“But this kind does not go out, but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21
(This was written several months ago on a Sabbath evening, but I am just posting. It was actually during the Christmas season, Dec. 26, 2014 to be exact.)
Tonight, I am fasting for the Sabbath. I’ve never really “officially” fasted from solid food for more than a few hours, but I feel like I recently had a spiritual breakthrough and I want to seize this momentum and give all I have to God. In this moment, this giving up of solid food, of sacrificing my desire for the Reece’s cups chilling in the fridge, or the funny meme’s on Facebook (did I mention that I’m giving that up until the New Year?) I am saying to God, “I love You more than food, snacks, and crass humor on a news feed. I am humbling myself before You and I’m chasing after Your heart.” I’m telling God that against the hunger pangs and the habitual urge to pick up my phone, that I choose Him. I’m trying to hear from Him. I am asking God to create in me, in this moment, a clean heart. I am tellng Him that I’m honoring His command to fast and pray, that I believe that certain things like breakthroughs, blessings, and deliverances only come through fasting and prayer. I am asking Him to honor my obedience and sacrifice and continue to heal my heart, mind, body, and spirit. I am asking Him to continue the work He is doing in my son, who is increasingly seeking His face. I’m asking for healing in relationships, for reconciliations, and forgiveness. I’m asking for 2015 to be my best year yet. I’m telling Him that I want His will, His perfect will, and His best for me SO badly, that I want to spend twenty-four hours just focused on Him and His plans for my life. I believe God is real and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
As I sit here in the still quietness of my apartment and drink my first warm cup of lemon water, I’m reminded by the bitter taste that life is sometimes bitter, but those bitter moments can make us better. Those brief moments of a sour taste in my mouth are accompanied by numerous health benefits of the detoxifying lemon water. In the same way, I’m learning to look for the lesson in the sour moments of my life, both past and present. I’ve realized that I’m more bitter and angry that I thought. That has harmed me, my relationships, and those people I want to relate to. I no longer want to dwell on the negative or continue living in hurt, fear, or rejection. Some of those moments may give strength, some may give peace, some may give wisdom, some may give all these things, but they all will give me something of value if I am open to see it. I don’t want to be stagnant any longer. I want to grow and it is my hope that this first fast will usher in that growth. I pray that my fast finds favor with God and that I honor Him. I pray that it yields spiritual growth and abundant life and that I form a new spiritual habit that becomes a tool in my arsenal to help me fight when my days seem weary or I feel afraid. In just this one fast, this first time, I’ve already had the eyes of my heart opened to this very valuable lesson:
“Be careful not to lose your hold on God’s grace by allowing bitterness to come into (to live, to dwell in, to unpack and stay in – my words added for emphasis) your hearts, for this will not only hurt you, but a lot of others.” – Hebrews 12:15, The Clear Word version
When life gives you lemons, don’t be afraid to taste the bitterness for a moment, but learn the lesson and God will surely give you lemonade!