There are many faithful men and women from whom we can learn things that will help us grow in our faith in Christ. One of them, a woman named Anna, had a very short appearance in the Bible, yet her story gives us so much to learn.
Who is she and what we learn from her? Let's talk about that.
A prophetess who loved to commune with God
Luke 2:36-38 is but a short but powerful account telling us who Anna is.
"Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
Here we read that Anna was a prophetess from the tribe of Asher. We understand that she was widowed for 84 years, and for all those years she remained an unmarried widow who spent all her days with God.
The days she spent with God were intense. She did not leave the temple, but spent day and night in fasting and prayer. And because she was a prophet, she would seek God and hear His voice day after day after day.
Later in her life she would come to see Jesus as a little child, and recognize that He had been the one all of Israel waited for: the promised Messiah. And after seeing Him she praised God and spoke of God's provision for salvation to all.
What can we learn from her?
Anna's story is remarkable in that it gives us powerful insight into the life of a person dedicated to seeking God. Here are a few things we can learn from her.
1) That we can actually make God our all in all
Anna had a husband in her younger years. At this time, women married young, and since her husband died after seven years, we can safely assume that she became a widow at a young age.
Anna, however, did not set her heart to looking for another man to love her, or another romantic relationship to satisfy her. She set her heart to seek God, and indeed she spent all the years of her life as a widow totally devoted to God.
From here we understand that God can satisfy and heal a broken heart, that God can meet all our needs. All we need to do is to seek Him and make Him our all in all.
2) That God does speak to His people
Anna's life shows us that God does speak to His people. How would Anna recognize the Christ if God didn't tell her? And to think, she recognized Him even while He was still a young child and not as an adult male who walked on water!
As a prophetess, we could imagine Anna enjoying God's presence every single day. While Israel was weary and looking for its redemption, Anna had hope knowing full well that God sent already His promised Savior - His only begotten Son. And this she knew because of her intimate relationship with God.
3) That we can serve God no matter our age
Anna served God for a very long time: eighty-four years beginning from the time she lost her husband up to the time she saw Jesus. We don't know if she lived long after that happy day, but what we do know is that she'd already spent 84 years fasting and praying for God's salvation to come.
Her life is a living testimony that proves anyone of any age can serve God. Age is not an issue with God; He's the Alpha and the Omega. What matters is that we obey Him.