Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On Fasting

Until recently, I’ve never really been able to understand the purpose of fasting. I’ve tried it in the past but my tentative experiences were met with marginal success. Usually my attempts amounted to little more than skipping a meal or two and winding up with a massive headache that left me cranky and irritable—not the goal of fasting to be sure. And I never really understood what I was shooting for. Was I trying to prove to God how serious I was—a form of evangelical penance perhaps? Was the self-imposed hunger in my earthly body supposed to spark a hunger for God in my spiritual body? I was never quite sure. For the most part, the practice of fasting hovered in the outer shadows of my devotional life—a discipline affirmed intellectually, but denied in piety. But in spite of my frustrations with the practice, fasting is something that you just can’t get away from in Scripture. Consequently, I’ve never really been able to shake the notion that it was something I should somehow incorporate meaningfully into my devotional life. I just didn’t know how. But I’ve since stumbled upon a fresh approach (at least for me) and thought it worth passing on. Ultimately, this new perspective on fasting grew out of a spirit of discontent that has been churning in my heart.

In recent months a great restlessness for something more has been building in my spirit. What this might look like I’m not entirely sure. I’ve no overt grievous sins to repent of, no failure to seek daily after God in his word and prayer, no lack of concern for the lost, withholding of my finances or refusal to follow where he might lead. And I’m prepared to say “How high?” as soon as he says “Jump!” But the problem is he doesn’t seem to be talking. It’s as though he’s stepped out past the edges of the firelight and is hiding in the shadows. I’m trying to follow him but seem to keep circling around in the dark. My point in all of this is that I have become engulfed by a great desire to be more than I am—to lay hold of God in a powerful and fresh way.

But I’m out of time—more when I get a chance.

1 comment:

The Cubicle Reverend said...

Now I feel like a cheeseburger

Fasting is a misunderstood facet of the faith.