In His ServiceThere was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. 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 at that very moment, 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
Whenever I read the story of Anna, my heart breaks for her when I read this line, “she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow…” Seven years. That’s all the time she had with her husband. She became a widow when she was so young. No children are mentioned for her, either. In that time, widows were extremely vulnerable. Women did not have many opportunities to provide for themselves. In fact, it was a commandment in the law to look after widows. Yet sadly, many widows were neglected and lived their lives in destitution.
Anna could have become bitter after her husband’s passing. It must have been a devastating experience. She could have spent her days begging for help and languishing - stuck in her grief and dwelling on the unfairness in her life. But that is not what Anna did.
Instead of acting like her life was over when her husband’s life was over, she dedicated herself to the service of the Lord for the rest of her days. Luke referred to her as a prophetess. God had blessed her with the ability to proclaim and interpret God’s Word. So she put her gift to use. Faithfully. Day and night. It says that she never left the temple. She spent the remainder of her days praying, fasting, and worshipping her God. At His service.
Now, after Jesus’s birth, his parents fulfilled all of the requirements of the Jewish laws and took Him to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord. While they were there, Anna saw Jesus with Mary and Joseph. She came up to them and gave thanks to God! She had been blessed to live to see her Messiah! As soon as she saw the baby Jesus, she recognized Him and praised God for Him.
But she didn’t stop with thanksgiving. She also shared the good news with those around her. Verse 38
says that she “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
The WORD about women in the story of Anna is that God can use you even when you feel like your life is over-like you have nothing left to offer. Anna was a widow but she still had worth. God had given her gifts and she was faithful to use them in His service well into her old age. When she finally met her Messiah, she was elderly but she could still evangelize. So she did. Sisters, let’s be faithful to use our gifts in His service until our dying days.
How can you serve God in the season He has you in right now? Pray
Father, I want to serve You. I want to tell everyone who will listen about our Savior. Put me to good use all the days of my life no matter my circumstances. Amen.