My mother-in-law, a widow who lives in England, loves Jesus more than anyone else I know. Not long ago, Mum was diagnosed with cancer. Of course, my husband Peter and I were deeply concerned. But Mum? She was excited. “Cancer has given me greater boldness!” she exclaimed on a video call. Then she shared several stories of how she had proclaimed the gospel with more courage than ever before.
In many ways, Mum has followed in the footsteps of Anna. Anna had been widowed after only seven years of marriage, and when she met the baby Jesus, she was “very old” (v. 37). Some commentators explain that she might have been as old as 106—having married around age 15, lived with her husband for 7 years, then served for 84 more years as a widow. The reasoning is that a total age of 84 would not have been so remarkable.
Anna carried the title of “prophetess.” She was known and respected as a woman to whom and through whom God spoke. Luke further bolstered Anna’s credibility by including the name of her father and tribe.
Anna was at the Temple from morning to night—worshiping, fasting, and praying (v. 37). The word used here for “prayer” carries a sense of urgency and need. It seems that Anna continually begged God to fulfill the Messianic promises. And she lived expectantly, so when she saw Simeon take this baby in his arms, she hurried to his side and immediately recognized the Child as the Promised One. Then, she spread the good news among the other like-minded residents of the region.
>> Do you sometimes wonder if your age (or another characteristic) might eliminate you from being used by God? You think, “Surely God can’t use someone like me!” Nothing could be further from the truth! Anna’s story shows that God wants to work in and through each of us.
You, who have been at work through history to accomplish Your will, can use us for the same purpose. We have no inadequacy or failing that Your grace and power cannot overcome. In our weakness, You are strong (2 Cor. 12:9–10).