Fasting and Praying

I have come to think of this whole life in God as a marathon, a very long journey that takes daily commitment, recommitment, and reorientation.” – my friend Jeff Christian

I’m not bragging, I’m broken.

I’m not pious, I’m perishing.

I’m not happy, but I keep relearning what joy is.

Yeah. Relearning. ‘Cuz I’m a “stiff-necked people” who is constantly forgetting what God has done for me. Like the Israelites that left Egypt all those years ago, I’m stiff-necked. Like Lazarus’ sister Mary, I misunderstand what God has promised for this world, thinking that joy, that peace, that glory, is all reserved for our eternal home.

So on Sunday, while singing how I trust in God’s promises, I broke down and cried. I was convinced that I couldn’t sing it because I no longer believe it. Here’s the truth that I recognized that Sunday morning:

  • God has seen us through hard times. My belly is proof that I’ve never missed a meal, even if it was beans and cornbread day after day. We haven’t missed a bill, either. And we learned how important it is to not carry debt.
  • God has provided me with a beautiful, talented wife and daughters. He has also seen fit to bring people into my life with whom I can share His love.
  • God has made sure that the basics are covered. My car needed repaired or replaced so He made arrangements for a car I could afford.

But… we need major repairs on the house. And we have no health insurance. And… and… and… the details are not important.

If a boxer goes down, the referee separates the other guy. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a street fight with the enemy – the father of lies – the tempter – satan. (His name is not worthy of capitalization.) there is no ref. There’s only me – and my Ephesians 6 armor is at home. The enemy starts punching, and won’t relent even when I’m down. It drags me into depression.

Rather than seeking the Face of God, the one who can save me, I get pissed at Him. “Why’d You let him do that? Why wouldn’t you stand up for me? Or at least blow the whistle and call Unsportsmanlike Conduct?”

And He shakes His head and lets me be. Alone with the enemy to drag me down.

So I committed to 3 days of fasting and prayer. 3 days of seeking His face. 3 days of denying myself that which my belly so desperately wants.

I found scripture that tells me I’m a valuable member of His church. Romans 10 and Psalm 32 spoke volumes during this time of study and introspection.

And I found Him. I found joy (not necessarily happiness), peace, and wisdom. My problems are still there. But God will not let me fail. He is faithful. He will follow through.

To Dwain and Rick, I have a much better understanding. Thank you for listening last Sunday. And go easy on me this Sunday.

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