Longing and Testimony
John Law, Norwich
Seeing that we. are nearing the close of the present dispensation, and the Lord is almost at the door, how our hearts long to be found occupying till He come, Luke 19.13, taking heed to the ministry which we have received in the Lord, seeking by His grace to fulfil it. We should be found with loins girded, lamps burning, and ourselves 'like unto men that wait for their lord', Luke 12. 35, 36, seeking in His absence to give 'his household . . . meat in due season', Matt. 24. 45. We see this in the two aged saints in Luke 2, Simeon and Anna, who were looking for His first advent.
The moment Christ is brought into the temple by His parents, the aged Simeon takes the child in his arms, and with the Sun of the eternal days in his arms, his own sun setting, he wanted to go, for he says 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation', Luke 2. 29, 30. In Simeon we have the longing to go seen in its infancy, but it is seen in its maturity in Paul, 'having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better', Phil. 1. 23.
Then Anna 'coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem', Luke 2. 38. What fulness there is wrapped up in those words 'spake of him', a blessed testimony of a Glorious Person. So Paul likewise says, as it were, 'I am longing to go, but it is more needful for me to stay with you', Phil. 1. 24. Hence Paul combined in his own person the Simeon and Anna character, so that the believer who is filled with Christ and is longing to go is the one best fitted to be left here to serve Him. For the one who is most longing to go is the one who is the most detached from things here, having nothing but a peg and a cord to hold him here, so that his heart is free to serve the saints.
How few there arc in these days who combine these two characteristics, yet this is the need of the days in which we live. May we be thus exercised in order that these two characteristics of devotedness, seen in Simeon and Anna and seen in maturity in the apostle Paul, may characterize us the little time we are left here. How it must gladden and refresh the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, if He can see that He is everything to us; that His Person has eclipsed in our souls everything under the sun; that He stands out pre-eminent before our souls; that we are lost in Him - with everything else under the sun counted but dung; that we are thoroughly ravishing our hearts with Him; that He has freed us from everything here and developed a longing to be with Him.
But He says, 'I will leave you here a little longer so that I may be the gainer and not you; so that from a full heart captivated by Myself I may use you to minister to others of the Christ who is everything to you; so that they through your ministry may be led to find their all in Me, and yet to be led, Anna-like, to speak alone of "Me" '.