Have you ever been on vacation and spot someone you think you know? It takes you a few seconds then you realize you definitely know this person. This past week my husband and I have been on vacation in the mountains. One of our boys and his family were also on vacation in the same area with his wife’s family. My daughter-in-love and I had already talked about how we were going to be at the Dillard House Restaurant on Sunday but weren’t sure if the times would match up.
It ended up working out that we were all going to be there around the same time. They had already been seated and were eating but of course Gigi & Big Daddy wanted some hugs from three of our grands (and to see our son and daughter-in-love!) Tenley had her back to us so we got to surprise her but Jase was facing us. When he first spotted us, the look on his face was like – ‘Wait I know her – that looks like my Gigi, but how can she be here’. Keep in mind he is 6 so it took him a few seconds to comprehend that this was really his Gigi and Big Daddy. And of course as soon as he did, his face lit up!
This made me think of Anna the prophetess and how she recognized the Messiah even when he was less than three months old.
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 36-38
These are the only three verses in the Bible about Anna but we have much to learn from her.
First of all, we learn that she is of the tribe of Asher. Asher was considered to be one of the lost tribes of the Northern kingdom of Israel during the exile to Babylon. However, God had not lost track of this tribe and He makes a point of us knowing that Anna was a somebody! Next we learn that she is advanced in age – she is old and had been a widow for most of her life. She had only been married for seven years then lived in the temple since then (for at least 60 years). She dedicated her life to sharing her faith with people in the temple – she told them about the promised Messiah. We also see that she was committed to her faith – she fasted, worshipped and prayed – daily! Even in the midst of hardships (being a widow in this time was not easy) she remained faithful.
Then one day – one ordinary day like so many of the other days for the last sixty plus years – something spectacular takes place! We read in the verses just prior to the ones about Anna, that Joseph and Mary took the infant Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice for him as custom required. Simeon had just blessed the Christ child and at that very hour Anna comes up and recognizes immediately what is taking place. And what does she do? She gives thanks to God and continues to tell the others about the Messiah – the redemption they had been waiting for,
Okay so now back to Jase. It took a few seconds for Jase’s little mind to connect that it was really me that was there in a different city, hours from home, in the same restaurant he was in. He wasn’t looking for me. He wasn’t expecting me to just show up at his table.
But Anna was waiting for the day to see the Messiah. She had no idea she would actually get to but she must have wondered if today would indeed be the day. And then one day it happened and when it did – she did not even hesitate – not even for a few seconds. Why? Because she was prepared to see Him. She was waiting, watching and expecting to see Him.
Oh how I want to be like Anna. I want to be so committed to Jesus that I am always alert and watching to see where He is. I never want to miss Him in any form in my life or in the lives of other believers around me.
This is my prayer for 2020 – to be so sure of His presence in my life that I never have to hesitate or wonder if it’s Him, even if for only a second.