It is possible that our greatest disappointments lead to our greatest blessings.
As a young woman, we can only imagine the disappointment and grief Anna suffered at the loss of her husband. Married for only 7 years, widowed for about 84, we can presume that with the death of her husband came the death of her dreams, hopes, and all that she envisioned for her life. While we don’t have much detail to fill in the gaps of her story, we do know what is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, and it is quite telling.
When Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem in order to present Him to the Lord, we read that Anna was also there in the Temple:
“She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:37-38)
Besides admiring her piety and faithfulness, we can’t miss the fact that her greatest disappointment led to her greatest joy: seeing Jesus face to face. While hers is an extreme loss, one not to be thought of lightly, through her example I am confronted with the fact that on any given day, I may face a number of lesser forms of loss, disappointments, and dashed hopes. Do I respond with the faith and poise of Anna? Do I allow my disappointments to draw me closer to the Lord? When what I envisioned doesn’t come to pass, is my tendency to worship Him despite ~ and even in ~ it? Most of all, do I look at my disappointment through the eyes of faith, in order that I might actually SEE Him? And by having my eyes off of me and all that I had hoped for and expected, in seeing Him, do I in turn see those around me who need to hear of His rescuing, as Anna did?
Disappointments are inescapable on this side of eternity. May we take heart and be encouraged from Anna’s story of faith and endurance (84 years of never leaving the Temple before seeing Jesus!). By His grace and through His Spirit, remembering her example, may He do this work in us!
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry, He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed, they will put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:1-3)