Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God.
Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land
to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.
Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
I went to bed hungry last night.
I laid in bed and listened to my stomach (and my husband) growl in harmony. The first full week of each year, our church has an event called “Solemn Assembly.” Our pastor asks each of us to consider eliminating our evening meal and entertainment television for the purpose of connecting with God and bringing our most pressing requests to Him.
Can I just be honest and tell you that fasting is not my most favorite thing to do? It seems that I like food. Actually, eating it is one of my most prized hobbies.
Can I get a witness?
So each year, a little bit of a knot collects in my stomach when that first week approaches. Fresh off of the holidays filled with days of gorging on cookies, cakes and all the treats that make Christmas time memorable, I am hesitant to go without. It’s almost equally difficult not to turn the television on. While I don’t watch tv in huge quantities of time as it is, I do enjoy flopping down on the sofa once the kids go to bed and flipping channels mindlessly.
Indeed, it is a sacrifice not to fill up on the delicacies of food and my beloved HGTV.
Yet, for some odd reason, I’m continually drawn to fast.
I’ve seen God do too much not to forgo some of these physical pleasures every once in a while. Fasting allows me to see how overwhelmingly insatiable my flesh is and how much it is used to being appeased. I’m able to gain perspective on how unbalanced is the amount of time, energy and effort that I put into my body and into my Spirit. And then there’s the huge miracle that God did in my life 7 years ago on the heels of Solemn Assembly that I’m still reaping the benefits of.
When we choose to sacrifice a need of a body to place more importance on a need of the spirit, God Himself sits up and takes notice. The heavens are opened to us in a way that might not have otherwise been.
So might you consider doing it? Just for one day, or just one meal.
Or it could be that food is not what you should fast at all. It’s that sneaky computer hogs all of your time and attention. Or maybe it’s that novel you just can’t put down in order to spend some time with God. Or possibly its that addiction to. . . Starbucks. (Gasp! Can you believe I even brought that up?)
Whatever it is that will require a sacrifice for you to release for a day or two, choose it to give it.
God will honor your pursuit of Him and your heart to see Him.
Then, He’ll open up the windows of heaven and there will be an explosion of His greatness and grace poured out over your life.
Fasting. It’s worth it.
Bless you today,
Read more in Isaiah 58 starting at verse 6.