It is the end of day seven. This day was no food at all, not even liquids. In my quiet time I have been reading the book of Acts. Today I read Chapter 23 and in it is the reason that I knew I was supposed to have no food or drink today. (except for the green tea I had this morning while having my quiet time)
Paul had been arrested and was brought before the Sanhedrin. Things were not going well for Paul. In verse 12 I read these words, “The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath (some translations say an oath and a curse) not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.”
I had never seen this in Scripture. The enemy fasted for what they believed in, for they wanted. They were so focused on their goal of killing Paul that they were willing to not eat or drink till he was dead. Well, this convicted me and pricked my Spirit. I knew what I had to do. If the enemy could use fasting for evil, then I knew God would use it for my good. It made me mad too. If the enemy could be so passionate about a thing, then why are we not more passionate about our convictions and our prayers and petitions? Hatred fueled their fast, the Spirit of the Living God inside of me fueled mine. Now don’t think for a minute that I didn’t “talk” with God about this through the day, asking several different times if I had heard Him correctly. The flesh will remind you just how weak you are, but I knew what God told me to do this. The peace I have had all day has only been from Him. I taught my Lifegroup class this morning and my Equipped Disciple class tonight and it was unbelievable, especially tonight. I was energized and all the while I knew the Spirit had taken over because my flesh was weak. Scripture came to my mind that I was able to call up and I was able to teach clearly and in an orderly way. God showed me so very clearly that His power shows up best in my weakness and that with Him all things are possible. He really is all I need, not that I want to fast again any time soon but now I understand so much better what people are talking about when they fast.
I would like to say I spent more time praying. It is not that I didn’t pray, it is just that life got in the way. It was a busy week and I couldn’t find the time to pull away for extended periods of prayer except for in my morning prayer time. But what I did do was practice His presence as we talked about in the last two posts. I knew I had to rely on Him. I knew I had to focus on Him. I chose to offer myself as a “living sacrifice” to Him in the things I did, places I went, conversations I had, etc….. I did pray for the things He had told me to fast and pray for. This fast was very much about obedience. One day I heard the Lord say very clearly to me, “Come up higher Rene’ “. I am understanding this more and more by surrendering my life to Him daily, sometimes minute by minute.
Will I see the answer to these prayers soon? I don’t know. But I trust Him. Will I see them answered in my lifetime? I don’t know that either but I will keep praying until I can’t anymore. I do know this week was not in vain. I know there was purpose behind it. I know who called me to it and that He saw me through it.
I want to share something else I learned this week. Something in the natural day to day realm. In my hungry moments I craved the good things like a salad or some fruit. I didn’t crave sweets like I so often do. My body wanted the good things that it is supposed to have to run smoothly for the work I am put here to do. BUT in that same thought process let me say this, I don’t want to stress about food anymore either. The very fact that I have food accessible to me is reason enough to not stress about it. God blessed the food, He told us it is good and we are to eat and enjoy it. I once heard a wise person say that Jesus enjoyed His food. He just knew when the next bite would be a sin.
There is no doubt this fast has taught me to eat better, but it also taught me to enjoy what and when I eat. It has taught me to save the treats for special times and that one piece, one slice, or one cookie is enough. I mentioned visiting my friend in the Nursing Home yesterday. Day in and day out she eats the same Nursing Home food. I watched all those sweet people clamoring around at their tables trying to see their food to even get it to their mouth and I was overwhelmed with emotion. So instead of stressing over carbs, sugar, gluten, paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, or whatever fad is going at the time, I am just going to eat. I am going to be thankful. I am going to make wise choices, but I am going to be grateful for what is put in front of me even if it isn’t what I would choose.
God is good and He will teach us and speak to us through His Spirit if we will listen. He wants to refine us and make us more like Jesus and less like this world and sometimes He will use a fast to do it. So if He calls you to it, I promise He will bring you through it.