If I had to choose one woman in the Bible to model my life after, it would be Anna the prophetess. I was intrigued by her life and faith from the time I became a Christian and first began studying the Bible. Not much is said about Anna in the Bible, but what little bit we know speaks volumes about her faith and character.
I think part of my fascination with this woman of faith is because her life was simple and counter cultural. She was sold out to Jesus, dedicating her life fully to him. She sets the perfect role model for women today. We read about Anna in Luke 2: 36-38.
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, 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 had 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.
Little is said about Anna’s appearance, but I can almost imagine her with white hair, her body bent over, and a rosy glow on her face. She was likely widowed at a young age. She was obviously a woman who walked with God and through whom God spoke. She was a prophetess in an age noted for God’s silence. She knew the Messiah was coming soon, and each day she woke up feeling excited to worship and pray in the temple. She probably wondered each day if this would be the day she would meet her Messiah face to face.
Imagine how Anna felt when she watched the baby Jesus being carried into the temple! The Messiah had come to redeem his people. Her lifelong hope was fulfilled as she gazed into her savior’s eyes.
Anna didn’t dwell on her widowhood, abandonment, or loneliness. She embraced her season of life and chose to dedicate her life to God. In our culture, we are taught that being alone is something to be feared and avoided.
Anna had waited a lifetime to see the messiah. She never gave up on waiting for his arrival, no matter how long she had to wait. She knew the wait would be worth it.
As women today, we can learn a lot from Anna’s example. While she waited for the arrival of the baby Jesus, we wait for the arrival of Jesus to return and take us to be with him forever.
Do we share the same excitement Anna had as she woke up each day to go worship again in the temple? Do we look forward to each day wondering if this will be the day we see Jesus face to face or do we drag through each day acting like we have nothing to look forward to?
Anna’s example teaches us that those who live for God will bear fruit even in their old age. Anna lived only seven years as a married woman until she was widowed. She never remarried. She chose to live her life celibate, devoting her time to serving God.
Anna’s example should help to calm our fears of feeling lonely or abandoned. Anna thrived in the presence God. While other women her age were busy caring for children and husbands, Anna was busy dedicating her life to God. She did not dwell on what she did not have or what she lost, but instead she embraced her new season of life and turned it into something positive.
Not everyone is called to a life like Anna, and there is nothing wrong with a widow remarrying, having children, or a job. But Anna’s example reminds us that some of the things we fear most can be opportunities to thrive in the presence of God. Life can be full and glorious even when we are alone.
Whether you are widowed, married, or single, Anna is a role model for all Christian woman today. She personifies what it means to serve the true and living Messiah and to anticipate his promised arrival. We are called to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present culture and to look for the blessed hope of His coming.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2: 11-14
As you go about your day today, are you looking for the arrival of Jesus? Are you wondering if today will be the day you see him? Are you filled with excitement as you anticipate how glorious that day will be?
Help me to have a heart and a faith like Anna. Help me to wake up each day excited to worship you and look for your promised arrival. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and the promise of your coming, so that the cares of this world grow dim in the light of your glory. Lord, help me not to grow weary of looking for your arrival but to anticipate it with a passion that drives me to live godly and upright as I wait for your glorious appearance.
In Jesus’ name, Amen