Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day Four of the 21-Day Fast

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. ~John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer

I have this love and do-not-love thing with fasting. Even just fasting one day a week as I have for years, I have my good days and bad ones, but the third day of a longer fast is always the worse one for me. Once over that hump, it becomes more of a mundane exercise like marching a long distance when you just keep putting on foot in front of the other even though if you know you really are too exhausted to do it. Fasting strips me down to just doing what I absolutely must do and realizing the rest is just not really all that important. However, on a spiritual fast, there is another highly influential factor: God. It is when I am in this weakened state in the carnal and worldly sense that the spiritual aspect is heightened, so I hear my Lord the most and the best, but there are still things I must do.

Yesterday I drove an hour to have a chiropractic adjustment, filled my gas tank, dropped the Princess off at Living Science, drove to and shopped at my two favorite health food grocery stores (and bought way more than I planned because they were having very good sales on things I can freeze), drove back to pickup the Princess at school and then drove to her piano lesson, installed a new modem for the piano teacher, drove the hour home trying not to doze off, put all the food away, fed pets, and then went to our church's kick off service at the closer campus where it was held at 7:00. We finally got home at 10:00 and I was in bed by 10:30.

That is much to do on my good days, but on the third fasting day when my strength is waning, moodiness tipping to the dark side, and all I have is my resolve...just one foot in front of the other marching. The service was like a rally and I just was not in the mood for a rally, but we were given the vision and our goals for 2014, which seemed so overwhelming to me. I was thankful that they recapped last year when they did the same and others thought in their minds that it was impossible, yet every goal was met, because God does impossible so very well.

It was during the service I realized how much of an outsider I felt I was. I contributed it to the effects of fasting and told myself that I would probably feel better after a good night's rest. I might have, but sometime after 2:30 AM I just could not sleep at all for four hours. So I spent that time, warm in my bed, talking to God.

Actually, I would say I was having out with Him and pouring out several of my complaints that I try to keep secreted away as if He does not know them. I think getting this out to let God address it directly was for my own benefit. I was complaining the most about feeling like an outsider and He reminded me of all the times I had chosen to stay out on the fringe. Like the times, in high school when I sat on the stage in the cafeteria with a newly transferred and shunned boy that had straggly clothes and even smelled from lack of laundering and bathing at times. I probably saw the in-crowd as snobbish sitting at their claimed table in the middle of all the tables and did not want to be in it back then, but maybe I was just covering for my own insecurity of not being good enough to fit in any group or even being snobbish myself. (Many people have thought that of me, that I am snobbish, because actually I am rather reserved with crowds unless I am performing or lecturing, yet they see me being very open and friendly with small groups and one on one.) God reminded me that while I made myself an outcast with many, I also gave my friendship to someone who was friendless and ignored.

My Lord remembers the good of these things. There were many others of which He reminded me...things that I had done over years because I was out on the fringe more than in a group. And here I am again, because I am fasting food, which is never the popular choice for a corporate fast. The "connectors," as church members are called as there is no formal membership, have chosen to fast the Internet, playing games, TV, and such. Most shake their heads at the idea that we are fasting food saying they just cannot do it. One man told my husband, "That's crazy!" My husband said to me last night that he did not understand why people justify refraining from being on the Internet as a fast, as there was no Internet in the Biblical times. What did they fast? Food. What did Jesus fast? Food. Yes, I agree that we have far more distractions of the mind than in those days than people did in Biblical times, but the need to eat is a very basic need for survival and is not something that has changed with time.

Is it any wonder that people from other parts of the world see Western Christianity as soft and watered down when the inconvenience of refraining from entertainment these days serves as fasting? Now I know that all things can be used by God for our good and these people will, I hope, use the freed time in prayer and devotions, but I also know from experience that giving up more for God means more is given from God. Many people are willing to give up things temporarily that a simple power outage and drained batteries would take from them, but most people are not willing to give up an essential of life like food for even three days, let alone twenty-one.

What they miss out on is the heighten spiritual aspect. Years ago God showed me the three aspects of a person: physical, emotional/intellectual, and spiritual. He also revealed to me how one of these three is usually dominate the other two. In the unbeliever, it the emotional/intellectual aspect typically, unless one is very ill and then it typically is the physical. Both of these aspects leave a person incomplete like an animal, but the spiritual aspect is wherein the Holy Spirit should dwell. The spiritual aspect of a person is not even detectable without the Holy Spirit but may not be the dominate aspect in a weak believer either.

However, during a fast, the spiritual aspect of the believer becomes extremely dominate as it should always be. If one is devoting the fast to God, it can completely overpower the emotional/intellectual aspect, but even if not it will strongly influence it. The benefits of this in physical aspect comes in heighten healing, in part because the body is not taking in toxins to be filtered and can focus on healing, but also because of the spiritual aspect with the Holy Spirit is in effect healing the ailments of the body.

This is what I love about fasting. I do not like being hungry or having difficulty with concentration, usually the worse during the first week, or making people uncomfortable at social events where food will be served, but the healing and spiritual benefits are worth it...absolutely.

~ My Lord, thank you for talking with me last night. I know I have more to work out between us, but thank you for showing me how I believe was a weakness in my personality is used by You for good. That I have worth in Your eyes, even when I cannot see it myself. ~

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