Do you recognize Jesus?
I wonder how many times I have prayed for God to show up and then walked right past Him. That's one of the questions I actually don't want an answer to! With an ever present God, we miss Him more often than not. Anna the Prophetess is one of the sweetest characters that gets a very small amount of biblical real estate - have you read her story?
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 for eighty-four years. 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. Luke 2:36-38
This is a woman who is around 105 years old. At the tender age of 21, our Anna was facing a life that was not like the story she had imagined for herself. She comes from one of the "lost tribes" of Israel, and chose to travel to Jerusalem after being widowed. But she knew that God was going to show up. She knew that Israel had sins that were piling up against them, and that Redemption was coming. I wonder if young Anna knew prepared herself to spend 80+ years of praying, fasting, watching - or if she was expecting Redemption to show up tomorrow so that she could go back to regular life. Day and night she stayed at the temple, silently watching and seeking the Redemption all of creation longed for. She had no new testament to tell her what to watch for. No nativity scene on her mantle depicting Mary in the blue robe, and Redemption as a tiny baby in a manger. Anna was simply present, watching and actively seeking Jesus. She knew Him before she saw Him, so when Redemption showed up in a camouflaged package she was one of the first to shout from the rooftops that Jesus was alive. Anna & Simeon were the first to ever preach the Good News, to proclaim that Hope had arrived.
Sweet Anna let God be the Author of her story. When tragedy showed up as she became a young widow, she didn't force another marriage or drown in her own grief. She pressed in to the greater story, made herself available and passionately waited for her opportunity to tell everyone that God shows up. So whatever plot twist happens in your story, may you have the hope of Anna, the wisdom to see Jesus when He shows up, and the courage to tell your story.