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Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him. – Luke 2:36-40
Our youngest son played on a soccer team called, Relentless Pursuit. Diane and I both marveled, wondering where he got his speed. He was one of the fastest players on the team. Justin, one of his teammates was faster, but Steve was no slouch. He definitely lived up to the name of their team.
Anna is noted for her relentless pursuit: She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She pursued God. Day and night. In the temple. Worshiping and praying. And because of her habitual presence there, she was present when the baby Jesus was brought for his dedication and circumcision. She pursued God, and God showed up.
People today have other relentless pursuits. A quick search of Youtube reveals a host of those who pursue everything from the latest restoration project, to airplanes. I have to confess in that regard…I can all too easily fall down a Youtube wormhole. I’ve graduated from men sawing down large trees, to guys playing with various sized guns, to restorations of toys and other assorted items. Then I discovered the Wristwatch Revival, and Jimmy’s World, a guy who rolls a message at the first of all his videos: “Caution! I am an idiot. Do not take any airplane or financial advice from me. This is to show you how to go bankrupt with airplanes…” In that same spirit: Caution! Do not click on those links above. Youtube will suck you in and you’ll spend half your day watching kids unwrap toys or cats doing silly things. But I digress…
Not all that is totally wasted time. We need a break now and then from the weighty issues of the world: Russian threats to Ukraine. The latest COVID variant. Political posturing and division. These press in on us with relentless tenacity. Once in a while it’s good to be able to take a break. Of course if the break becomes a relentless pursuit all its own, you have a problem. Thankfully I’m not there.
I recently decided to memorize larger sections of Scripture. I have John 1:1-18 down. I know Luke 2:1-20 by heart. I have several psalms memorized. But I’m challenging myself to memorize large sections of the Bible as a means of personal spiritual discipline. One thing I’ve noticed in that pursuit is how God opens up new insights to his word as I hide it in my heart.
I’m not sure my efforts can qualify as relentless pursuit. But I am thankful for any influence of the Holy Spirit to be more like Anna, and less like my newest YouTuber hero.
I need not caution you in regard to pursuing God through meditating and memorizing his word. I’m thinking about memorizing a few chapters from the book of Romans…