“And was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fastings and prayers.” (Luke 2:37)
Anna was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was at least 106 years old when she spotted Joseph and Mary bringing a tiny new infant into the temple to complete the law’s requirements. She went to them and blessed the baby. She thanked God and began speaking about Him to all who were looking for the redemption of Israel.
Like most women of her day, Anna likely married at age 14 or 15. She then lived with her husband until his death 7 years later. She evidently had no children, so then at about age 22 she entered the temple complex and lived there for at least 84 years until that day Joseph and Mary brought Jesus. So she was at least 106 years old, and how long after that she lived we do not know.
Sometimes life can be tough. Imagine Anna’s life. She and her husband tried to have children for 7 years. Then he died. Sorrow ensued, but more than sorrow. She was forlorn and had no place to go. She went to the only place she knew she could go, to the temple, and there she lived on the kindness of temple-goers and temple servants for at least the next 84 years. There she was at peace and safe. Something else happened, though. Anna became a servant of the Lord. How could someone with seemingly nothing to give serve God? It was through “fastings and prayers.” She served the Lord by giving Him a heart of worship.
John Milton, after being stricken by blindness and being totally dependent on his daughter’s help, wrote, “They also serve who stand and wait.”
Anna teaches us that everyone who desires to do so can serve the Lord. It may seem that some have nothing to give, but it only seems that way. We all can serve God in His kingdom work in some way.
We thank You, Lord, that no one who trusts in You gets left out. Amen.