Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking 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 should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came 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 lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
Today is the feast of Candlemas or the Presentation of Our Lord.
There is so much to ponder with this feast. We can think about all the ways Christ is revealed to the world. We can think about Mary’s faithfulness and piety. For me, I find Simeon to be my point of reflection this year. Simeon had a promise from God. He would see the Messiah. Even as the years passed by and he grew older, he did not waver in his trust in God’s promise. His prayer would be answered. Then, in the ordinary persons of a typical Jewish mother brings and her typical Jewish baby boy, Simeon recognizes the answer to his prayers.
I have often prayed for very specific things. Sometimes, I get exactly what I ask for. Sometimes, however, the answer seems to be “no”, but in time I realize that God has answered my prayers, just not in the way I expected. Consider this analogy: You have to walk to your job. You ask your father for a bicycle for your birthday. You give him all the reasons why you need a bicycle and all the justifications for why he should give you one. Your birthday comes and goes, and while he gives you some pretty nice gifts, he does not give you a bicycle. You feel let down and frustrated. After all, you weren’t asking for the moon. You just wanted a bicycle. You deserve a bicycle. What would have been so hard about giving you a bicycle? Then six months later, your father hands you a key. He is giving you a brand new car to get you to your job every day. Are you still going to be mad that you didn’t get a bicycle?
God does answer our prayers. He answers them with that for which we are really asking and not with that for which we think we are asking. He answers them in His time, not ours. He loves us and will not forsake us. We need to broaden our view and hold steadfastly to our trust in His mercy and love. Then we will see how abundantly our prayers are answered in ways quite unexpected.