Today’s Scripture: And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she wasa widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served Godwith fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Luke 2:36–38
True beauty doesn’t come from a bottle. One of the most beautiful women we find in Scripture probably wasn’t very attractive in her appearance — if she married at the age of 14, she would have been at least 105 years old. The woman’s name was Anna, which is pronounced like “Hannah” and means “favored” in Hebrew.
We don’t know very much about Anna, but we do know that she was a prophetess from the tribe of Asher. After 7 years of marriage, her husband died, and she spent the next 84 years faithfully serving the Lord as a widow in the temple at Jerusalem. The Bible tells us this dear woman “served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” And not only that, but Anna was also a soul-winner. When she saw the baby Jesus, she told everyone she knew about Him.
Anna’s beauty was seen in her desire to serve the Lord. She didn’t let the disappointment of her husband’s death early in life make her bitter at God. Instead, she used her disappointment as an opportunity to get closer to God. God blessed her because of her faithfulness, and allowed her to be a blessing to many people.
A woman’s beauty is not based on her appearance, but on her heart. She may have gone through disappointments and heartaches like Anna, but her cheerful attitude and faithful service to Christ make her life radiate with a unique glow that touches others.
Chances are you won’t find the world’s most beautiful woman at a beauty contest. You won’t find her in front of a mirror spending hours trying to make herself look pretty. But you may find her in church, selflessly pouring herself into the lives of others. She could even be living in your house. This woman isn’t hard to find — the way she serves Christ will make her stand out.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder