She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. (Luke 2:37)
Luke’s sketch of Anna—a true daughter of Zion—invites us to reflect on the tremendous impact that the birth of Jesus had on Israel. By telling her story as he did, Luke gave his gentile readers (who were unfamiliar with Israel’s history) a glimpse of the way God’s plan of salvation unfolded within Israel’s history. For example, Anna’s great age and her lifetime of prayer represent the many centuries that the Jews spent preparing for and longing for the coming of their Messiah—centuries spent in prayer, intercession, and obedience to God.
Anna must have known much pain upon the death of her husband after only seven years of marriage. Over the years, she probably experienced a great deal of loneliness as well. In ancient times, unmarried women in general, and widows in particular, were often looked down on or forgotten about. By choosing Anna as he did, God shows how little he cares about social stature when it comes to selecting his witnesses!
Despite a lifetime of sorrows, Anna never became bitter. Instead, she found solace as she opened her heart to the Lord in prayer. “She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer” (Luke 2:37). This remarkable woman of faith had transformed her many difficult years into a lifelong ministry of intercession for the redemption of Israel. And God exhibited a special love for this “prophetess” (2:36) by endowing her with a sensitivity and awareness of the Messiah’s coming.
What a model for us! Anna’s patience and long suffering embody the human heart’s longing for salvation. Do you sometimes feel worn out, abandoned, or insignificant to God? Nothing could be further from the truth. If you turn to God, as Anna did, his grace will fill your life. Turn your sorrows over to the Lord. Worship him, and intercede for the redemption of his people. By doing so, you can become a witness of God’s presence in our midst. God will fill your life with hope and promise in a way that nothing else in the world can.
“Lord, I offer my life to you. I want to join all your saints in building your kingdom.”
Word Among Us