Depending on when you start counting the days, most of us have been sheltering in place for about forty days.
In the Bible, the period of forty days represents a significant time. It's a period of time that is long - but it is also a period of time that doesn't last forever.
We probably should have asked the question at the beginning of our forty days, but it's not a bad question to ask at the end either: what can you do with forty days?
Just in case you need some possibilities, consider how some Bible characters would answer the question.
*In Genesis, God told Noah that it would rain for forty days. And it did. It was after forty days that Noah opened the window of the ark and sent out the raven (Genesis 7:4; 7:17; 8:6).
*When Jacob (Israel) died in Egypt, it took the Egyptians forty days to embalm him because, we're told, "that's the time required for embalming" (Genesis 50:3).
*When Moses was dealing with God on Mount Sinai, he was there for forty days. And after the first stone tablets were destroyed, Moses again spent forty days on Mount Sinai getting the new stone tablets. During those times, Moses did not eat or drink (Exodus 24:18; 34:28).
*Some time later, the spies were sent to explore Canaan, and they were there for forty days (Numbers 13:25).
*Goliath taunted the army of Israel for forty days before David showed up to provide rescue (1 Samuel 17:16).
*After his victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah, running from Ahab and Jezebel, traveled forty days to Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).
*The prophet Ezekiel was instructed to lay on his right side for forty days to illustrate the coming siege of Jerusalem. Each of the forty days would represent one year (Ezekiel 4:6).
*In perhaps the shortest sermon ever preached, the prophet Jonah declared that, if the people did not repent, Nineveh would be overturned in forty days (Jonah 3:4).
*Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. During that time, he did not eat or drink (Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2).
*And after the resurrection, the risen Christ appeared to his followers for a period of forty days before he ascended to heaven (Acts 1:3).
So . . . I'm wondering . . . how have you used your forty days? How have you used this long time that (we surely hope!) will not last forever?
If the Bible record is any indication, a lot can happen in forty days!
And these are probably only some of the options!
Surviving a flood. Preparing a body for burial. Meeting God on a holy mountain. Exploring the land of promise. Irritating the people of God. Running away from those who would do us harm. Doing some unusual thing that God has told us to do. Challenging people to deal with God. Fasting in the wilderness in preparation for a time of testing. Spending time with the risen Christ.
As I said, we probably should have asked the question at the beginning of the forty days.
But now that it's early May, it is still an important question to ask: what exactly did we do with our forty days?