A Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope: Even in Old Age
By Sharon W. Betters
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. -Psalm 92:14-15
We meet Anna when she is at least eighty-four years old, some think she is 105! Little did she know when her husband died and left her as a young widow, her perseverance as a woman of God, who chose to live life as a servant in God’s house, would lead her to not only observe but be a crucial part of one of the most profound moments in Jewish history.
Instead of turning into an angry, bitter old woman who demanded others serve her, Anna travels the pathway created by God just for her, by praying and fasting and serving her community day and night. Don’t miss the life-giving model of encouragement that flowed from her into the lives of those she served. How many young women watched Anna regularly pray and express her love for God through her servant’s heart? How many men learned how to love their wives and children because of timely comments from Anna? How many children found a safe place in Anna’s arms? Luke doesn’t give us the answers to these questions, but his description of her certainly gives us a good idea of the fruit Anna continued to bear in her old age.
Anna’s mission in life was to declare the goodness of her God. I imagine her praying quietly, but loud enough for those closest to her, to hear words like these fall from her lips:
Oh LORD, You are my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my future. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. -Psalm 16:5-6
When Anna’s life fell apart, her default system was to fall into the arms of her faithful God, her chosen portion and her cup. Others might have concluded God had abandoned her when her husband died. Instead, at the end of her life, her declaration would be: The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
At the end of her life, Anna had the privilege of being a messenger of Good News! God had kept His promise. She could declare that:
The Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. -Psalm 92:15 ESV
Oh Lord, Anna persevered in the pathway You marked out for her. At the end of her life, she continued to demonstrate the fruit of Your presence in her heart and through her actions. Yet unlike Anna, we have Jesus living in us. How much more should we choose life, when being tempted to choose bitterness?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a nonprofit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children, and fourteen grandchildren.
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