“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. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” Luke 2:36-40
A bride, a wife for only seven years, she undoubtedly loved her husband, because after his death, she wanted no other. She had been left with no children. She could have grieved herself to death. She could have grieved herself to bitterness. She could have grieved herself into obscurity. But she did not. She prayed and fasted and where we find Anna is in the pages of the New Testament, Luke’s account of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the Temple for the dedication. Anna had been there ever since her husband died some fifty or perhaps even sixty years before, knowing that her mission was prayer and fasting. It might have been a shadow ministry, because women were not in the forefront of the Temple’s on-goings, but Anna was not in the shadows with God. She spent her time talking, communing with Him.
Then one day she knew. It was the time. It was the hour. Anna came and she saw a young family…father, mother, and this tiny Baby in their arms. She had spent so much time with the Lord that of course she recognized Him. The One, whom she had known would come, was there, right there in the Temple. She could now see the Promised One with her own eyes.
Anna had waited, prayed, and fasted for all of the years past those seven lovely years of marriage until was eighty-four years old. But at this time her ministry was about to become a little more public. She had been spending her time somewhat in the background. But on this day the Bible says she gave thanks to God and began to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Anna was telling everyone who would listen. She was boldly proclaiming Christ.
Can’t you just see her? This little eighty-four year old woman perhaps even running excitedly up to people sharing, “He’s here! The One we’ve been praying for is here!”
Sometimes our ministries change, but God always calls us to share our faith. At the age of eighty-four, or twenty-four, or one hundred and four, what is God calling us to do? Who is that person God is bringing across our path to share with today?