Forty Days Revisited, Day 13–When the Magic Happens

There comes a time when you simply have to give up, to surrender, to cry “uncle.” Today is not that day. Today I had one of those “Bullwinkle moments,” where I had to pull something out of my magic hat. When I reached into it, with some degree of trepidation, I pulled out something quite useful and successful, what I needed to go well went well. Sometimes I know about assignments, work projects, presentations I have to give, proposals I have to write, etc. weeks, sometimes months in advance, and yet I somehow manage to end up cramming at the last minute to get it done. What is that about? I am grateful that when I reach in to my magic hat, something good is usually produced. It is remarkable. And as much as I don’t like to rely upon last minute preparations (I stayed up late and got up early to prepare) I am grateful when things go well.

I don’t like too take these things for granted. Sometimes things go well because I have studied and learned and practiced. I have worked hard, and I “know my stuff.” Still, it puts me under undue stress to have to reach into the hat and pray I don’t find a lion or bear, instead of a rabbit. So far, so good.

I wonder if Jesus ever worried that he wouldn’t have what he needed when he needed it. He was doing a whole lot more than I’ve even attempted. I wonder if there were times he wanted a do-over. Probably not. The gospel writers do, however, write of a very few incidents here and there, where Jesus didn’t hit it out of the park on some of his first attempts at things. There was that time he was healing the blind man, and at first the healing was incomplete. He went from not seeing at all, to seeing men as tall trees. Jesus had to make a slight adjustment before the man could see clearly. He had only one or two other situations like that, as I recall.

As I look back over the previous three years of this Forty Days series, I realize I seem to be preoccupied with Jesus seeming more human and less like God. I think that I look for ways he was like me, similar cares and worries, moments when he was tired, uncertain, exhausted, grief-stricken, fearful, sad, and lonely like I have been. And did he feel a sense of accomplishment or awesomeness or exhilaration when he “pulled off” a great sermon, a powerful healing, a significant miracle? Can you imagine Jesus doing a Tiger Woods fist pump after he fed the 5,000 or turned that water into wine at the wedding? No, me either, but I confess to having those “Yes!” moments when I’ve pulled something out of my hat, did something that went really well.

The journey of these 40 days, Jesus’s and ours, is one of so many twists and turns, unexpected joys as well as unanticipated hardships. It is life. It is a time for noticing, paying attention to the world around us, as well as our inner states of being. Sometimes I can close my eyes and immediately be transported to a place of quiet, calm, and peace. In an instant. Other times my mind is cluttered and my heart aching and I can barely find my way through a day. Such is life, such is the path. I wonder if Jesus had days like those. I bet he did, and that is comforting beyond imagination.

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