After Forty Years



By April Dawn White

In July, I will turn the big 4-0! <Insert gasp> I’m not sure why in American culture; turning forty is such a monumental birthday. I struggled with turning twenty-five and thirty-five, but I’m okay with turning forty. I’m in a good place in my life. I have a supportive husband and two great kids. I am learning to let go of the parental guilt that plagues my mind.

Long ago, I dropped the notion of climbing the corporate ladder and I am content working part-time.  I know who my real friends are. Although, I wish my clothes fit slightly looser, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.  I am content with who I am, the real me that God made. I get to work a little, play a little, cook a little, create a little, and write a little. For the first time in my life I feel fulfilled and blessed. Abundantly.

A strange idea came to mind one Sunday. I had the idea to look up every reference in the Bible of 7:30, because my birthday is July 30th.  In between listening to the pastor and taking notes, I looked up each book of the Bible, chapter 7 verse 30. There were a few books where chapter 7 verse 30 referenced genealogies, but that wasn’t what I was searching. The thing is I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I just had the idea to look up all the chapter 7 verse 30s in the Bible. At least I thought it was my idea, maybe it was God’s idea, and I’m really not sure. To my sheer surprise I found what I was looking for in Acts 7:30:

“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”

Did you catch the symbolism there? Chapter 7 verse 30…after forty years! I turn forty this year! Shocked, I sat up straighter and looked up at our pastor. Feeling like I had been caught not paying attention, I took a few more notes on the pastor’s message on the symbolism of Revelation chapter 12. Acts 7:30 kept tugging at my heart, and I reread it over and over.

For the next several days, I unpacked the meaning of Acts 7:30. “After forty years had passed the Lord appeared to Moses….” Moses is a guy I can relate to. I struggle with the same doubts as Moses. Like Moses, I too, feel like I’m not good with words. Like Moses, I sometimes wonder if God chose the right person for the job. God showed me that after forty years, God did something amazing in Moses life.

Here is just a quick review of Moses life which can be found in Exodus 2-3.  The Pharaoh had ordered all boys younger than two years of age to be killed. Trusting in God, his mother placed him in a basket and floated him down the river. His mother’s brazen act of courage saved his life. Moses was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter and asked Moses’ own biological mother to nurse the boy! (How cool is that!) Moses was a Hebrew boy raised in an Egyptian palace. As a teenager he became angered at how the Pharaoh (his adopted grandfather) and the Egyptians were treating the Hebrews slaves who were his kin. (These were the people laboring to build the great Egyptian pyramids we enjoy today.) Out of a burst of anger he killed an Egyptian who was beating on one of the Hebrew slaves. When Pharaoh found out what Moses had done, Pharaoh ordered to kill him. Moses ran for his life.

Forty years after running away, Moses had settled down with a wife and kids. He worked on his father-in-law’s farm as a shepherd. One day when Moses was alone with the sheep, God got his attention with a burning bush. God gave Moses a new assignment, to go rescue his people from the Pharaoh. After forty years, God prepared Moses for a new adventure.

When I combine Acts 7:30 with the image of an anchor, I can’t help but wonder what new adventure God has in store for me, after forty years.

~April

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