"40 minutes!" was our answer.
it wasn't until later that we began hearing about the significance of such a number. thanks to our worship pastor who enjoys teaching on the significance of small things in the bible that might go unnoticed, such as numbers, dates, and more, we did eventually wonder about the significance of "40 minutes." he had already explained to us the significance of jonathan's birth date, the 8th of october (which would have been the 9th of october, israeli time.)
this is what i found summarizing the significance of the number 40 from a couple of good sources on the internet:
The number 40 holds particular significance in the Bible and refers to a precise number, not just a long period of time....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. 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). Thankfully, God is consistent, so the meaning of a number in Genesis remains the same all the way to the book of Revelation. Sometimes the spiritual significance is not revealed directly, but in the case of "40" and its many examples throughout the Bible, we can be certain of its importance and significance.
there are many events in the old and new testament regarding the number 40. here are most of them, without being repetitive:
~ it rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over. (the story of noah's ark)
"And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights." ~Gen 7:12
~ noah waited another 40 days for the water to recede before he opened a window in the ark. "And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made" ~Gen 8:6
~ when jacob, the father of joseph, died in egypt, he was embalmed following the egyptian custom which required 40 days. they believed that this was the period of preparation of going into a new life, what they called the afterlife.
"...taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days." ~Gen 50:3
~ moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days before writing the ten commandments. "Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights." ~Exod. 24:18
"Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments." ~Exod. 34:28
"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD." ~Exod. 34:29
"Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you." ~Deut. 10:10
~ it took the israelites 40 days to search out the promised land and bring back fruit for everyone to see.
"At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land." ~Num. 13:25
~ the Lord sentenced the israelites to spend 40 years in the wilderness.
"Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you." ~Num. 14:33-34
"The LORD's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone." ~Num 32:13
~ david killed goliath after forty days of his defiance of israel.
"For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand." ~ 1 Sam. 17:16
~ elijah, strengthened by food provided by an angel, went forty days and forty nights to mount horeb where the Lord passed by and he heard the voice of God."So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God." ~1 Kings 19:8
~jonah warned the city of nineveh they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city. the people repented in those 40 days and God spared the city.
"On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened." ~Jonah 3:4 and 10
~ Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." ~Mat 4:1-2
~ Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion.
"After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." ~Acts 1:3
~also, interestingly: eli, david, solomon, and joash reigned over israel for forty years each.
after looking up scriptures about the significance of "forty" and reading about the various trials and testing that happened, i was very encouraged to learn that no matter the length of the trial (days, months, years) or reason for the trial (testing, punishment), that the Lord was still very present in its midst. i see it in our trial, which thankfully falls into the category of "months" and not "years."
i look back and realize how difficult and stressful it was when we were pregnant and facing the unknowns, compared to now even though jonathan is not here with us. for now, we can see how the Lord lined up all the details to make for a very smooth delivery day. now, we can see how the Lord provided for us in our time of need, through Himself and through others. and now we know how the story ended, and how beautiful the story was. i don't know what i had to fear. the Lord promised us through many of the verses i've posted on this blog that He would carry us through, and He did. it was my lack of complete faith and understanding that kept things difficult and stressful for me. but He still provided, even in my moments of unbelief.
these scriptures about "forty" remind me how Lord was with us in our time of testing:
He didn't leave us alone to find our way. He led us through our time of testing, just as He had the israelites..."Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." ~Deut. 8:2
several months ago, i wrote about how the Lord provided our "spiritual food", just like He provided manna for the israelites in their time of testing in the desert. "The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan." ~Exod. 16:35we see now how the Lord has blessed us tremendously in our journey, and has provided for our every need. "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything." ~Deut. 2:7
the Lord provided me a relatively comfortable pregnancy, in spite of jonathan's condition. even at 32 weeks and at high risk for pre-eclampsia, my feet had yet to swell once in my pregnancy. just as he provided for the israelites basic comforts in their time of wandering the desert: "Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years." ~Deut. 8:4
and finally, just as the Lord used the sign of a rainbow as a promise never to flood the earth again: "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Gen. 9:13-15), i like to think of the significance of 40 minutes as a promise for renewal and restoration for us after our trial.
i do believe we are already in a period of renewal and restoration. perhaps it came in the abundance of peace we experienced once jonathan passed away, or perhaps it was in the relief of realizing that our period of intense testing had come to a close. i don't know exactly when it began, but i know it's here. every day i am a little bit closer to feeling healed and whole again after this trial. and every day i am more thankful and more joyful than the day before, knowing that jonathan is healed and whole in heaven.