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him” (Luke 2:25). Following the Spirit, he went to the temple and met Jesus and his parents. He took Jesus in his arms and said to God, “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel” (verses 29-32).
Simeon did not expect God’s work to be completed in his lifetime. Instead, he was simply thrilled to meet the Lord’s Messiah before his death. He trusted that God’s work would be done in the future, just as Gaudi trusted that his church would be finished by the generations that followed him.
In similar manner, Anna was a prophet in her eighties, a widow who “never left the temple area but worshipped God with fasting and prayer night and day” (verse 37). When she encountered Jesus and his parents, she began to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. She knew that many people wanted God’s relationship with them to be restored — that is what is meant by “the redemption of Jerusalem” (verse 38). When she saw Jesus, she knew that he was the key to the restoration of this relationship. Like Simeon, she trusted God’s future.
Mary and Joseph were filled with the hope of Simeon and Anna when they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There, they watched as Jesus grew up according to the plan of the divine architect. They knew that God was going to do great things through him, because Jesus “was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him” (verse 40). God’s work takes time, but the result is always worth the wait.
Help me, Lord, to be patient as you complete your work in my life. Amen.