40 Days

I realized on Sunday that I had exactly 40 days until I reached my 40th birthday. Actually, I didn’t “realize” it, God told me.  I know, I know-  weird.   Not that he would tell me something, but that He was actually making a big deal about me being 40.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m making a HUGE deal out of it, mainly because I don’t want it to happen.  Not even a little bit, which is totally out of character for me.

Coach will be the first to tell you that I usually start my birthday celebrations a good month or so ahead of time- he says it’s really like my own little Mardi Gras.

Anyway, God made a big deal out of the 40 day countdown on Sunday.  And it was totally not a coincidence that it was Sunday. 

It was warm and sunny, and we took the dogs to our favorite park so they could swim, and that’s when He told me to get my act together (of course, I had to go home and count the days on the calendar, because HELLO- I have abysmal math skills).

And I have to be honest here – I didn’t really listen because I thought it was residual Coach talk from earlier when I tried to tell him I just wanted to remain planted on the couch for the day, and that I was not at all interested in seeing the sun or feeling the 65+ temperatures outside thank you very much.

To which he replied: “Too darn bad, get your sorry butt up and let’s go.  You’re not going to sit in the house and mope today- it’s too pretty”

So I said, “Fine, I’ll go to the park and mope.  Loudly.  In your ear.  Until you wish I’d just stayed home…”

Coach says I’m hard-headed.  He says I’m wound tight.  He even said that sometimes I get so wound that I fight life like a wildcat.

He said that.  He actually called me a wildcat. 

Honestly, if I’d been a boy, he probably would have punched me in the nose at some point on Sunday.  And I would have deserved it.  So, being called a wildcat is not so bad.  (Actually, as much as I hate to admit it, I liked that analogy- still do.  Wildcats aren’t all bad…I guess.  I don’t really know much about them to be honest, but I would be willing to bet they don’t have 40th birthdays, and that is a definite plus.)

So, to wrap this part up, we went to the park and let the dogs play, and I continued to pout until we made it home.  Then I pouted some more.  Coach shook his head at me.

Then I cried.  Cried may not be a good word; wept is probably better.  I think it was Mark Twain, or maybe it was Ernest Hemingway, or it could have been William Faulkner- anyway- somebody important once said that the most effective sentence ever published was the following:

“Jesus wept.”

So, in the interest of effective writing and brevity, I’ll keep is short.  I wept.

And because brevity went out the window six paragraphs ago, I’ll keep the rest short.

I prayed.  And prayed. And prayed.  For TWO DAYS. 

I’m not patient either.  It’s a virtue that is foreign to me.  So, two days was a long time.

Do you know the biblical significance of the number 40?  I knew it was significant, but I didn’t really know why.

Turns out, the number 40 is universally recognized as significant because of the number and uniformity of its occurrence and its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement which ends in renewal.  Huh. 

I have to be honest here- I’m not really a fan of the whole trial and chastisement part, but to be brutally honest- Coach and I have been wading in that for several months now.  I am pumped about the renewal part though.  I’d love a renewed heart, and I won’t lie.  I wouldn’t balk at a miraculous erasure of some fine lines around my eyes.

Anyhoo, there are 8 instances in the Bible which specifically mention a period of 40 days.  And there are 15 instances which specifically mention a period of 40 years.  And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM from the Israelites to Moses to Elijah to Jesus is a story of a period of trial that ends in renewal.

In hope.  In truth.  In love.


Tomorrow I’m going to make a HUGE announcement. HUGE.  It’s the biggest step of faith I have ever consciously and willingly made. 

But for now, pray these with/for me:

“If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will be like the noon day.”  Isaiah 58:10

“I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.”  Amos 5:24

Stay tuned.  Be sure to come back tomorrow.  Tell all your friends.  It’s going to be good.  It’s going to be real good.

See y’all!

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1 Comment on 40 Days

  1. Leslie Ruth Petree
    February 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm (7 years ago)

    Two words: Bated. Breath.

    Excited for you, friend!


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