What is Fasting ... Really...
Ya know... I didn't quite know what to write about today, but I knew I had to write about something. Some days, I've just got to write.
Fasting. Fasting, to me, is simply going without food or water for a duration of time with the purpose of showing God I am willing to sacrifice something which is very important to me, having hope He will, in turn, help me.
Personally, I know that fasting works. I've done it many, many times and am currently fasting weekly for a specific purpose. During my mission, I fasted often and saw results often.
Actually, I believe fasting is probably the best way for us to show we really are interested in receiving help from God. If anyone knows of a better way, please let me know.
Anyway... I've done some thinking along the lines of fasting recently and have come to some interesting spiritual quandries, if you will.
First, I believe God knows everything, is in control of everything on earth(debate for another day), has power to do anything within eternal law, and is... well... God.
Now with that said, the question is, "can I control God, or change events in the lives of other people through fasting?" That's a pretty extreme question, but I believe to a certain degree, that's exactly what we're trying to do when we fast. That causes lots of questions in my mind.
So.... Let's say I got an email from my mom the other day telling me that the whole family was fasting for a purpose we can't really control. An example of such a purpose would be.... say... To allow a family member (David), whom we all love dearly, back into the USA legally.
So... say we all had this fast a couple of days ago, and we all fasted (I particularly felt that I needed to do this fast, even though I had just got done fasting for my own personal puproses 2 days prior.... So, it would be a tough fast.) Anyway... So, we all did it, and there was a lot of "fasting power" going on.
We all fasted for two specific reasons:
- To soften the heart of the consulate agent with whom David would be speaking.
- To help David give the correct answers to the questions the consulate agent would be asking him.
Now... The day after we fasted, we got the news that David did not get his visa.
Hmm... What went wrong?
Now some questions: Did the fast help David get through? Nope. He's still in Mexico, and has to wait yet again to try for a visa later on.
So, the real question is, to me, is this:
Why fast at all if we ultimately have no control over other people, or control over the power of God?
I mean... What is the purpose of fasting, suffering a 24-hour period without food or water, when the ultimate reason of the fast isn't accomplished?
The answer to me seems to be shining clear:
Since I have been fasting weekly, I've noticed a surprisingly high increase in general spirituality in my life. It's easier for me to connect
with God when I pray, it's easier for me to detect truth while talking about spiritual things with others, it's easier for me to do the things which I should
do on a daily basis. It's also caused me to seriously ponder eternal truths. It's caused me to think more critically, to dig deeper, and to search out the answers to spiritual questions which come to my mind.
All of this, while the personal struggle about which I'm fasting weekly (and have been for months), hasn't changed a bit.
It causes me to ponder what fasting is *really* all about.
Is it about changing the events in others' lives? Changing the will of God? Or increasing our spiritual capabilities and aligning ourselves a bit more to God's will? Or all three? Or something else?
Honestly, I don't know the answer, but I do know what a regimen of weekly fasting is doing for me
. And although the specific purpose for my weekly fasting isn't being acheived, I certainly know what is being acheived.
and I like it - a lot