A Lot Can Happen in 40 Days

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+Mark 1:13-14 Christ was in the wilderness forty days…  [then] Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God…

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We are going to have a baby. Our little boy is due around August 4th, 2015.

I have been absent from this blog for three months- and there’s a reason. I battled morning sickness most days-all day long, and when I wasn’t working at my church, I slept. But today is the first Sunday in Lent- and I decided to write again.

Lent is a holy season. We are all asked to invite God to work in our lives. To change us. To shape us.

Lent is a powerful time.

Over the years, I have given up meat or sometimes chocolate. One year I gave up sleeping in.

But what if we can do more in 40 days? What if God can work through us in profound, life altering ways?

Before Jesus began his public ministry, he went into the wilderness to pray. He took 40 days in silence. In this time, he was shaped by God and equipped for his ministry.

We observe 40 days of Lent so that we too, may be shaped by God.

As we begin this journey of Lent, I invite each of you to ask the question: what can God do in my life in 40 days?

The past 40 days of my life have taught me so much about what God can do.

It was a little over 40 days ago, on Epiphany, that Andrew saw our baby for the first time.

We went into this dark little room for an ultrasound, and the nurse showed us an image of the screen I will never forget: there was a gummy bear looking creature… the size of a grape.

Little buds where arms would form. Small lumps where legs would grow.

And then, in that dark room, we listened to our baby’s heartbeat- and it sounded like thunder- strong and bold and life changing.

This was the beginning of our new reality. We caught a glimpse of a tiny gummy bear sized promise. We heard the sound of a hope as bold as rolling thunder.

I study the development of our child diligently each night before bed. In the past 40 days- amazing things have happened.

In the 40 days: he’s formed tiny tooth buds, he’s gained the ability to curl his toes, to clench eye muscles, and to open and close fingers. He’s developed a unique set of fingerprints.

He’s learned how to squint, to grimace, to frown, and to smile- he even started sucking his little thumb. Our son’s tiny joints began bending.

He transformed from the size of a gummy bear, to fig, to lemon, to apple and just this week- to the size of an avocado- 5 inches long. He now has tiny toenails on his toes. Taste buds have formed on his tongue, and by next week, he will have sweat glands in place.

So much took place for our little gummy bear in 40 days.

On Friday night, a small group from our church went to see the movie Selma. We watched painful scenes of young black men and women being beaten in the streets of Alabama because they longed for equality. And there are still many struggles for equality and justice around the world today.

I wonder, what kind of world will our son live in? What do I want him to learn about the human experience, and about how we treat our neighbors? This Lenten season, instead of giving up chocolate, how can I begin the good work of advocating for change, and striving for justice so that my son will never see kids beaten in the streets or gunned down in their neighborhoods?

Christ spent 40 days in the wilderness and when he returned, he was ready to change the world through his radical compassion, his prophetic words, and his courageous community building.

In 40 days, our son formed toenails and finger prints and began to swallow.

In January 1965, the Selma Voting Rights Campaign began. Almost exactly 40 days later, a group of activists marched out of Selma on Highway 80 toward Montgomery to protest. They were attacked with tear gas and beaten with nightsticks. The attack was televised and received national attention. The broadcast helped the movement gain momentum in Selma- and things started to change.

A lot can happen in 40 days.

What could this mean for you? How will you allow God to change you?

In this Lenten season, may we all invite God to inspire us, to move through us, to motivate us and to change us in ways we cannot even imagine. This is my prayer for all of you. May it be so. Amen.

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