Back in the early 1980s, the late Tom Petty wrote “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.” While it is obviously a song about a woman, I’m guessing it wasn’t written about the prophet Anna, though it could have been. Anna, Luke tells us, was waiting for the Messiah. For nearly sixty years, Anna had lived in the Temple, praying, fasting, and waiting for God to fulfill the promise of a Messiah who would restore Israel and redeem the whole world.
After almost 11 months of waiting to see y’all in real life, I’m over it. I can’t imagine doing this for another 700 months, 21,500 days, or 516,000 hours, give or take. The waiting is the hardest part, but some things are worth waiting for. For Anna, the wait was certainly worth it. She was a prophet, not in the fortune teller sense. Instead, for Anna, being a prophet meant she was in tune with God’s word. Through her spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting, Anna had cultivated a deep relationship with God. She had received the promise of a Savior, but didn’t know when it would come. As she waited, I’m sure there were days of frustration. I’m sure there were moments of desperation. After 60 years of waiting, I’m certain that Anna had seen the depths of worry and sorrow, but then she saw him, and she knew.
How she knew that this forty-day old baby boy was the one for whom she had waited, I don’t know, but she knew, and she believed, and she praised God for the fulfillment of the promise of a child who would redeem the whole world. As we wait for the full rollout of the vaccine, for life to slowly return to normal, I wonder how God might be calling us to deepen our relationship, to see the world through God’s eyes, and to work toward the Kingdom of God.
The waiting is the hardest part, but in the waiting, there is plenty of work to do. I pray this day that God might give us all the spirit of Anna, that we might wait, patiently and with conviction, for the redemption of the world. Amen.