Monday, December 17, 2012

Make Known The Message

There was one Anna.

One Anna in the whole Bible, with a hand-full of words that let us peer into a life well-lived.

She is tucked into the pages that Luke the doctor wrote.

Since my walk with Jesus began, I have wondered about her because we have a few things in common.

Anna had been married only a few years and then lost her husband young.

This Anna that never left the temple and how she prayed and fasted all the time. I've thought how strange it was that she could live like this for over eight decades.

I imagine her with light in her face from the time spent with the Lord. Slight in stature. Surely she didn't lug around twenty extra pounds with all that fasting and prayer. I also imagine that she wasn't just "busy." But that she did the things her spirit eyes saw to do.

I've ran my fingers over the words that told of how long she was married and how long she was a widow trying to feel the depth of her pain and desolation that brought her to the end of herself and altered the path she walked with God.

Because at a young age I too stood and watched a husbands body be lowered into the ground. With him I buried deep the love, the dreams and all that was secure. My heart can still tremble at the memory of how nighttime fell with dread of darkness so thick. Like a steep tunnel that spiraled downward with no light at the end. Anxiety would grip my throat with a choke-hold because fear drove the pain like a stake into a shattered heart. Pain for me and pain for my children and all that they would never know that they too had lost.

Was it the same for Anna as it was for me? The living through the crisis. The surviving crazy grief. The dying to all that was lost. Or was it worse? And at what point did she cling to the pillar of the temple refusing to let go of God, while dressed in black, after love had died?

Early this year I read her story again. This time I saw things in Anna that changed how I've chosen to live this year of 2012. The woman who had lost everything and yet lived like she had it all.

At least all that was important.

You see Anna didn't talk about how to live a life that honored God.

She just lived it.

And she lived it completely surrendered.

She lived it completely available.

Re-reading her story made me want to be more available to serve the Lord. I could start with how I approach Sundays. To not run in the door at the last minute or run out as the last song plays. What would happen if  I were to come early? Really early. And then linger long afterwards. What if I were not rushing to the next thing or restaurant?

And what if I prayed more?  Maybe not night and day.

Just more.

It says that Anna was a Prophetess.

I love that. Certainly it has to mess with someones theology.

But it is written in black and white and ink on paper, all matter-of-fact, that a woman from the lost tribe of Asher was a Prophetess.

So she used the gifts given her to serve. I determined to use my gifts to serve more. I could do that.

Yes every day serve Him. But on Sunday when people gather at the building needing to be built up I could be there to encourage and comfort and pray and love more.

So this has been a year of living more like the example of this one Anna.

Just being available.

It has been a tender shift in thinking that has given me new eyes to see the needs of others.

It occurred to me that Anna's story is really a Christmas story.

She lived her life with eyes of faith, believing that God was going to send a Savior for his people.  And the time came when she was able to see with her eyes and touch with her hands what she had believed by faith all those years in her heart.

She actually got to meet the baby Jesus.

Isn't it just like God that the father of Anna is named by name? And his name Phanuel means "the face of God"? 

But before Anna ever laid eyes on Jesus she had recognized Him with her heart. 

She had let the dark and broken places in her life be lived out as a changed life. She was a woman who experienced profound loss. In fact in her Jewish culture given no inheritance at all.  Yet she was mentioned by name in the Bible, was counted valuable and left a legacy of Jesus.

Ultimately Anna lived her life to make known the message of God.

That's what I want my life to look like too.

Photo Credit

This week in the pure craziness of the season I just don't want to miss seeing Jesus.

My prayer is that you won't miss seeing Him either.

If you haven't read her story.....

* Just an extra side note. If you do the math, Anna was over a hundred years old when she met Jesus. I wonder if she got to go home to heaven before He did.

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