By Pastor Wes Poole
And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.
40 days, 40 nights, 40 years…we see the number 40 often in the Bible. The above examples are only three of many. Generally, “40” is not considered to be a literal number, but rather a symbol or metaphor for a “long time”. Furthermore, that “long time” is often associated to difficult or challenging times. For another example, Satan is said to have tested Jesus, as he was fasting in the desert for…right…40 days!
Most of us have now been sheltering in place and keeping social distance for a lot more than forty days. For many of us, it might seem more like forty years!! It struck me though, that I think we’re better able to comprehend the biblical concept of a “long time” better now than in recent memory. Did you know that the word quarantine comes to us through Latin and Italian and means, literally…wait for it…40 days! There is no denying that are many difficulties and challenges facing us and our entire culture right now. We live in hope though that God’s Will always prevails, and that hard times will give way to wholeness and healing.
In pretty much all of the biblical accounts of trying or long times of challenge, one thing invariably remained the same…God…Never…Forgets…His people! That is such a comforting reality to ponder as our own 40 days’ are dragging on. Even during the dark times, even when we may lose sight of who and whose we are, God never returns that in kind. God is with us…always has been…always will be! As we continue to struggle to keep each other safe and healthy, let us strive to remember that God is walking with us. Hope in Christ is never in vain. There is always a Promised Land waiting after wandering in the wilderness! Like the Israelites of old, may we stick together, trusting in God and caring for each other.
Let us pray…
God of all our times, as we navigate difficult waters, help us remember that you never leave our side. Regardless of what the world may throw at us, we know that hope is ever present in you. As we continue to work hard to keep each other well, make us ever mindful that we can always see your face in that of our neighbor’s. May we serve you and each other in the way your son taught us, for we pray these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe my friends!
Pastor Wes †