The Number 40

Today, our daughter celebrated her 40th birthday.

As was usual at these events, there were a number of people making speeches. One of my daughter’s friends had taken the trouble to research the number forty in the Bible.

It rained for forty days and forty nights, the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, Jesus was in the desert forty days. It seems that forty is a number of completion, perhaps completion of training in some aspects. It is never pleasant to be stuck in continuous rain, to be wandering in the desert or to be without food in the wilderness for any length of time. Yet all these periods of hardship were part of God’s eternal plan, some of them for the strengthening and training of God’s people for the next stage of His amazing story.

The friend ended with expressing a sense of excitement. She couldn’t wait to see what God was going to do in the next phase of my daughter’s life.

We often do not understand why God brings hardship into our lives and why He seems not to answer our prayers immediately. It is possible that the Lord is training us for the next stage so we can glorify Him. It may not be forty years or forty days, but our Father knows the exact length of time the programme will last.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, but his favour is for a lifetime.” (Psalm 30:4 -5 ESV). It goes on to say, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (NIV)

My Prayer

Lord God of the Universe, Your ways are not my ways and I don’t always understand Your ways. When I go through rainstorms or desert experiences in my life, please remind me that You are in control and You know exactly what You are doing. Amen.

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