Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
These three verses give us all we know about Anna. She was eighty-four years old and had lived as a widow since she was probably barely twenty years old. Some might think, What a waste! But it wasn’t a waste of a young woman’s life because she turned to God. Anna lived in the Temple, worshipping God for about sixty years.
God chose Anna to be a prophet, which means she spoke words God gave her, including words about the coming Messiah.
Anna had been preparing all her life for this moment. What was her preparation? She stayed close to God day and night, worshiping him with fasting and prayer. Staying close to God is a high calling, one to which we are each called.
It’s easier for us, in a way, because we have God living in our hearts. But it’s also less tangible to us. Whereas God once lived in the Temple, where people would go to worship, now God lives in the temple of our human bodies. We worship in spirit.
While Simeon was blessing Mary and Joseph in the Temple, Anna came along. She instantly knew. Her spirit resonated with the Spirit of God at seeing the Christ child. She began praising God. The long awaited day had come. The Messiah was here. God had kept his promise.
This was good news. Anna couldn’t keep it to herself. From that day on, she told everyone she met about the arrival of the Christ child, the long awaited Messiah who would save them all. Now it was only a matter of time before the child grew to fulfill his destiny. That was news worth sharing because it gave hope to all people. Their days of suffering had a limit now.
Anna’s role in God’s plan may seem insignificant, but God thought her role was significant enough to include in the Word of God.
God has a significant role for you, too. It may seem insignificant. It may seem like you’re waiting for decades for God to work things out, but be patient and focus on what you can do while you are waiting. Anna worshiped God for sixty years. If you seem to be waiting for God’s timing, focus on developing a closer relationship with him. That’s the most significant thing any of us can do.
Thank you, Lord, for years spent preparing my heart for what you have planned for me in the future. It may seem like I’m waiting and accomplishing nothing, but it is all part of your plan. Remind me to focus on you during my years of waiting so I’m always growing closer to you. Keep my hope in you that one day you’ll reveal the opportunities you have for me. Forgive my impatience. I don’t want to miss my part in your story.
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