Enjoy your relationship with God like you would a good friend. I’ve found that like my good friends, God totally has a sense of humor and will let me know when my thoughts are crazy.
So at church on Sunday, as I was praying about feeling distant and wanting to draw closer to Him, I felt led to start fasting. I was already hungry, sitting there in the sanctuary. I had only had a quick cup of coffee before we left home. So I tried to negotiate with God about when I should start fasting….”Okay, I’ll start on Monday or Tuesday, because I haven’t eaten anything today and my husband has steak marinating in the fridge.” But He said, “Now.” As I listened to the worship music and continued to pray, I felt His grace give me peace about fasting throughout the day and only eating dinner with my husband. No dessert, no after sundown snacks…..just whatever is on my plate for dinner. That might not seem hard to you, but as someone who eats constantly throughout the day and is known to grab 2 handfulls (okay maybe 3) of chips before bed, only eating 1 meal a day is tough for me.
I was obedient and only ate dinner with my husband. And oh boy, was that steak good. But I don’t know how long He wants me to fast. I just have this feeling that He will let me know when to stop. The funny thing is that Sunday night I thought, I’m gonna see how I feel in the morning. Maybe He just wanted me to fast yesterday I thought. So Monday morning comes and I’m doing my Bible study. I find myself in Genesis chapter 25, reading about Isaac. My natural bias as a woman who has experienced infertility is to focus on verse 21. “Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife because she was childless. The LORD was receptive to his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived.” But that’s not where God was leading me. I read on and found myself immersed in Genesis 25:29-34.
Here we read that Esau is so hungry and exhausted that when he comes home and finds his brother Jacob cooking, he actually agrees to sell Jacob his birthright for a piece of bread and a bowl of stew! As I read this, with my stomach growly, I laughed. Really Father? I got up this morning thinking, does God really want me to keep fasting today and You lead me to this passage that I’ve skimmed over a million times before. But this time, right on time, He was reminding me to be careful what I’m willing to give up in exchange for instant gratification. I felt His Spirit urging me not to give up closeness to God, hearing from God, in exchange for the instant gratification food would provide. Fasting has always been hard for me, but it’s also the time when I tend to hear Him the clearest.
So although my stomach is still growling as I type this, I had to share this story and encourage you to hold on during whatever struggle you are going through. It may be hard now, but His grace is sufficient. He can give you the strength, power and determination to make it through. Don’t give up or make a quick decision that will give you instant relief, but might take away the opportunity for deeper growth and strengthening of your faith in our heavenly Father who loves you.
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.