…fasting is not a good way of getting one’s mind off (the thing), but it is a way of deliberately putting one’s mind on one thing (God) because you are reminded every minute of the other thing…You are after something specific from God, and although your own will may be too weak to will his will, it is at least strong enough for this one small thing. God in his mercy and fatherly love takes note of this flicker of movement toward him…God has met me on such occasions, and his kindness in response to so simple an act, an act available to anybody anytime, cheered me. ~Elisabeth Elliot in A Slow and Certain Light
Last year was the first year that I fasted during lent. The first time that I said “No” to a perishable in order to say “Yes” to what will last after the fire. It was humbling, hard, amazing, worth it! In this journey toward heaven and my forever with Jesus, I find that I am always praying John’s prayer,
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 NASB
I wasn’t sure, for a small second, what I would lay down this year, until I was brought to these words:
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Isaiah 58 NIV
Honestly, I don’t know if I ever remember, in all my times of reading the Bible through, reading these words. I was brought to them by him in his book. After that, I knew what, as an individual, I’d be giving up this year, but it wouldn’t just be me “giving up” for the sake of depravation. This year when I would lay it down it would be so I could lift another up. I didn’t want to do it alone, though! When you are married and/or have children very few of your decisions should be singular; when you are one with others, you desire them to be a part. So, I prayed, because I am not a convict-er; that’s His job!
Through talks, seeking His Word, prayer, and honestly, maybe even God-orchestrated circumstances, that husband of mine let go of the little in order to hold on to more of Him. Then, so did our family!
I am not “feeling” this fast like I did last year. All is new and unfamiliar in the ways of “giving up” because, really, is that the world-norm? In the land of buy now and pay later, are we really encouraged to wait now, withhold now, deprive now in order, not to receive later, but to provide later? It is all new, and we are still seeking all His will out on this one. In many areas are needs are great in the place we live, but He is our portion forever! So, could I take a $20, which is a lot to us(!), and trust Him to multiply it for others…for thousands? I could learn from a little boy, who gave his 5 loaves and 2 fish, which was a lot(!) to him…
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14 NIV
“All is grace!” “A gift never stops being a gift!” ~A. Voskamp
Will we dare to let go this year, as we walk with Him to “death” and “resurrection”, that we may fully embrace all He is offering? C.S. Lewis said “We are far too easily pleased.” He was right. We look around us and think “This is it! This is what I want!” Oh, that our God would continue to open our eyes to see and our hands so that we will let go – let go of what is in the way of Him filling us to overflowing with His riches. Eternal treasures where nothing will destroy! Let us let go, and let Jesus do the miraculous!