I lost my husband, Sam, to cancer after six years of marriage. We were both 33 years old. It’s a strange thing, being a young widow with three small children. I always thought of widows as being much older, like the sweet ladies at church who sing in the choir and wear broaches and sensible shoes. And now, here I am, part of their club.
In the past when I’ve read this brief account of Anna the Prophetess, I’ve sped right through. A widow who devoted her life to God. Got it. But today I read these words with new eyes. Anna, too, was a young widow having been married only 7 years. She knew the pain of having all of her well-laid out plans crushed and the security of her future shaken. How easy it would have been, in her grief and sadness, to become bitter and turn away from God. She could have cursed God for not sparing her from such heartbreak. But no. In the face of unbearable sadness, Anna chose to go all-in. She was a woman of true faith. She wisely fixed her eyes not on the things of this fleeting, temporary world, but on her only hope for real redemption and security that no husband, however amazing, devoted, and loving he may be, could ever offer.
This brief account of her life tells us that Anna chose not to grieve as those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Instead, she drew even closer to God. She took her grief and transformed it into a life of service and worship, dwelling permanently at the temple while patiently waiting on God to fulfill his promise of the coming Christ. Such faith. And imagine when that day finally came. After a lifetime of fasting and prayer, she was finally able to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel right before her very eyes. God had sent His son and proved faithful to his word.
When Sam was diagnosed with cancer just one year into our marriage, my faith was shaken to the core. It had been so easy to coast along when life was good and I was feeling oh so #blessed. But then my world crumbled, and my 6’8 mountain of a man husband got sick and died. My rock was gone. Where was God? We were good people, and Sam was an extraordinary husband and father. Surely I could have given the names of at least 5 other men who deserved to go first. This truly was a “rubber meets the road” turning point in my faith. But it’s stories like Anna’s and so many others that tell the same truth over and over again that have bolstered my faith and keep me going. God is faithful. Anna saw this in a small, helpless baby. I see this on the cross. God has not forgotten me. I know He’s at work in my life, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when I want to re-write a few chapters. He is faithful and He is good. And like Anna (though I make no promises about fasting) I will give thanks and wait patiently on Him. Because that is my only hope and the only future that is truly secure and certain.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION/ REFLECTION:
We’ve all suffered losses, whether it be a death, a divorce or a painful disappointment. How does the coming of Christ change the way you experience grief and loss?
Taking up full-time temple residence as Anna did isn’t an option for modern day Christians. What might living “all-in” with your worship and devotion to God look like for you? How different is this from your current life?
Kristen resides in Vero Beach, FL with her three children; Jack, Alice Ann and Lillie Belle. She loves Jesus, red wine, and baking pies. She uses Instagram to tell her story, regularly posting about widowhood, motherhood, grief, and baked goods.