A Lesson From Anna: What Is Your Loss Producing?
Anna of the Bible is only mentioned in two versus in Luke 2. But she is mentioned as a widow, a prophetess, and a woman who served God with prayer and fasting, even in her old age. Anna lost her husband as a young wife, just seven years into her marriage, and here she is introduced in the text eighty four years after her loss. The loss of a spouse that early in life had the capacity to embitter and derail Anna's life. In Anna's time, a husband was often a woman's only protection (physically, financially, materially and spiritually). Imagine serving God faithfully only to lose your husband.
Would you have been bitter? Would you have been angry with God? Would you have shrunk away from life itself and disappear into your loneliness and the awful turn that life had taken?
Many of us do. When something we consider precious (and even, godly) is snatched away, we will have a reaction of some kind. Shock, anguish, hopelessness are all perfectly human responses to sudden loss. But what do we do in the long term? After the condolences stop and everyone leaves us to the quiet of the life we must now navigate, how are we moving forward?
Some of us are not. We stop exactly at the point where brokenness entered our life and refuse to grow or go any further. Decades after our loss, we find ourselves stagnant - stuck in the moment of impact. But Anna was not known by her grief. The text never described her as a woman of sorrow and grief. The Bible calls her a woman of endless or continuous prayer and fasting. Anna turned her loss into worship by dedicating her life to serving God in whatever capacity He would have her. The Bible calls her a prophetess - a woman who can discern what the Spirit of God is saying and give the message accurately to His people. Anna was totally devoted to her Lord and she spoke about Him to everyone who would listen.
Anna's loss produced a consecrated life and a ministry that spoke Jesus to all who came in contact with her. If you have suffered any loss in your life, what is it producing for you? Is it anger against God or devotion to Him as Lord of all? Is your loss producing a life lost in grief or one that is yet still trusting God to pick up the pieces and make something beautiful?
We don't know at what point Anna was able to turn her grief into worship so we cannot presume to say that it was immediately or if it took decades. But the Bible says that "better is the end of a thing than its beginning" (Ecclesiastes 7:8. ESV). So, regardless of how long it may have taken Anna to cultivate her attitude of utter devotion, prayer and fasting unto the Lord, the fact of the matter is that at the sunset of her life, the Bible records that she was found faithful in the things of God.
Take a page out of Anna's story. Let your loss produce something that testifies to the watching world that truly there is redemption in the Lord for anyone who seeks it (Luke 2: 36-38).