WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS
“Lord, may the eyes of my heart be enlightened so I may know the hope to which You have called me” (Eph. 1:18).
Read Luke 2:36–40
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
a Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you met someone who has devoted their entire life and existence to God’s service?
Anna is one of those people in the Bible it would be easy to miss. She doesn’t have a big or particularly dramatic role, and if you were around at the time it might have been easy to write her off as a slightly batty and intense old lady. But even from the scanty details we have about her, there is enough to give us pause.
Seven short years into her marriage, Anna became a widow. Widows at that time were among the most vulnerable of society, to be pitied and feared for. This was not the life Anna would have chosen for herself. But look at what she does with her remaining years: she moves into the Temple and devotes herself to worship and prayer. By the age of 84 Anna is so finely attuned to the voice of God that she immediately recognizes Jesus as the one who will redeem Jerusalem.
When things go wrong I often succumb to self-pity and “if onlys.” Anna inspires me to remember that a life lived for God can always be made beautiful. I hope that her story will be a gift to you today, whatever you may be facing.
God has promised to make something good out of everything that comes to those he loves—maybe you just can’t see the good yet. Open your hands in surrender and choose to trust God to work it out.
Holy Spirit, show me the struggles I am facing in a new light.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.