In March of 2012, my church went on a corporate fast. At the time I had never fasted before, and initially, I didn’t want to. Anyone who knows me knows I can put away some food. I seem to have an infinite appetite. Even so, in my desire to be obedient I participated. As a precaution I did not fast the full six days with no food or drink. I felt that would be irresponsible. You can’t expect to run a marathon tomorrow if you’ve never run a mile in your life, right? Instead, I went on a Daniel fast which consists of anything that grows from the ground and water. It excludes meat as well as the hardest part (for me) of abstaining from sugar and other sweeteners as well as salt and any preservatives.
During my fast I was praying for several things. My best friend who had suffered through 2 miscarriages was pregnant, so I prayed for the healthy delivery of her child to come. My brother and his wife were also expecting their first child to be born in the same month they had to move across the United States from Colorado to Maryland. Their smooth transition into parenthood was also in my prayers. Then there was me. Although I have a son, I felt spiritually barren. I was literally living from day to day with no direction. I wanted the purpose driven life so many others seemed to have already discovered. I too wanted to conceive and give birth to a God given vision for my life.
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you…
The fast was a wonderful experience for me. I had the opportunity to command my body to do as my spirit said rather than always giving in to my flesh’s desires. As for my best friend and my brother’s wife, they both gave birth to beautiful, healthy baby girls.
Now it is one year later, and I am turning my plate down once again. I still seek to know God’s purpose for my life. Fasting has many natural benefits including but not limited to reducing blood sugar, increasing fat breakdown, correcting high blood pressure, and boosting immunity. A physical change that I hope to benefit from is bringing my body under arrest to what my mind is committed to. The same discipline I need to not eat in the midst of hunger and headaches is also required in other situations. I have to be disciplined when I’m tired after work and contemplate driving by the gym instead of exercising. I have to be disciplined when a delicious dinner tempts me to go back for a second serving even though I’m full. I have to be disciplined when someone is irking my nerves and I feel like giving them a bus-driver-uppercut.
The task doesn’t feel anywhere near as impossible tedious as it did last time, but this year brings an even greater charge. Sure I can fast for six days. For six days I can abstain from alcohol, sex, television, gossip, cussing, and unkind thoughts. I can do anything for six days, but what about the other 359 days of the year? What then? The fast is like detox; cleaning your system of impurities. But as anyone who struggles with sobriety knows, it’s post fast where the real work begins.