"[Anna] never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying." ~ Luke 2:37
The Bible tells us that Anna was a prophet and that she was married for seven years before becoming a widow. At that point, she lived in the temple and spent the rest of her life worshipping the Lord with a pure diligence. She understood that her Maker was her spiritual husband and that she was created for intimate relationship with Him (Is. 54:5).
Although most of us live lives that are not cloistered, we can still diligently worship the Lord everywhere God assigns us, even at work. All that's required is that we seek His face, ask Him what's on His heart and then carefully obey Him in excellence.
He will surely respond and guide us because it is His loving desire to commune with us. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.
With the Christmas season right around the corner, intimacy with God easily awaits us. Church cantatas, seasonal worship music in our automobiles and holiday decorations in our homes invite us to slip into quiet time with God and appreciate Him even more. But will we diligently make time for intimacy with Him after the season passes? Will God remain our greatest desire 24/7?
Although, one can only ponder all the desires and burdens that were on Anna's heart as she came before the Lord day and night, year after year, the Bible reveals that the Messiah was surely dear to her.
The NIV note in Luke 2:36 tells us, "Anna praised God for the child Jesus as Hannah had praised God for the child Samuel."
Anna waited a long time for this miracle child to be born, like Hannah waited for her son Samuel's birth. Jesus was an answer to Anna's prayers, just as Samuel was to the formerly barren Hannah.
When Anna approached Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus at the temple, the Bible says, "she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (Lk. 2:38).
Anna could never have done this if she did not know what was on God's heart. And the way Anna knew God's heart was by spending lots of time seeking His heart. In turn, God rewarded Anna by choosing her to deliver a message that He wanted to share with those who would listen. God knew He could trust Anna with important revelations.
Anna surely felt honored. Undoubtedly, seeing her deepest love come forth in manifest presence in the temple (also her home) gave her heart great joy.
Like Anna, what miracles do we anticipate in this season? Do we have the diligent faith of Anna to witness God's greatest manifestations? Do we know His heart and His voice well enough to hear from Him when He shows up?
Like Anna, is God our first love?
My prayer is that all of us would receive great revelations from the Lord as we diligently love on Him and that we would be able to share His heart with those who will listen.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.