Luke 2:37 She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
In many places the Bible uses hyperbole, using exaggeration to make a point, and this is one of those. Anna certainly slept sometimes, and she probably even left the temple precincts occasionally, but the picture is certainly clear. I think we do well to read this not as a physical description, but rather as a an expression of “she never left the presence of the Lord.” Courtesy of the Holy Spirit, that’s something we can all aspire to! This would definitely be described as a “cameo” appearance in the Bible, since we have no other mention of her, but what an honor nonetheless! God reveals things to those who live in His presence, and Anna was given the privilege of being one of the first people to announce the Messiah to those who had not yet heard. Sometimes we create grandiose dreams and images in our own minds of how we are going to be “mighty in the Kingdom,” but we would do well to follow Anna’s example. Rather than “carving out our niche,” we need to be focused on the Lord Himself, and getting closer to Him. If we will do that, He will use us in ways we would not have imagined, which will not only be for His glory, but also for our greatest blessing.
This really rings a bell for me, because Cathy and I have spent the past couple of days with someone cut from the “Anna” mold. Like Anna, she is a widow (though not from such a young age) and also like Anna, she spends every moment in the presence of the Lord. As a result, she is greatly used across a wide spectrum, from personal counseling to leadership in an international Christian organization. The other morning when I showed up for breakfast she delivered a Word from the Lord to me, and I was enormously encouraged. How individual believers might follow in Anna’s footsteps will look different in each case, because we are indeed individuals, but the common thread will always be total devotion to our Lord, making fellowship with Him the first goal and highest good. If that is the attitude and focus of our hearts, then we will walk in obedience to Him as open channels of His love and grace to those around us, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this Word. Help me indeed fit the “Anna mold,” neither grieving nor quenching Your Spirit but resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You, just as You have told me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!