On this my 30th Birthday

I am 30! Biblically, ’30’ denotes in a higher degree the perfection of Divine order, as marking the right moment. It often marks a coming of age: Christ was 30 years old at the commencement of His ministry (Luke 3:23). Joseph was 30 when he entered into Pharoah’s service in Genesis 41:46. King David also, was 30 years old when he began to reign in 2 Samuel 5:4.

30 is the age my mom gave birth to me. 30 is the first birthday I am celebrating with knowledge of what my life’s mission is. 30 is when I finally leave the last vestiges of childhood behind. I have come of age. I am 30, on the threshold of the rest of my life, and I am thrilled!

Two days ago I suddenly realized that February 9 is the 40th day of the year. This struck me on two levels. First of all, that I am born on the 40th day of the year. And second, that in 2009, my 30th birthday is on the 40th day of a spiritual journey that began on the stroke of midnight on January 1 when I fell sick.

What’s the fuss about 40 days? The number 40 also has great biblical significance. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Moses was in the mountain 40 days to receive the 10 commandments. Elijah was secluded 40 days on Mt. Horeb where he finally met God. Jesus fasted and was tempted for 40 days before He began His public ministry. And after Jesus resurrected, He stayed and taught His disciples for 40 days before He ascended into heaven.

“40” has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). 40 is the number of weeks in a human pregnancy and just like going through a time of probation and trial and tribulation, the pain is secondary to the joy of new life. A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal. (That is why Advent and Lent are 40 days!)

The last 40 days has indeed been for me, a time of trial, purification and probation. And it has also been a period of restoration and renewal – not just spiritually, but also in several significant relationships in my life.

I will always remember my 30th birthday because God celebrated it with me over 40 days. As for presents, He healed me of deep life-long hurts, restored me my identity as His daughter, activated the spiritual gifts He had given me at baptism and finally revealed to me my life’s mission.

Lead me Lord, and I will follow. I will do whatever You tell me because You have promised me the grace to carry my cross and follow You.

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