Prophetess Anna : Fulfilling God's Purpose In Old Age
Prophetess Anna : Fulfilling God’s Purpose in Old Age
“There was also a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then she was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thank to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Luke 2:36 - 38
When you are already in your old age , in your seventies or in your eighties or even nineties will you still find purpose in life ?
Many people in their old age are losing their vigor and zest for life. They live life without usefulness and purpose, just wasting their life away until their death. Many of them just live idle lives spending all their hours in front of television viewing programs that will never bring them any inch closer to God . But this is not what God intended for us to live out our old age. Our old age could still be a life of great purpose and meaning if we are living in the center of God’s will.
In our passage today, we look up to our role model, the prophetess Anna. Anna is a woman who married in her earlier years only to become a widow. When her marriage was just blossoming, her husband died and never remarried again. Now at the timing of this passage she was already eighty-four, far advanced in years. Anna now is a widow and elderly. Instead of seeking comfort in the world for all the pains she experienced in life particularly the untimely death of her husband, Anna sought refuge and comfort in the loving arms and presence of God. At 84, Anna’s life is not futile for she lived it in complete devotion to God, She lived a life of worship, prayer and witness. According to the passage , she never left the temple but worshipped God night and day fasting and praying.
Usually people in old age will just spend most of their time in front of television particularly here in the Philippines where there is a proliferation of telenovelas . They never give time to enrich and deepen their relationship with God. They will never give time to meditation of God’s Word and prayer. They will rather be entertained by the world rather than experience the presence of God..
But prophetess Anna gave all her time to God spending it daily in His presence. She loves to worship God daily and don’t mind giving all her time to prayer and fasting. And when she met the baby Jesus in the temple, she became God’s ardent witness to all people regarding the truth about the Christ child. Worshipping God, praying and fasting, witnessing to the lost world about Christ, that’s how Anna spent her old age, which I believe the best way we could spend our old age, rather than giving time to wordly and ungodly activities.
Yes, we could still live a life of great purpose in our old age if we commit our time to the Lord. I could think of Mrs. Ortile , an elderly lady in our church who is already in her late eighties. Mrs. Ortile at age 89, still sing for the Lord and even do visitation. She is still active in her group known as the “Joy Ladies.” This group is a group of elderly ladies in our church. This group of elderly ladies are still active in prayer activities of our church inspite of their physical discomforts and infirmities. They still sing during special number in the church worship service and even do visitation. Whenever I think of them, I could look forward to “glory days” in old age.
Aging is inevitable. Unfortunately society has taught us to fear advancing age and to disguise its reality as much as possible. But aging can actually be a wonderful thing if it is lived for God’s glory. Followers of JesusChrist have the capacity to get significantly better with age as Apostle Paul put it : “Even though our outward man is perishing yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. “ 2 Corinthians 4:16
Never say that you are too old to do God’s work, as long as you have breath you can still do great things for God. If you are not strong enough to do evangelism, at least you can pray. You can still have a wonderful prayer ministry in your old age. The world still need much prayer warriors and the ministry of intercession is a very high calling. You can still do spiritual warfare in old age through your prayers. You can still tear down strongholds in your old age through your warfare praying.
Truly prophetess Anna fulfilled God’s great purposes for her life in her old age, because she lived a life spent in devotion and great glory for God. Though the world may look at it as not the best way to spend old age, but truly it is a kind of life that brings true happiness, serenity and glory to one’s soul.