Never Too Late

I’ve just been reading about Anna – someone who saw Jesus when He was a baby.  There are just three verses in the Bible devoted to her, and here’s what I saw in them.

Let’s think about the Jews for a minute.  They’re waiting for their Messiah (literally God’s anointed One) to be a Deliverer for them.  So, if you’d been waiting all your life for this Messiah, praying to God and going without food sometimes – if waiting for Him was the purpose of your life, when you actually got to see Him, wouldn’t that just be the pinnacle of everything you’d hoped for and dreamed of – the very best moment of your life, the one all those other moments had been leading to?  Not surprising that Anna thanked God and spoke about Jesus (Luke 2:38).

But here’s the thing about Anna:  She was very old.  I’m not really sure how old she was.  The translation I read says she had been married for seven years and then was a widow for eighty-four (Luke 2:36-37).  People married young in those days, so if she married at fourteen, that would put her at a hundred and five.  Another translation says she was a widow until she was eighty-four (Luke 2:37).

Whether she was eighty-four or a hundred and five doesn’t really matter.  The point is, she saw the baby Jesus when she was very old.  The pinnacle of her ministry, the very best part, came when she was over eighty – perhaps over a hundred!  Wow!  It’s never too late to serve God, and don’t be surprised if the best part is yet to come.

My friend Becky has also written a post about Anna this month, if you’d like to read it.

A-Z: Philippines

P in the A-Z challenge is the last in my “Compassion Goals” series, and do you remember last week I was telling you about the Brazilian equivalent of Alex and Jonathan?  Well, I don’t know whether Jonathan’s sponsor is reading this blog, but if they are, I want to thank them for choosing him.  Alessandra is still waiting …

This week I want to focus on a place that’s home to a few of my Compassion goals:  The Philippines.  I’ve got kids there already, so I’d love to go and meet my girls, and the boy who wants to be a seaman when he’s older.  I’ve heard that sometimes you have to climb a ladder to reach homes in the Philippines (houses are built on-top of each other), then manoeuvre yourself through a hole to get inside.  I’m not sure how I’d cope with that, but if it was my child’s home, it would disgust me to stand at the bottom of that ladder.  I’d want to follow in their footsteps – to climb up the pile of shacks they’d been climbing for years, get into their space and meet their family and know how they live.  If I’ve sponsored a child and tried to get close to them, how can I not put myself out to identify with them?

I also have a special goal for my girl Cindy.  She’s not a teenager yet, but has always been very bright.  After child-sponsorship, Compassion choose a select group to progress onto their Leadership Development Programme.  There is one in the Philippines, and I’m hoping Cindy might be chosen.  LDP students sometimes go to the US or the UK to speak about Compassion and how being a sponsored child changed their life.  Perhaps if I don’t meet Cindy in the Philippines, I’ll get to meet her that way.

The Philippines is very special to me.  I’ve seen video footage of children over there, so I can imagine my kids in their projects with their friends and what a group of them would sound like.  I want to keep that connection and continually be sponsoring there.  I think when it comes to choosing another Filipino child, I’d like to sponsor in the same project as one of my girls.  Twice now, when there have been typhoons, I’ve heard that Jennylyn’s centre has provided for her family, and both girls’ centres are great at photographing them if I’m able to send any extra gifts.

What about you?  Have you ever visited a country like the Philippines, and would you like to sponsor there?  Well, how about Princess (that’s what my name means, and I love the name of her project), Sofia (from a family of 7 children), or Allan?  Allan is my dad’s name, and this Allan (like my dad) was born in December and likes swimming.  Again, I’ll leave the choice to you.

Thank you for reading about my Compassion goals these last few weeks, and for looking at the children I’ve selected.  Please keep the ones who’ve yet to find a sponsor in your prayers.  We were asked as Compassion Bloggers to ‘Change the story’ for children in poverty in the run-up to Compassion Sunday, which is this Sunday (21 April) in the US, so a very happy Compassion Sunday to you, and to all my fellow-bloggers who’ve been writing along-with me.

Hopes and Dreams

A lot of people are back at work today after Christmas and the new year.  How was your holiday?  I’ve been spoilt this Christmas 2012.  Shopping with my sister; no arguments; lunch yesterday with 2 of my very best friends, but as Christmas Day was beginning, I felt a real sadness that Christmas might not be all I hoped for.

 

It was then God reminded me of Mary.  She must have had hopes and dreams too – hopes for her marriage to Joseph; for her status in the community; perhaps dreams of them growing old together and seeing their grandchildren’s children, and then the angel Gabriel visited.  In many ways, that visit would have shattered her hopes.  She must have known that if she kept this Baby, her reputation would be in tatters.  Who would believe a simple girl like Mary had been visited by an angel, and become pregnant through the Holy Spirit?  Would Joseph even agree to marry her, or would the Son of God be born and brought-up in her father’s house, both of them viewed as a disgrace?  With all these unanswered questions, she was still able to say:  “I am the LORD’s servant. …  May it be to me as you have said.”

 

And later, when Simeon told her:  “A sword will pierce your own soul”, how must she have felt?  By then of course, Joseph had agreed to marry her.  An angel had come to him in a dream and explained things to him, so perhaps she had faith that whatever happened, God would work things out.  But this piercing of the soul?  Her son, Jesus, wouldn’t be like other children.  He died on a cross and wasn’t there to care for her in her old age (He made sure she was cared-for, but wasn’t there Himself), and Joseph?  We hear of Joseph when Jesus was twelve years old, but nothing after that.  Perhaps he was much older than Mary and she was widowed; we don’t know, but her future certainly looked a lot different from the one she must have imagined.

 

It was a comfort to me that even if things didn’t turn out just the way I’d hoped, I’d be in good company.  I hope it helps you, too.