I am not one much for political debates, but I do like the term “fake news.” It is something that I find interesting; I always try to evaluate when I hear that phrase whether or not the information is fake or if it is just being used to control the narrative of the story. I know in my house when my youngest son is saying something to our oldest son, our oldest continually replies “fake news,” and it sets off a series of combative words between the two despite the 11 years of difference that exists between the two of them.
This quarantine has brought about an array of experiences, and for many of us, we are experiencing uncharted territory. I know speaking for myself as teachers, we just left school one day and, in a matter of weeks, learned how to switch everything over to remote instruction. As a society, we learned what essential workers are and how fast things can be lost. It has become now more than ever increasingly important to be able to lean on one another; now we are learning to do that from a distance. As all these experiences are taking place, it is the scripture that reminds us in Psalm 115:11, “You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.”
Trusting in the Lord is something during this time that is being tested in many aspects of my life, and I wish I could say that this time has drawn me closer to Him. It seems as though my walk has been lonely and quite silent when it comes to hearing from the Lord. I want to think my life is okay, but honestly, it is broken, and until I realized that and evaluated where the brokenness is existing, the disconnect has left me wandering in a dry spell with the Lord. Well, that lead me to start doing some research on fasting, which ultimately brings me to where I began with the idea of fake news. When I entered into google “the benefits of fasting” many articles and sites about the science behind fasting, the medical benefits of fasting, and how intermittent fasting works are the results that came up. All the narratives are there to help guide you into seeing the benefits that exist in the “science” aspect of it or how it can help shape your body into the physical appearance that you want; biblical fasting was not even mentioned. It screams FAKE NEWS to me because at no point does it lead people to understand the real benefit of fasting, which is the growth in the relationship that develops with the Lord.
When looking through scripture, it is evident in the power that lies behind fasting, and the question seems to shift from “why fast” to why am I not fasting more.” The idea of fasting in the Bible means “not to eat” or “self-denial”. We see in Matthew 4:2 that fast involves abstaining from all food but not from water. However, in rare instances, there are times where some abstain from food and water in the face of extreme spiritual emergency. Even in some cases, there was partial fasting that took place, which can be observed in Daniel 10:3. Even better than providing how to fast the scripture offers evidence of the benefits that manifest from fasting, here are a few examples:
- God’s judgement held back (Deuteronomy 9:18-26)
- Hannah’s prayers are answered (1 Samuel 1:7)
- Unexpected victories are won (Judges 20: 26, 35)
- One can humble themselves before God such as David did: (Psalm 35:13; 69:10)
- Gain God’s Protection: (Ezra 8:21-23)
- A nation was rescued: (Esther 5:3-16)
- Please God by losing the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free and providing for the hungry, the homeless, and the naked. (Isaiah 58-6-14)
- Brought a nation back to God (Joel 2:12)
- Prepares for the return of Jesus (Joel 2:15-18; Luke 2:57; 5:33-35)
- POWERFUL EXPRESSION OF REPENTANCE (Jonah 3:5-9)
- Aid in spiritual warfare: (Matthew 17:21; Isaiah 58)
- Spiritual Service: (Luke 2:23, 37)
- Aides in decision making: (Acts 14:23)
There are so many aspects of our society and lives being affected every day. How wonderful is it to know that Christ remains in control and sits on the throne! As I continue to reflect on my walk, I can truly understand the reasons why I have entered a period of quietness with the Lord. Admitting and evaluating my areas of brokenness has allowed me to follow the necessary steps that I need to take in my life. The powerful thing about fasting is that it will enable one to satisfy that deep spiritual hunger and grow in a deeper relationship with the Lord. Fasting is not supposed to be an optional activity but, ultimately, a Christian duty, one who can help you grow or strengthen a need in your life.
So, I ask, do you still wonder “why fast?” or are you asking yourself why you don’t fast more?
~ Frank D.
*Referenced: Prayer The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders; Dave Earley