40 and Lilies in the Woodlands

It has been just over 7 weeks since I last posted here. It wasn’t intentional, just something that happened. It’s been sort of a busy summer in some ways and in other ways very uneventful.  Last week I was thinking it would be time to blog again but what would my first post be about? There’s many things that have happened in the world, many ideas that have come across my desk and many conversations that have peaked my interest.  But writing has not come so easy. I decided that 40 would be my topic.  Why? Because this summer, that is the threshold that I crossed.  Yes, I am now in the over-40 club! Wow! It really sort of snuck up on me.  No fanfare, no party , no real celebrating other than a quiet little cake festivity with my husband and kids.  And so, I decided to mark this historic event by dedicating this post to the number FOUR-O.  And as I just looked at the calendar, it has been exactly 40 days since my birthday. How’s that for timing? Or maybe it’s God’s way of sending me a message.

As I was looking for examples of 40 in the Bible I saw a pattern.  It isn’t the first time I noticed it but tonight it has a clear significance for me.   Noah and his family endured 40 days of rain in the ark.  Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days two different times.  Jonah warned the city of Nineveh that they had 40 days to turn from their wickedness in order to escape God’s wrath.  Goliath came out to challenge the Israelites 40 days before he faced David.   The Israelites roamed the wilderness for 40 years before getting to the promised land. Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days.  He then was seen on the earth for 40 days following his death and resurrection before he ascended into Heaven.

There are more examples but here’s what I noticed:   The 40 days or years always preceded something great.  David killed Goliath in one shot of a stone.  Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments.  Jesus revealed WHO He really was. Jonah and his family were saved got a chance to start over fresh.

I have no idea why God has chosen us to be where we are right now at this time.  But I do know that He has brought me through 40 years of struggles, triumphs, tears, joys, sorrows, mercy and grace overflowing.  I do know that He has a plan even though I don’t know what it is.  I do know that He will redeem all of the negative things I’ve done and said and been through in order that His glory will be revealed.  This I know.

We are here…in the wilderness. And for the past 40 days I’ve been waiting for God to DO SOMETHING.  We have 2 houses up for sale and for the past several months we have been a week or two away from defaulting on a mortgage payment, loans, credit, etc….and yet, here we are, months later and we have not missed one payment.  I don’t know how. I really don’t.  My husband only started working last week and we haven’t received one paycheque yet.  But God has provided .  He has miraculously made sure we’ve had gas in the tank for countless trips to the city as we looked for work and a house.  We have had food on the table and we have paid our bills. We’re still behind on many payments and by no means are we out of the woods…but HE has given us lilies in the woodlands.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This passage stirred within me 6 weeks ago as I was driving to pick up my kids from camp.  I had to drive very close to the area where I grew up and I always enjoy so much seeing  the dense forests.  When my sisters and I were very young we lived with the woodlands right outside our door. We spent hours a day roaming through the trees, creating our secret hideaways and houses, sunlight filtering through and causing all sorts of shadows.  Some people find it creepy and scary but we thrived on the mysteries within those forests.  And each summer we looked forward to seeing the forest floor covered in Tiger Lilies.  Beautiful and perfect these orange beauties would sprout up all over the place….in a place where few eyes would even see them God had lovingly crafted each one and placed them in the darkness and shadows……for who? I often have wondered who they are for.  Why would God hide them? But he hasn’t .  In his word He clearly tells us that he lavishes His creation with beauty and clothing and so how much more will He then clothe us?   I just think it’s the perfect picture of my life.  Even in the shadows and the woodlands, He gives me lilies….the gifts and the joys in each day.  

These days are sometimes hard.  The unknown is always a bit scary and uncomfortable but I have learned….am learning…that HE has not forgotten me.  He’s giving me lilies ~ beautiful gifts, provision, clothing, food, comfort~ even in the shadows of my circumstances.

Thank you Lord for the lilies…and these 40 days of seeing your hand move and provide.

And as I drove………..I saw the lilies….

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