There was also a prophet, Anna … She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting, and praying. Coming up to them … she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38 (NIV)
Anna was a woman who never lost hope. Imagine life as a widow after only seven years of marriage. Hard at any time, but in an era when a woman couldn’t just go out and get a job, losing a husband meant poverty and hardship. Only seven years with her husband, only seven years enjoying the status that came with marriage. When Anna was a brand-new bride, I doubt she had any idea she would be a widow for over half a century.
Anna likely had no children. Instead of spending her days with children and grandchildren, she lived in the temple, night and day. Was it hard for her when families arrived to offer sacrifices? Did it hurt to see mothers cradling young babies? How easy it would have been for her to grow bitter and question why others gained what she had lost.
Yet, Anna chose to live her life in praise and in constant contact with the living God. Wow! All her life, she looked “forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” and never gave up hope. Anna didn’t look back on all she did not have. She didn’t sit in a puddle of self-pity and misery groaning about her lot in life. Instead, she worshiped. She fasted and prayed. She served her living, loving God. And she looked forward to the Redeemer who would come.
At the end of her life, God gave her the incredible, amazing, personal joy of seeing His Son, in the flesh, newly born … ready to usher in salvation. How wonderful is that!
On those days when I’m not particularly fond of my circumstances, it helps me to remember Anna. What will I do with my own life disappointments? How will I react when things don’t go the way I wish? If I want to please my heavenly Father and walk in His joy, I will never give up hope. I will choose worship, fasting, praying, and giving thanks. May God remind you, too, dear one, and bless you with the joy that comes from looking forward with hope to the time when our Savior appears. Just like Anna did.
Heavenly Father, how I would love to meet Anna in Heaven one day. I’d love to hear her story and catch a glimpse of what it was like to hold Your Son, God-made-flesh, in the temple where she had lived for so many years. Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful, happy ending You have prepared for me and for all who love You! My hope is safely secured in You. In the Name of Jesus, the Redeemer, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)