Cross Words: Worship in the waiting

By Isaiah Pauley

I find myself in a season of waiting. And it’s frustrating. There are so many things I just can’t understand. Why is this happening? Why is it taking so long? And how am I supposed to handle the uncertainty? Because it’s getting really hard to keep my head up. Maybe you feel the same way.

But here’s what God has to say: worship in the waiting.

Allow me to share with you a story about two individuals in the Bible who worship while they wait. Their names are Simeon and Anna. Let’s look at Simeon first.

“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” (Luke 2:25-26 ESV).

Simeon is waiting on the Messiah. The hope of Israel. The fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. And while Simeon waits, he worships. He remains righteous and devout before God. He seeks the heart of God each and every day. Despite his frustrations. Despite his impatience. Simeon chooses to worship in the waiting.

“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 the glory to your people Israel’” (v. 27-32 ESV).

This is amazing. Simeon remains faithful to God while he waits for Jesus Christ. And he eventually holds the Messiah in his own two arms. Oh, the beauty of holding God’s long-awaited promise. Now, let’s talk about Anna.

“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (v. 36-38 ESV).

Think about it. A woman who, like Simeon, is waiting on the Messiah. But while she waits, she worships. Night and day. By fasting and prayer. Notice how the passage doesn’t mention music. That’s because worship is more than music. Worship is a posture of dedication, surrender, and trust towards God. And before she dies, Anna sees the face of Jesus Christ. Wow!

Simeon and Anna weren’t the only ones waiting for the Messiah. The Israelites had been waiting on Jesus Christ for years. But Simeon and Anna handled their waiting differently.

The Bible says, “He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13 ESV).

An overwhelming number of Jews rejected Jesus after waiting for Him to come. In fact, the Jews had Him crucified. Why? Because they didn’t handle their uncertainty like Simeon and Anna. They didn’t worship while they waited. They didn’t seek God’s heart. And what a tragedy it was for those who missed the very One they had waited on.

I don’t know about you, but I want my season of waiting to resemble that of Simeon and Anna.

What if the way you handle the waiting determines whether or not you recognize the answer when it arrives? What if the way you handle the waiting determines how prepared you are to make the most of what God brings your way?

I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. But through God’s Word, I see the power of choosing to worship in the waiting. And when you worship, the Father’s heart becomes so much more real. Your heart becomes more like His. And when you seek His face, you’re ready to receive from His hand.

So, let’s worship in the waiting.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.