Saturday, November 12, 2011

Disclaimer: Fasting Experiences Will Vary

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.
~Dallas Willard

Paula commented on my last post stating she would like to read more about the results of my fasting experiences. I smiled thinking of the paradoxical knowledge I have acquired, wondering to how to write it so that it would offer her and others the core-essence answer for which she truly seeks: the purpose of fasting. Why fast? Why do it unless you get something from it, right? Can we be even so transparent as to confess we wish to be convinced it is worth doing before we suffer missing even one day of meals?

As I was thinking over how to answer, I was reminded that I read on a Christian message board once about a young man's experience with a 40-day fast in the wilderness. He went alone. All he had taken with him was a sleeping bag. He drank directly from streams, walked and prayed, rested and prayed, heard the wild animals in the forest and prayed. At one point, he wrote about how he worried about being lost and realizing that he could die out there--who would even know? He was asked if he would ever do it again and he wrote if he had considered everything, he probably would not have done it at all, but having done it, he would do it again. I marveled at this! I realized then that I have only fasted in the comforts of my home with the distractions of my everyday life and I considered that a sacrifice...? This man removed himself from all that he knew, with not even a cell phone, and fasted! It certainly gave me a differing perspective of Jesus' fast.

Fasting is just not understood by those who have not yet fasted. The argument would be we can pray without fasting and God can answer our prayers without fasting, so why fast? Is there some mysticism involved with fasting? Perhaps. At least, I believe there is.

Remember the moment you asked Jesus into your heart? That moment something within you changed. You felt it. It was real to you. Before that moment your spiritual aspect was empty. You had life and thought, much like any other animal in God's creation, but you were created to be more: a vessel for the Spirit of your Lord. At that moment, the Comforter filled that emptiness. It is not something you can acquire and then show to other people like a new cell phone, but you then had a direct connection with your Lord wherever you were. Even praying was different somehow.

You cannot explain that transformation--not really--to someone who has never experienced it himself and especially not to someone with no inclination of experiencing it for himself. An atheist will just shake his head at your "delusions," thinking that you needed to feel something, so you did. I say this because fasting is like that and perhaps more understandably so. From the unbeliever's point of view, whatever you would experience is due to low blood sugar or lack of nutrients to the brain--you even get this from fellow Christians!

Many books have been written on fasting: how to do it, its benefits, and even why one should fast. On the flip side, I rarely find anyone who fasts in need of convincing or asking why it should be done. That is because the answers are found in the fasting itself.

~ My Lord, may those seeking answers about fasting find them through You. ~

1 comment:

  1. It's always better not to compare yourself with others. I love the things you write here. It highlights something I've always believed, that faith and spirituality is a very personal journey. Even though you were in the comfort of your home, I think you were truly enriched by your experience.

    Thank you for your kind messages! I'm happy if my experience helps one person have less hurdles on the road to self-publishing!

    Peace and Laughter,


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.