Grace for the Race
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; ~Luke 2:36
One of the marvels about the grace of God is that it is God’s strength made perfect in weakness. As we get older, there is the reality that we start to slow down and our health starts to decline. We have less energy and become weaker. Many people, as they age, use their slowdown and weakening as a reason for doing less for the Lord. However, as we study the life of Anna, we see how God gives us grace for the race.
We see Anna’s devastation.
Anna experienced widowhood very early in her marriage. Her husband tragically passed away around the seventh year of their marriage. She remained a widow for the remainder of her life. The Bible tells us that she was a widow of about 84 years. As a young, married woman, she experienced this heartache and loss. In most situations, a young man or young woman is devastated when their young spouse passes away so soon. There is stress and sorrow that is unimaginable unless we have walked down this pathway. Let us remember this: when great sorrow comes into our life, it has a way of defining our priorities and pathway. It was at this critical time that she needed to draw from the grace of God to keep her going.
We see Anna’s devotion.
“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.” As we read verse 37, her life did not stop when became a widow. She found purpose and meaning. We read that she “departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Notice, she departed not from the temple. When we have sorrow, that is the time that we need to be in God’s house and be fed with God’s Word the most. When we have sorrow, it is important that we stay busy serving the Lord. Her purpose in life focused on how God’s grace through worship, service, prayer, and fasting would help her to grow during her time of difficulty. Be careful that hard times and tragedy do not steal your devotion for God.
We see Anna’s declaration.
“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.” Mary and Joseph brought the Baby Jesus to the temple for His dedication. Anna was a prophetess. She gave herself to the study of Scripture and anticipated the Messiah’s coming. She heard Simeon speaking to Mary, and her faith in the coming of our Lord was rewarded. She gave thanks and spoke of Jesus. Anna testified that Jesus was the Messiah Who was come for the sins of the world. She became an avid and fervent witness of Jesus and the salvation that He was to bring to the world.
We see Anna’s depiction.
Anna was of the tribe of Asher. “Asher” means “happy.” A prophecy by Moses was given many years before about the tribe of Asher. “And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:24-25). Anna experienced the reality of this prophecy. God gave her strength for her days. She experienced the fruit of walking in the Spirit (“let him dip his foot in oil”). Her life was full, contented, and blessed because she trusted in God’s grace for her life. By the way, her name means “grace.” Yes, she depicts for us a grace that God gives us for the race.
Have a grace-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Joel