40

26 09 2012

I turned 40 last week, and I have been reflecting on that number a lot lately.  First, I came up with a list of 40 Things  I want to accomplish in my next 40 years.  Today, I am reminded of the biblical significance of the number 40.

  • The rains poured down for 40 days in the days of Noah.
  • Moses lived in Egypt his first 40 years, in Midian his second 40 years, and wandered with the Israelites in the desert for 40 more years.
  • Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving the first set of laws as well as 40 more days receiving the second set after the sin of the Golden Calf.
  • The Israelite spies were sent out for 40 days.
  • Jonah spent 40 days prophesying in Nineveh.
  • Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the 40 years of Judah’s transgression.
  • King David and King Solomon, among others, ruled Israel for 40 years.
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness as he was tempted by the Deceiver.
  • For 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to his followers.

40 most often symbolizes a period of trials and testing followed by a period of refreshment, deliverance, prosperity, or rest.   Taking each of those items listed above,

  • Noah saw God’s promise to mankind in the form of a rainbow.
  • Moses saw the Promised Land before he died.
  • Israel settled in the land flowing with milk and honey.
  • Nineveh repented and was saved.
  • Israel grew and prospered under the rule of King David and King Solomon.
  • Jesus was refreshed by angles attending him after confronting Satan.
  • The Holy Spirit was given to followers of Christ.

I have certainly had some trials and experienced periods of great testing in my first 40 years of life.  But I really like the idea that my next 40 could be . . . should be . . . filled with goodness.  I am truly excited to experience what God has in store for the next half of my life.

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Psalm 151

17 01 2011

This weekend I was at a ladies retreat with some of my dearest friends.  Our task Saturday morning was to write a psalm that expressed where we were at that moment in time in our relationship with God.  Once I began, the words flowed unceasingly.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
All that I am, all my inmost being, every fiber within me will praise you always.

You are my God, my Savior, my Lord, my Life, my Creator, my Perfector.
I trust in your will with a pure heart.
I long to live a life of goodness, peace and joy.
My heart’s desire is to be transformed into a woman after your own heart.

Why do I wrestle with my thoughts day and night?
Why do the talons ensnare my heart so fiercely?
Why must I fight with my oppressor every day?

I am tired of fighting.
The struggle has wearied my spirit.
My mind longs for rest.
My heart yearns for peace.

“Forgive me! Help me!”
Some days those are the only prayers my spirit can utter, but you always hear my cry.
You long to hear my pleas for forgiveness and help.

Despite the pit I am in, I see your Light ever-present before me.
I feel your love ever around me –
          in my family and the friends you have placed in my path.
I feel the prayers of your saints who cry out to you on my behalf.
I feel your arms steadying me on the path, holding me when my strength fails me.
I feel your Spirit embracing my soul when my own thoughts betray me and turn against you.
Amidst the brightening light of your love, my cares and sorrows fade.
Your comfort stills my heart and mind.

You call me beautiful when all I see within me is ugliness.
You call me beloved daughter, heir to your kingdom,
          even when I turn my back on you and follow the path of my tormentor.
Yet, you never give up.
You never let go.
You never stop loving me even when I break your heart.
Your infinite grace, unlimited patience, and immeasurable mercy astound me.
I cannot comprehend your extraordinary love for me.

I am blessed beyond anything I deserve.
You have given me precious treasures I can never repay.
You allow me to live in a land of plenty.
You have filled my life with abundance and wealth.
I need for nothing.
I want only to be known as a woman after your own heart.

I will wake in the mornings and give thanks that you have given me another breath,
          another day to live your goodness,
          another opportunity to pursue knowing your heart.
Help me to live out your heart’s desires,
         
and to make your truth my truth, O Lord my God.
I will rest each night in your unfailing, never-ending love.
I will ever praise you, my Savior and my God, most intimate lover of my soul.