Luke 2:28-32: “Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Yesterday I woke up with an ancient Christmas tune in mind. It goes something like this:

“Children go where I send thee, 
How shall I send thee? 
Well, I’m gonna send thee one by one
One for the little bitty baby
Who was born, born, born in Bethlehem”

Isn’t it amazing what God can do with a little bitty baby? Simeon held Jesus in his arms, looking at Him in awe and wonder. A little bitty baby was going to save the world! He held the Messiah in his arms, and he believed.

Like the expectant silence of an audience right before the show starts, or mother nature at the end of a drought shortly before the first rain hits, that’s how God’s message fell on Simeon’s ears. Israel saw many prophets come and go, but for several centuries no prophet’s voice was heard, no fresh message was received. It felt as if God had tuned out and removed Himself from planet Earth. But in all reality it was just the silence before a major event: the birth of the Messiah.

Suffering under the Roman Empire, Israel had cried for deliverance. Beyond all their prayers, hopes and dreams, God gave us Jesus to deliver the whole world, including the nation of Israel.

Don’t we sometimes hope that God comes through for us doing it our way? In our thoughts and prayers we might give Him some well-meaning suggestions. They may sound like this: “Please God, don’t let him die.” or “Please God let me have this job, we need the money.” God is known for His surprising and unconventional ways. We often don’t see it coming, the way He answers prayers is simply mind-boggling.

Don’t let apparently unanswered prayers deter you. God has very good ears. He hears every whispered prayer. When we cry out to God, He comes through for us, but it never ends there. The world around us is blessed in the process, because our timeless and eternal God always sees the bigger picture.  God is in the habit of exceeding all our expectations. Isn’t this a great encouragement to keep on praying?