“And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”
Luke relates the story of Anna, an old woman who spent her days and nights in the temple “fasting and praying.” Anna had been married for seven years and then was a widow for many more years. Luke says her father’s name was Penuel, which means “face of God.”
As a prophet, Anna’s vocation was to listen, worship, and pray. She was specially called to seek the face and voice of God for the people of God. But it was not her plan to be a widow, or likely even to be a prophet. Somehow the work of God came into her life, and she moved on from the past to focus on God’s promises with amazing faith …..
For decades, Anna spent all of her time in the temple. She held on to God’s promises, and when she saw the child Jesus, she knew that she was seeing the face of God; and “she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (v.38) ……
We are challenged to grow in recognizing the face of Jesus in others. Perhaps in the face of a lonely widow? Maybe in the face of a senior who needs your help? Maybe in the face of a neighbor who longs to strike up a friendship? Perhaps even in the face of a person the Lord has been nudging you toward?
The face of Jesus is all around us, in people who are in need of help, encouragement, and especially God’s love and assurance. Do you see them?
Let us pray ~
Father, help me to learn from Anna’s faithfulness and to pay attention to your face in the people around me. Give me courage to see them as you see them; and to love them and reach out as you did with me. Amen.
God loves you ….