Whether it’s 40 days or 40 years, we can all agree that it’s a long time, and a lot can happen during that time. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness and Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert, both places of desolation and isolation where they were tested to the extreme. But their journeys took a different turn. While the Israelites grumbled and mumbled about their hardships, Jesus did not. Not because their circumstances were different – they all experienced hunger and thirst – but because they had different attitudes. The Israelites took their eyes off God, but Jesus did not.
As most Christians begin their 40-day journey of Lent, we’re reminded to follow Jesus’ example of drawing closer to God, of being thirsty and hungry for more of Him and His Word. These 40 days can either make us or break us, and people will see the difference. I pray that as we journey to Easter, as we carry our cross – because we can expect hardships along the way – we will choose to trust God and lean on Him more. He is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” (Psalm 46:1). And while He never changes, it’s during our desert journey that we discover who we really are. I hope that after these 40 days, we will come out of the desert full of the Holy Spirit’s power to help us triumph over death and the grave and resurrect us to a new and better life in Christ.