The crowing of the rooster stirred her. She could hear the sound of people beginning to fill the streets. It was a new day. Like so many days before, Anna smiled, pulled back her cover and knelt face down on the floor.
“How many years has it been now, Lord? (she chuckles) Too many to count that’s for sure. Yet, You’ve always been with me. Even as a child, I knew You were near.”
Anna’s mind slowly filled with memories of her childhood. She went back to the days that were spent splashing in puddles with her siblings. They would splash and play until every one of them was wet and covered from head to toe in mud.
Her Mother would scold them for getting their clothes wet and dirty, but her Daddy would laugh at them. More than once he had told their Mother, to let the children enjoy their childhood, soon they would be gone, and there wouldn’t be much laughter in the house.
Rain was typical for their area in the tribe of Asher along the Mediterranean Coast. Each day seemed to bring only more puddles and more splashing. Mom would shake her head, “There’s always more water and mud than there are clothes!”
“Oh, how I loved our little house. We lived further inland and did not get to see the great sea much. I remember our first visit there. I can still smell the salty waters, Lord. I remember that day so well. That day when I met him….”
It was the most perfect day. Not too hot or too cold, but just right. Her Father had planned this special trip for her brother’s thirteenth birthday. Her brother was the oldest of the children with her falling only a year behind him. There were five of them total.
Chasing after the little ones and keeping them on the right path seemed a small price for this day, Anna had thought. Later that day when her Mother remarked on how someday soon she’d be chasing her own children, she felt a rush of heat to her face that was new and exciting, yet somewhat frightful at the same time. Anna had a feeling there was something different about this day. She was consumed by a mixed feeling of emotions running through her and she had no idea what they meant. Each footstep that brought her closer to her destination caused anticipation grew in her soul.
“What was it Lord? What was it about this day that was so different from all the rest?” Anna remembered whispering. Raising her head to take in the view of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, she saw him…and only him.
He stood there on the shore looking out over the waves. There was something special about him, Anna could feel it deep within her. When he turned he looked straight into her eyes. There she stood before him, heart bounding and mind reeling. Then he smiled at her and she smiled back. Anna knew in that moment that her life was forever changed.
“He was a good man Lord. So kind and gentle. Thank You for allowing us the chance of love.”
Anna soon found out the boy who had stolen her heart with a smile was the same age as her brother. The boys became friends that day. Anna’s father often thought it was so he could get close to her. He had teased her about it when he came to visit only a few weeks later. As the days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, his visits came more often and he stayed longer.
“You know that boy’s not coming just to see your brother don’t you Anna?” her Mom had questioned her that early fall afternoon as they gathered what was left of the summer garden.
Anna stood with an apron full of vegetables only to drop them as she locked eyes with him. Her heart hammered so hard in her chest that she knew mother had to hear it too. But her mother only laughed and picked up the bounty that was scattered on the ground.
“Go on,” she had motioned. “Go on over and talk to him. From the looks of his face I think he has something important to say.”
She looked back at her mom noticing the smile of approval on her face and the vibrant twinkle in her eye.
Giggling to herself, “I don’t know who was more nervous, Lord, me or him? But You knew we were destined to be together. It was Your plan from the very beginning. I can still hear the trembling in his voice as he asked me to walk with him.”
“Anna,” the way he had said her name sent shivers down her spine and brought a fresh rosy pinkness to her cheeks. “May we walk together? I have something I would like to ask you.”
They began to walk slowly towards the olive grove. Neither of them saying a word until their hands accidently brushed up against each other. In that moment all of the universe froze in time. Hearts racing, faces flushing, yet unable to even look at each other.
“Anna, I wanted to tell you, I mean, I want to say, I mean, I want to ask you that is, umm, well, would you consider, I mean if you would like to that is, would you give me the honor, and well it would be a great honor, but you should feel free to say no, but I would like for you to please consider it. Would you?”
Slowly lifting her eyes to meet his, Anna asked, “Consider what?”
“Oh, my, I wanted to ask, oh wow, this is harder than I anticipated. Anna, you are so beautiful and such a sweet and special girl. I am so out of my league. I would really like to court you and hopefully become betrothed to you. But, that’s only if you think like that, and, well, if you don’t I’ll understand. I mean, I really don’t have a lot to offer you. But I would do anything for you, Anna. I mean if you would accept me.”
Anna smiled softly and nodded, “I think I would like that very much.”
“The year following that special night passed like a whirlwind. Mama and I spent countless hours together talking of the days to come and what I should expect as a new bride. Lord, I do miss my Mama. She sure did love You. Thank You for allowing me to have her as my Mama. She taught me that being a Godly submitted wife was a way of worship. She made a good home for us. She and Daddy had a special relationship. They were so close. Both seeking Your will. You always came first in our home. Thank You for my Daddy. His example made it so easy to know that I had found my soulmate. He showed me what it was like to be truly loved by a Father. His love was a mere reflection of Your love.”
“Anna, my first born daughter,” her Father said as he pulled her into his arms, “My beautiful Anna. I pray you will always be as happy as you have made me. You’re all grown up now. Starting a family of your own. I hope you know your Mother and I are so proud of you. We will always be here for you Anna, always.”
There were tears in her Daddy’s eyes as she walked away with her new husband. Those first few years were hard. The expectancy of a child weighed heavy on them both, but with each new month, there was still no infant cry to be heard from their home. Anna didn’t give up though, she just knew in God’s timing she too would hold a very special baby in her arms.
“How I wish things had been different, but then again, that would not have been Your plan would it Father? No, Lord, even now I know You knew best. Even that dreadful day when the news came that I was now a barren widow, I knew it was in Your plan. The pain is still as real as it was those eighty some years ago.”
“Aunt Anna, Aunt Anna!” came the cry from her young nephew as he ran towards their house. “Father said come quickly. The tree it fell. It fell on…” His words were broken by the heavy sobs of pain coming deep from within.
Anna fell to the ground, holding her chest, “No, Lord, say it isn’t so. Please Father in Heaven let this be a dream. I can’t live without him. I can’t bear it…I can’t”, Anna cried.
The next few days were all a blur. Anna stared into the distance only to answer when she had to, but made no attempt at conversation beyond that. Her short married life was over. There were no children, no one to hold on to, and no one to bring her comfort in her greatest despair.
Her family and friends tried to console her. Her parents talked her into coming back home with them for a while. The grief and pain was so hard to bare. Anna spent most of her days staring out towards the olive grove, begging and pleading for this nightmare to end. She wandered through her days as a lost soul. The only happiness she found was in those first few minutes of sleep when her dreams were filled with her beloved. The dreams never lasted long before they gave into the same horrid nightmare. Over and over again, they came, as the days slowly slipped into months.
“Then that day finally came. Lord. The day I awakened from my slumber. I had cried and begged You to return my joy and heal my broken heart. But it wasn’t until I confessed my anger that You touched me. All those days of crying were nothing compared to this day. The tears before came from a deep loss. These tears were new and different. These tears came from a heart that had grown cold. A heart that had raised walls. A heart that was full of resentment.”
“I had never known that kind of peace before. There in the midst of the olive trees, I poured out my soul before You. I was broken and shattered and You picked up the pieces and began to put them back together. You did not judge me and condemn me for my anger. No, like a Father who loves His children, You held me close.”
“It was my honesty with You, Lord that opened the gates of my closed heart. It was then I began to feel Your love shower over me. Such a sweet unexplainable peace flooded my being. It was then that I knew my life belonged to You. My days since have been spent here in Your temple, praising and worshipping You. I’ve never been sorry, even when others had thought I was crazy. (laughing softly) They all thought I should remarry, but they did not understand. No matter how hard I tried to explain, they just could not comprehend that You were my life. And You still are today.”
‘I don’t know what this day has in store of me, but for some reason, Father, I feel as though You have something special planned. Could it be that this is the day when I finally see Your face. The face of my beloved. Whatever it is, Lord, I trust You with it. Whatever it is I will praise You. You are my Life, my Hope, and my Redeemer. From now until I see You face to face, I will continue to worship and praise You, Jehovah. My Rock and My Shelter. Selah.”
Anna rose from the floor with a bold determination to make this day count. This day was special and she knew it. Somehow God was going to do something amazing and she was grateful to be a part of it.
Walking towards the temple, Anna’s heart began to beat faster. Her soul filled with anticipation and she began to sing, “This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Anna caught the faces of the many people who filled the streets and gates of the temple. So many people in such a hurry. So many people lost and uncertain. So many people hurting and dying within. They all needed Hope. They all needed Him, the Anointed One, the Messiah. Anna quietly prayed that God would hear the cry of His people and He would restore them to what they once were, His chosen ones.
Her heart stopped beating with a thunderous loud beat when she entered the temple. Her eyes fell on Simeon. Who was that couple he was talking to? The man held in his hands a pair of turtledoves and two young pigeons. They were there to present their firstborn son to the Lord.
The baby cooed and the mother turned just enough for Anna to see the face of the child. She grabbed her chest and slowly her hand made its way to her mouth. It was Him. The Promised One. God in the Flesh.
Anna willed her feeble and failing legs to move, with each step becoming lighter until she ran to Him. His face was so peaceful, so serene. In all her years, she had never witnessed anything like this. Tears of joy and happiness were streaming down her face. Her smile was radiant. After the ceremony, Simeon handed her the child.
And there she stood, looking into the face of God. How beautiful it was. How pure and holy He felt. His little eyes were filled with love. His smile was contagious with undeniable happiness. Words could not describe the feelings that washed over her. She was holding the Messiah in her arms. Her salvation. With a trembling finger, she lightly brushed his cheek and His little fingers wrapped around hers.
Her God was holding her hand as He had always done. Her heart began to beat again with passion. Her mouth could not hold back its praise. There in the midst of the hurrying and busyness Anna proclaimed His Majesty. She held Him for all to see, that God was faithful. He was true to His Word. God had come to redeem His people once and for all. She handed the infant to His mother as her soul filled with jubilant joy.
Her worn old body had been renewed as she began to dance around worshipping and praising Yahweh. Her feet moved swiftly and her voice was the sound of an angel. Her hands were raised towards heaven in pure genuine praise to El Shaddai, the Almighty God. Her song echoed through the corridors of the cold stone hallways.
“I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
“Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.”*
The crowd that had gathered watched Anna with wonder in their eyes. Some laughed, some mocked, and some even feared she was possessed.
“Laugh and mock me if you will, but hear my words. God is faithful. He has sent His Salvation to us. Our Hope is restored. Our Faith has become sight. This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I have seen My Lord, I have held Him in my hands. The One who has held me through all of life is here among His people. Our Redeemer is dwelling among us.”
Anna retired later that afternoon to her room. What a glorious day it had been. Her heart was still full of praise. She had held a very special baby in her arms. She had held the love of her life in her hands. The same God that had held her through all of her life, had wrapped His tiny fingers around hers.
Before lying down for the night, Anna peered out into the night sky.
“Thank You for this day. You’ve been so faithful to me. I stand in awe that You would choose to let me see Your face, to touch it, to hold You in my hands. Every day of these 100 plus years has all lead to this moment. This day, I saw You face to face. The only way this day could be better would be to enter Your presence to stay and dwell through all eternity. When all other memories fail me, Father, I pray this one remains. Thank You for loving me. Selah.”
Anna’s Song is based on her short story found in Luke chapter 2. Only 3 verses tell of her life and her love for God, but those 3 verses share a wonderful testimony. As I read over these verses and thought of Anna my heart was filled with love for her.
I can’t imagine what it was like for her. She was just a young girl. I can see her face in my mind as she is preparing for her wedding. She was just like you and I. She had her life all planned out. She would marry, have children and grow old with the love of her life. But all too soon, Anna’s dream became a night mare.
In his detailed description, Luke does not say anything about her children, therefore I assumed she had none. I, too, have felt the despondency of longing for a child. It creates a vacuum in your soul that sucks the life out of you. Yet, Anna had hope. She had only been married for 7 years. I can see her now, remember the ones who God had remembered and blessed after years of begging for a child. I hear her calling out Sarah’s name, Rebekah’s and Hannah’s among many others as she prayed. Yet, in the end she found herself alone, a heart-broken, childless widow.
What pain she must have endured during those first years after her husband’s death. But in the midst of her agony, Anna found God. Her testimony declares that He became the love of her life. Her relationship with Him was unshakeable, sincere and without hypocrisy.
In her tragedy, Anna turned to the only one who could make her whole. Our tragedy may not be like Anna’s, but we all have something in our lives that has left us feeling lost and vulnerable. Anna’s Song gives us hope in knowing whatever has been broken and shattered, God can and will mend and repair it when we place our trust in Him.
Anna’s faithfulness and trust in God was rewarded with a priceless gift. Of all the women in Israel, she held the Son of God. She saw Him face to face. She touched Him. You and I will never have the blessing Anna had, but each one of us have the opportunity to witness God’s miraculous touch in our lives. It is up to us to decide if we want it or not.
Let Anna’s Song become your song. Let God have the broken and shattered pieces of your life. Watch with great anticipation and hope as He performs miracle after miracle for you.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”-Psalm 28:7
Father, I thank You for picking up the shattered mess of my life and making it into something new and beautiful. Thank You for making a testimony out of my brokenness. Thank You for the abundant hope that I have in You. May my voice ever sing Your praises until at last I see You face to face. In Jesus name I pray. Amen