With only 3 verses that speak of her, Anna is one of the lesser known characters in The Bible. According to The Bible, Anna was a very old prophet, the daughter of Penuel, and became a widow after seven years of marriage. Anna’s story can be found in Luke 2:36-38. From her story, we can learn 3 life lessons.
Anna shows us that we can endure through life’s challenges, we should be consistent, and we should share what we learn.
Before we look at each of these lessons in more detail, if you are unfamiliar with Anna in The Bible, here is her story for quick reference.
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. 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.Luke 2:36-38 (NIV)
Anna Endured Through Life’s Challenges
The first lesson Anna teaches us is that we can endure life’s challenges. The Bible points out that Anna became a widow after being married only seven years, yet lived until the age of 84 unmarried. Not only that, through the rest of her life she remained committed to serving God.
During a time when women were highly dependent on a husband, Anna’s endurance without one for all those years should not be taken lightly. We don’t see her begging God for a new husband nor blaming God for her short marriage. No, despite experiencing one of life’s greatest challenges, the death of a spouse, she goes on to live a long productive life.
There Is A Way Through Life’s Challenges
In the midst of life’s challenges, we often can’t see how we could get through it. Not seeing a way out can cause us to get anxious and possibly lead us to lose our faith in God. Anna shows us that we don’t have to fear and that we can not only endure but even thrive after experiencing major challenges in life.
Think about the last life challenge you got over. Didn’t it seem like all was lost while you were going through it? If you are currently facing a life challenge, know that you can get through it. Before you face the next challenge, remember you can get to the other side. If Anna endured, so can you!
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Anna Was Consistent
The next life lesson from Anna is to be consistent. Luke 2:37 says “she never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (NIV). In Anna’s case, she consistently served God in the temple and it became one of the things we know her for today. Like her, we should not only be consistent in serving God, but in other areas of our lives.
You Will Be Known For What You Consistently Do
One reason we should be consistent is that it will be what we are known for. Anna’s consistency in serving God in the temple is what she was known for. So much so that it was included in the only 3 short verses of The Bible that speak of her.
If the people who know you wrote 3 sentences to summarize your life, what would it say? Chances are, it will be the things that stand out most about you; the things you consistently do.
Everyone Loves Consistency
Everyone loves a consistent person. Being consistent means you can be depended on. If you were trying to find Anna, you were guaranteed to find her in the temple. If she told you she is praying for you, there would be no doubt in your mind if she was.
Just like you love and depend on the consistency of your favorite place to eat. People love and depend on consistent people. In addition to people, God desires consistency. To the lukewarm church of Laodicea, he says “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Revelations 3:15 NIV).
Like Anna was consistent, strive to be consistent. Thousands of years later we remember her because of her consistency and undoubtedly God and others loved her for it. Let it be the same for you.
Anna Shared What She Learned
The final life lesson from Anna that we’ll look at is to share what you learn. Oftentimes in life, we learn things that make a big difference in our lives but neglect to share them with others. In the same way, we appreciate someone teaching us certain truths, we should do the same for others.
According to Luke 2:38, Anna upon discovering the Messiah not only gave thanks to God but “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (NIV).
Taking What You Know For Granted
One of the reasons we fail to share what we learn with others is that we take our newfound knowledge for granted. We often assume that if we know something, surely others know it too.
Even if we have to start off by saying “you may already know this” we should do our best to share the things that made a difference in our lives so that it makes a difference in the lives of others too.
Share With Those Who Are Interested
Another point to note about Anna sharing what she learned about Jesus was that she only shared it with “all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38 NIV). In other words, she only shared it with those who were interested.
As you probably know, it’s a big difference when you talk to someone interested in a subject vs someone that isn’t. For similar reasons Jesus spoke publicly in parables but gave explanations to his disciples (Matthew 13:10-12).
Also, in sending his disciples out, Jesus told them “if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14 NIV).
So save yourself the pain of sharing what you know with those who aren’t interested. It may be the same reason Anna only shared the news with just those looking forward to it.
Although the story of Anna in The Bible is just 3 verses long, it contained some life lessons. From Anna you learned that you can endure through life’s challenges, to be consistent, and to share what you learn.