I did a fast. He said so. I didn’t want to. He made me do it.
Over the past few weeks I have sensed a “how about fasting” call in my ear. Not just in these daily walks, but from other directions and places as well. I read about fasting in the bible. I hear about disciplines and exercises. It is a “god stuff thing” this fasting as far as I can tell. And I have never ever “fasted” in my life. Not in God stuff way. So having checked and rechecked (good words for ignoring and putting off) He and I got into a fast.
Bit like a child waiting for Christmas I was filled with excitement. There were the odd hours when hunger was growling (literally). So day one moved gently to the evening and dinnertime, and my explanation to Mrs Paul (who was unaware of any of this). And she accepted it lovingly and graciously. And whilst she munched we talked as usual. A normal dinnertime. Then overnight and some very wakeful sleeping. Excitement was fading. Hunger was not an issue. A banging headache was.
Day two and I was holding on to that sense of excitement. And the odd stuff I had not expected. Answering questions of “are you eating tonight and do I cook for you” with “I don’t know – He will tell me when He is ready.” Guess that makes life tricky for Mrs Paul whose turn it was to cook! But leaving that aside – surely great things happen when fasting. I have heard others speak of great things happening while they are fasting. That’s what happens! And the hunger pangs came and went. But the headache became a whammer! My brain cells became very pained. Living became increasingly hard hard work.
And at 5.30pm I sent a text to my friend on the Jesus Bus (the other driver – we take turns doing the driving) – “Any chance of driving tonight – I have a brain whammer – sorry for the lateness of the question.” And back came the answer – “Would if I could – but I am crawling into bed right now with a massive sinus whammer – otherwise I would.”
Bummer! Well Lord. What is all this about?
So I took a unilateral decision: two slices of bread and jam, two migraine tablets, one wet towel, the alarm set for five minutes before I had to leave for the Jesus Bus, and an hour in bed.
One hour later the alarm went off. I climbed out of bed with a head feeling much happier. Put on my shoes and went off to drive the Jesus Bus. And had a wonderfully gentle evening with the rest of the bus team and the young folk. Including the joy of finding one chocolate digestive at the bottom of the biscuit (cookie) tin.
So this morning? He and I are mulling over this new experience.
I do not feel a failure. Wow!
I have had no great revelation. Hmmm.
I got to the point where I said “no more” and called time. “I overruled God”???
I had a lot of “me” in this past 48 hours.
A lot of “me”!
With the best of intentions, with the best of relationship, with the most loving communication I think He achieved something of what this was all about.
My food intake is usually careless and unthinking
Lurching from one end of the scale to the other (in almost everything) has consequences
Focusing on the excitement and “reward” to come is a distraction
What is good for another may not be good for me.
He and I will disagree
That is okay
He and I will become stronger
That is relationship
And as he and grow together, I also am content that what I learned over the past 48 hours will continue to seep into our relationship. That in the future He may show me something out of sight and completely over my current horizon.
Do I feel tested? No
Do I think I missed the point? No
Did I fail? No
Have I learned “stuff”? Yes
(but less what “I expected”, and more what “I didn’t expect”)
Would I do it again? Yes
(if He guides me to it)
“Living life being guided” is easy to write about. “Living being guided” I find very confusing.
Mostly the past 48 hours have left me nestling more firmly with Him, surprised that He surprised me yet again, reassured that there is no “fixed point” I have to reach, more convinced than ever He desires us to nestle with Him in all things. And learning a little better: to do that comes in all shapes and sizes.
Because my daily verses over the past few days and this past 48 hours have been, Matthew 24 – 25: “when will You come back”, when is the second coming (which has never really been an fascination for me).
And how if we focus only on the “closing ceremony”, we miss “the ceremony” itself. And how if we forget there is closing ceremony – immerse ourselves in this relationship with Him minute by minute … day by day … week after week – there may not even be a closing ceremony we recognise. There may not even be a closing ceremony.
“So always be ready/stay awake/be alert/keep watch, because you don’t know the day or the hour the Son of Man will come. Matthew 25:13
This “Kingdom” stuff really and truly IS a team game. Truly IS a relay in which we are all an important part of the team. Kingdom stuff is NOT an individual sprint. And I may not be the one to break the (imagined) finishing tape. But I sure have to run as best I can. And I surely have to pass on the baton of His love. And I can only do that minute by minute … week by week …
So it has been fun. Him and me. These past 48 hours.
And the learning continues …
I needed a bathroom break just after those last words. And as I sat there doing my thing, I asked Him if He minded me sharing the intimacy of these past 48 hours. Like a married couple – some things are too private to share. They need to be kept private. And that is when I realised. That is when he chuckled.
That is how deep this relationship is. Him and me. That I worry about embarrassing Him not me, of sharing too much of Him not me, of how He will look not me.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:36-38
Now that – that I did not see coming! Thank you Lord!