Last week was one of the toughest, most intense weeks of my life. Literally. Not only was I struggling with the decision to leave the church I’ve been with all my life, I was also on my first week-long fast.
A week prior, Nikki and I met for lunch and had a great conversation about why God seemingly hadn’t made His will clear to us. I had been thinking and praying earlier and had come to the conclusion that we hadn’t fully submitted. I told Nikki that I felt we needed to completely and totally submit everything to God as a sign of our humility and in an effort to allow Him to work freely in our lives.
On Friday, February 25th, I was sitting on my couch reading Acts when I came to this passage:
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. – Acts 13:2-3
I was particularly drawn to this passage about the early church at Antoich because only after fasting and praying were Barnabas and Saul ready to do what the Lord had commanded. This passage made it clear to me that fasting was a sign of humility, and an active, constant form of worship. I also felt as though fasting had a close, biblical connection to preparation.
On Sunday, February 27th, our family went to a local mexican restaurant for lunch. I had been thinking about a fast, but wasn’t quite sure when to start or how long to go. The longest I’d ever fasted (on purpose – barring any times I’d been sick) was 30 hours. Seeing as how I love to eat, I knew I needed to make a gradual transition. Maybe eat less and less until I was comfortable with nothing. So, of course, I completely stuffed my face at that restaurant. I was so full that I wanted to go to sleep. But later that evening, as dinner approached, I felt a strong sense of God’s call to me that I needed to start my fast right then and there – and it needed to be for one week.
I was hungry on Sunday night. A couple of our youth parents made a great meal for the kids, and I was immediately tempted. But when was Jesus tempted? When He fasted. Yep.
I went to bed that night thinking – well, here we go, God. It’s on.
The next two days were excruciating. I mean, I love food. As the week went on, it got progressively easier, though. I was drinking water and apple juice only. I actually began to like apple juice a lot more.
God finally revealed His plan to me on Friday the 4th of March (I’ll share that in part 3 of this short “series”). At that time, I was tempted to break my fast, but my wife helped me remember my original conviction and what I believed God had instructed me to do, so I continued. I ended my fast on Sunday the 6th… with communion. The first morsel of food I had eaten in a week was the symbolic “body of Christ.” I have to admit – it was good.
Fasting was an amazing experience. As a side note, I even lost 12 pounds. But during this week, I felt closer to God than I ever had.
Next, I’ll share with you my incredible journey through scripture – when I planned to just “read a little more each day,” and ended up with, well, way more than I bargained for.