“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Here is this woman who was widowed after only seven years of marriage. She never remarried and is now eighty-four and spends her days at the temple worshipping, praying, fasting, and looking at every newborn child that comes into the temple. Her life was in pieces, but she kept looking for that face, that face of God. Anna, whose name means “Favor” or “Grace.” Mary found favor with God and Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. She was from a place named Penuel which means “The face, or appearance of God” from the time of Jacob. Perhaps the most intriguing, and somewhat mysterious information the Gospel gives us about Anna is that she comes from one of the lost tribes of Israel, the house of Asher. But without knowing what exactly happened to the lost tribes after the exile, we do know that at least some of them made their way back to Israel. Anna, a member of the tribe of Asher, was praying, fasting, and worshiping there in the Temple.
God placed a member of a lost tribe, widowed, named Favor or Grace to see the face of God where the lost can be found. God has some very intricate puzzle pieces He can put together at the right place, at the right time, for His glory and His purpose. Let us see what He does with our circumstances and convoluted puzzle pieces.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- What pieces do you have in your life that don’t seem to fit into the puzzle of your life?
- Is there a time in your past when God took a “convoluted puzzle piece” from your life and fit it in a way that you didn’t expect?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jim Sellers, Minister of Music and Sr Adults
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash