There are three little verses in Luke that I just love. Since it’s such a short passage, I’ll just write it out here:
There 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
It’s not a particularly profound passage; if you blink, you miss it altogether. But, I love it for the beautiful gift of honor God bestowed on this faithful woman.
The Scripture is unclear as to whether Anna was 84 or had been widowed for 84 years. Regardless, she was old, and she had spent those years in complete service to God, worshiping Him day in and day out. And God rewarded her in the most unbelievable way possible – He allowed her to meet His baby Son. After serving God for so long, I can’t imagine Anna wanting anything more than to see the promised Savior, and that’s exactly what the Lord gave her. Not only that, He ensured her legacy of faithfulness would continue for millennia by recording her story in the Bible.
Isn’t that sweet? Of all the people who could have met Jesus at the temple that day, God chose one of them to be a woman, demonstrating His kindness not only to her, but to all women by including them in His Son’s story. And, He showed us that the rewards for faithfulness to Him are truly above and beyond anything that we could imagine (you know I love Eph. 3:20-21).
So don’t give up, friends. Sometimes serving God is really hard. But, He does not forget about us – even when we’re 84 – and He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
I can’t help but think Anna was a little bit of a hippy. I really wanted to find a t-shirt for her that just said LOVE on the front, but I had trouble locating it. You’ll just have to imagine.