I’m about to finish my first day of the 10 day church-wide fast. I’m trying hard not to do this as a countdown: One day down; 9 more to go. I’m really longing to make each day count and to learn the lessons inherent in each one regarding fasting, myself, the Lord, prayer…and anything else the Spirit wants to teach me. But I admit that it’s really hard at this stage of the fast NOT to think that way. I’m wondering if it will get easier – or harder.
So, at the end of this first day, what did I learn? Nothing very profound; in fact, I wouldn’t even say that I “learned” these things but rather than I “relearned” them. Here are a few things I noticed especially today.
1. I couldn’t get over how much the body affects the entirety of my life! As I was spending some time in prayer tonight about this day, it was so clear to me that weakness and difficulties in the body strongly affect the spirit, the soul, and the emotional part of us. I began to think how detrimental that can be. I asked the Lord, “What if I developed migraine headaches and can’t focus to pray? Will I still “sense” my Lord’s presence as much?” “What if I experience the ravages of cancer and can’t study your Word? Will I be able to walk completely by faith if there are no feelings at all?” As my hunger pains and physical weakness called out to me, they propelled me to ask the Lord to help me go deeper in being a person who walks more by faith than ever before, in case those days come when faith is all I have.
2. I couldn’t help but recognize the immense power food has in my life. Nearly every moment today I thought of food: how hungry I was (am), how much I wanted (want) to eat, how much I was (am) craving food – any food – but especially rich, sugary, energy-producing food. (I understand that food doesn’t have such a gigantic power over everyone, but those for whom it does, you’ll certainly understand what I’m talking about!) I don’t like this truth about myself. John’s dad once said, “The body makes a wonderful servant but a horrible master.” I want this body of mine to be my servant, not my master so that He alone is my Master. Maybe this one of the most powerful lessons fasting can teach me.
3. I’m really weak in myself. I mean REALLY weak! I simply cannot do a 10-day fast without His strength and power. My only hope for deep-down strength is from the One who made this body and spirit and who lives inside me to help me minute by minute to walk in strength. And so, I cry out to Him minute by minute. Maybe that’s another reason fasting is so valuable in God’s eyes because He knows how much it can propel us to recognizing our need for Him.
I began this day by falling out of bed onto my knees, surrendering the day to my Savior. And then all day long I found myself crying out to Him OFTEN for His strength and power and help. I have a feeling I’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. But I’m trying hard not to count.
I’ll be anxious to hear how others are doing on this journey!
(My goal is to write each day of this 10 day fast but since I’ll be out of the office tomorrow, I’ll let this second writing count for tomorrow.)