I love the idea of fasting, of purposefully giving up of something that I enjoy or desire for the greater good of my heart and soul. Now the actual walking out of fasting? Most days I don’t love it.
Actually that’s not true, Holy Spirit has walked me through this season of specific extended fasts so gently, and MOST days have been easy, and joyful to abstain from the things being fasted. It’s really this last week that has been hard. A sunny, happy go lucky day, running around doing errands with the windows down, and my pain level down, and everything inside of me says ” Drive to broadway cafe and get a vanilla latte, quick, before you think about it!!”. Out eating fantastic burgers with the family last night and noting how the glass of water does not taste like soda no matter how hard I try to not think about it. Or the bad migraine the other day that left me CRAVING a vanilla cream dr.pepper (weird I know).
And then there’s sugar. Almost nothing reveals my dependancy on foods for comfort like a sugar fast. My hands find themselves reaching for the chocolate, the cookie, the ice cream(groan!) so quickly, and the lack of fulfilments leaves me staring the need of my soul dead in the face. Last night I was grumpy about fasting and my sister looked at me with slight annoyance and said “then why don’t you eat…, I mean really if you’re going to be grumpy just do it. Don’t make this harder on me” Some people might take that as the green light to gorge themselves and would have been tossing down the treat I was staring at before the words were even out of her mouth, but I stubbornly (proudly) took it as a challenge. Lying in bed I realized that the emotions I am currently feeling towards my fasts should not discourage me.
In a message that Lou Engle preached called Windows, (you can get a copy of it at LouEngle.com) he talks about Americans reaching out for food, always satisfying our hunger, while there is a voice inside that is silenced by the fullness of our stomachs, and someone inside is LONGING. I have been desiring a real revival of the church of God and knowing that it starts with my weak little heart. For weeks I have pressed in out of zeal, and yes, I’ve broken one of the fasts a time or two, but picked it back up and set my face again with a burning heart….until this week. This week has been dry, my patience has been stretched, my emotions drawn in so many different directions between the battle going on in California, the different soul burdens, and my side issues, and I have NOT wanted to continue with my purposeful fasts.
I have continued but not out of a willing heart, rather out of routine and rather annoyed. But last night I felt it – the longing, the desire and by the grace of Holy Spirit a light dawned. The food longings are a cover up, the low level anger in my heart was not about food or drink, but rather I had found my eyes looking deep inside and to my surprise I found eyes looking back at me, “there’s someone inside, I’ve found my barren soul”
The hunger has been placed, it’s an eternal cry that is MEANT to be fulfilled with long drinks from the river that never runs dry, with waves and breakers of the presence of Almighty God washing over me, with the deep of my heart calling to the deep of His heart and being answered. It’s a cry that is meant to be answered with only one thing and I will not reach for satisfaction from anything less.
Even the sparrow has found a home, a place near Your alter. Give me a place near Your alter, or I will sleep on the ground by the door. Nothing can make me leave.