Are our losses drawing us closer to God?
The portrait sketched by Luke of Anna is a bleak one: widowed after only seven years of marriage, she was now in her old age. Yet she comes across not as lonely, or sad, or bitter. Instead, we have an astonishing portrait of someone whose life is marked by worship and an incredible attentiveness to the voice of God.
A permanent resident in the presence of God – never leaving the temple – Anna’s days were full of worship, both day and night. Her prophetic ministry was fuelled by an urgent seeking after God, fasting and praying. Anna’s worship leads her, like Simeon, to encounter Jesus. Like Simeon, she recognises in the child Jesus the promises of God being fulfilled. Thankfulness to God and testifying about Jesus close off Luke’s description.
Whether we are passing through a period of abundance or loss, Anna’s is an example to emulate: seeking the presence of God, worshipping day and night, urgently listening for his voice, responding to the Spirit’s leading, giving thanks to God, and telling others about Jesus. What would change in our lives – and in the lives of those we encounter today – if such things characterised our response to our losses?