The 40 days of Lent are to symbolize the 40 days that Jesus spent wandering in a desert. Why a desert?
A desert is barren... void of life or incapable of producing fruit or vegetation. God uses the desert... this void ... to prepare us for our mission. When everything is taken away... we are left with God ... our one and only focus.
The number 40 is a significant number that God uses in the Old and New Testament... and is often connected with the desert. Moses was enslaved in Egypt for 40 years before freeing his people, the Israelites spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness before entering the promised land, and Jesus fasted and was tempted in the desert for 40 days.
40, it turns out, is the typical number of weeks for pregnancy. As I wander this desert during Lent, I realize that I have been in a desert for the past seven years of my life. My body is barren ... unable to produce fruit. It is void of life. As I struggle with infertility this Lent, God has given me the grace to realize that in all His ultimate wisdom he has given me this barren desert to walk through... to prepare me for my mission. Jesus is with me and teaching me how to avoid temptations, teaching me how to accept this cross, and teaching me that in the void I will lift my head to Him.