Fasting: [Always] Coming Soon

Now that we are three weeks into the Advent fast, it’s about time we ask ourselves: Am I fasting the way I’m actually supposed to?

Let’s have a look at what true fasting is supposed to look like, shall we?

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
– Isaiah 58:6-7

This here is true fasting. It isn’t about reading every ingredient on every box or bottle. It isn’t about nitpicking or these minute details. True fasting is about giving what you have – your food, your money, your time, your prayer – to the suffering. It’s about neglecting your flesh, neglecting your own body and own earthly desires, and instead focusing on the heavenly and on the will of the Heavenly. And what is this will? It’s loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and it’s loving His children with that same love.

And believe it or not, by putting others and putting God before myself I gain so much! As we continue to the chapter, we find 10 promises that the Lord grants us when we fast the true, godly fast:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,

The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
– vv. 6-14

Let’s break it down:

  1. You will be able “To loose the bonds of wickedness,
    To undo the heavy burdens,
    To let the oppressed go free,
    And that you break every yoke” (v. 6)
  2. “Your light shall break forth like the morning” (v. 8)
  3. “Your healing shall spring forth speedily” (v. 8)
  4. “Your righteousness shall go before you” (v. 8)
  5. “The glory of God shall be your rear guard” (V. 8)
  6.  …you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” (v. 9)
  7.  The Lord will guide you continually,
    And satisfy your soul in drought,
    And strengthen your bones;
    You shall be like a watered garden,
    And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (v. 11)
  8. “…you
    Shall build the old waste places;
    You shall raise up the foundations of many generations” (v. 12)
  9. “…you shall delight yourself in the Lord” (v. 14)
  10. And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
    And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father” (v. 14)

Therefore let us examine the rest of our fast, and see to it that we fast the way God intended so that we may receive the blessings of these promises.

And in honor of the fast, here is my all-time favorite Fasting Trailer, courtesy of St. Mary’s Church in Toronto:

Take Me Deeper

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
(“Oceans” – Hillsong United)

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

The last month God has been answering this one for me. I’d been listening to it constantly, on repeat, no other music, asking God to please take me deeper and lead me to where I could trust Him fully.
And He answered.
And it hurt.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

It isn’t always easy. It doesn’t always happen the way you think it will. When you ask God, He will answer. It’s how He answers that may be harder than you expect.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

I don’t want to hash out all the details for the whole world to see, but I will share a little bit of what my life has been like the last month.
Wave after wave after wave have been hitting me, beating me down. When I finally become ready to start accepting what life is throwing my way, another one knocks me down.
Had you asked me how things were two months ago, I would have said stupendously! I would have told you how great God was and how He was working out everything so perfectly in my life. My psych rotation was lax. My relationships were flourishing. I felt confident about myself. I still had my Kenya high.
Everything seemed perfect.

But then things started to go the other direction. I started my surgery rotation which left me with no energy. Problems began to arise in almost all my relationships. My grandmother–my best friend and warrior–was hospitalized and needed surgery on her heart. I started feeling hopeless and helpless.
Things were no longer perfect.
Things were far from perfect.
Things were hard.
Things are hard.

But ask me now how great God is.
In the midst of this crazy, stressful, heartbreaking, far-from-perfect life of mine, God is still great.
It may have taken some time for me to remember that. It may have taken weeks of fighting with Him.
But in the end, God is still great. God is still good.

He answered my prayer. He continues to do so. He is leading me deeper into the water than I could have gone myself. He is teaching me to trust Him more than I could teach myself.

Things suck right now. I won’t lie and say how easy of a process it is, because it’s not. But I know that He is working in me more than I realize. And I know that if I didn’t fully submit to His will for me, He could never complete this work to make me perfect.