Luke 2 v 22-27, 36-38.
Can a person die of a broken heart?
Can we be so sad that we just stop wanting to live? Doctors say yes.
Some people today can get so unhappy that they just don’t want to live any more. Sometimes if a person has an accident or are very sick they just give up and don’t even try to get better. But that is very sad and not what God wants. Yes, you can be sad. Yes, some very awful things happen. You might find you are in a lot of pain for a while. But God can help you to enjoy the good things again. The sad times will pass. The pain can be eased.
God has given you a life to live, and a purpose that He wants you to fulfil. He has a reason for you being here – if you serve and obey God then you will be doing what He wants.
The Bible tells us about a lady called Anna. When Anna was about 17 years old she got married to a wonderful man. Well, we assume he was wonderful because Anna was a wonderful woman and she surely would choose a special man. Anna and her husband didn’t have any children, but they were happy together and they both loved God. Then one day, after they had been married only 7 years, Anna’s husband died. How sad Anna was. She had no children of her own to look after, and no husband to earn the money for food and clothes. In those days a widow (that is a lady whose husband has died) would have to go back to her own parents house to live – or else she just gave up and died or starved to death. What a sad thing. There weren’t many jobs for ladies to do like today.
But Anna didn’t go back to her parents home – maybe they had both already died – the Bible doesn’t tell us. But it does tell us that Anna knew God, that she loved God very much and wanted to serve Him. So she prayed to God and asked Him to help her make a useful life.
So Anna went to the temple – that’s like our church. It was a place to go to worship God- and she told the priests that she wanted to live there in the temple and worship and serve God for the rest of her life. They said yes and so Anna did just that.
For about 60 years Anna served in the temple, helping the priests, maybe cleaning, cooking and teaching. She also prayed a lot. She would have prayed for people and their problems, and she also talked to them about God. The Bible calls her a prophetess. That means God spoke to her and then she shared what God had told her. Another thing Anna used to do was read the Scriptures. That is the old part of the Bible. The new part of the bible had not been written while Anna was alive. In the old scrolls that the Bible was written on then, Anna read that God was going to send his son Jesus to earth. Jesus was going to help us understand about God and was going to be punished for sin instead of us having to, so we could be with God when we die.
Anna knew all about this and her great desire was to see this Jesus before she died. One day a young couple came to the temple. They were carrying a wee baby. They had come to dedicate him to the Lord, and get a blessing from the priests. Do you know who these people were? (Mary and Joseph) So who was the baby they carried? (Jesus)
Well, the Bible tells us when Anna saw Mary and Joseph and the baby, she immediately knew who he was. God’s special son. God somehow let Anna know this baby was the special one she had been waiting for. So Anna prayed to God, thanking him for sending Jesus to us and thanking him for letting her see him. Afterwards she told everyone she saw about Jesus and why he had come.
Anna must have had a very lonely life without her husband, parents or children. Yet she was happy because she got to know God so well.
Many tragic things can happen to us to make us feel that life is horrible. Maybe your parents might die, or one parent might leave home, I could be paralyzed from an accident, be blinded, house burn down, be in jail, have no friends, or lots of other sad things.
Some of these things would be awful if they happened to us wouldn’t they? But God wants us to know that life can still be good. He has a plan for each of us. We need to learn to trust Him, to ask Him to help us, to make the best of life we can. Jesus loves us so much that every little thing that concerns us is important to Him too. How do we talk to God? (By praying.) So, we should pray to God regularly.